By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
In studying this phenomenon further, I've talked to women who said that hockey players are 1) manly, 2) seem kind of nice and 3) Canadian. I've also talked to several men who said all those women are beards for guys who are obviously compensating.
Then there is Playboy magazine (which is apparently still a thing, bless it), which surmised, "Hockey players make incredible lovers. Their strong hip flexors and tight abdominal muscles make for a strong and flexible core to help maintain a rhythm that women enjoy."
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When he was drafted by the Ducks in 2003, Getzlaf was big and strong with a thick, Ralph Macchio-like mane of brown hair. As the years have gone by, he's only gotten bigger and stronger, but the hair . . .
In the 2007 Cup year, he sported a spiky look, and the following year, it was a faux hawk. What seemed like fashion choices at the time soon became apparent were last valiant attempts to provide coverage by building up. It would take a few more years for Getzlaf to fully embrace his scalp, as he does now. Yes, he is a proud, bald man. What's more is he is a bald hockey player, which has provided him entre into the exclusive Best Bald Hockey Players of All Time list.
Now, you may laugh, you may think the list is some kind of burn on a guy, but look at the list. Not only is Getzlaf's former teammate and Cup-winning goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere on it, so are such hockey immortals as Guy Lafleur, Bobby Hull and Mark Messier. Hull and Messier are always ranked first and second, respectively. Hull may have rated higher if he had not resorted to hair transplants.
Messier, a five-time Cup winner, was, like Getzlaf, big, strong, skilled and arguably the best teammate ever. In fact, Niedermayer sees a lot of Messier in Getzlaf.
"Yeah, they're similar, and that's saying something," he says. "Big, strong guys with a lot of talent; you wouldn't be making much of a stretch to make a comparison. No shame being on that list."
Getzlaf waxes philosophic: "Well, I guess it's better than being on the list of the worst bald hockey players."
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14. ANNA KOURNIKOVA
I've been reminded that Anna Kournikova dated one hockey player and married another. So there you go.
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15. HE'S STILL YOUNG
For all he's accomplished—a Stanley Cup, two Olympic gold medals, two kids, another on the way and that huge contract extension—Getzlaf is still relatively young, and his best hockey could very well be ahead of him.
Teammate Teemu Selanne, who began his NHL career in 1992 when Ryan Getzlaf was just 7, has said that over the past couple of years, Getzlaf has "taken a huge step forward as a leader and as an athlete. He wants to do things right. Obviously won the Stanley Cup his first year. Now he wants to win one as a leader. It's been great to watch him getting better and he's turning into a man.
"No real weaknesses," Selanne continues. "I always say he can be as good as he wants to be, and now, he really wants to be the difference. . . . He's a totally different person, a total different athlete than a few years ago. I haven't seen a better player this year."
And he's just 28, which means he's probably just reaching his physical peak.
You might want to make note of that, Downie.