Tomas Holmstrom's work in front of the net. I heard a TV announcer call him maybe the best ever in that area in NHL history and I'm inclined to agree. Spend a shift watching him instead of the puck; it's like a "Family Circus" cartoon on ice: bump, slash, elbow, slide, dig the puck out of the corner, slashed by the goaltender, nudged between two defenders, delicate touch on a tipped shot, scrum, wrestling under a pile of bodies, glove in someone's face, chirping as he skates back to the bench ... and then, there it is, one more slash or bump for good measure. A thing of beauty.
Yeah, yeah, Holmstrom posts up okay, but the dude broke in in 1996 and has an entire 232 goals to his name. He cracked 30 once and has been under 20 4 of his last five seasons. Dave Andreychuk scored every goal he ever scored with two skates in the paint, and he scored 640 (!) of them, including hitting 20 4 of his last 5 seasons. Those last 5 seasons Andreychuk posted, by the way, started when he was a year younger than Holmstrom is now.
I understood that when you've pitched a 50-item list, you're going to have some stretches in there, but anybody who tells you with a straight face that Tomas Holmstrom is the best NHL player who ever plied his trade in front of the net is either working to secure Tomas Holmstrom a contract extension or an imbecile.
I'm not even going to touch the Family Circus on ice crack.
Okay, I am.
First off, nice, timely, relevant Page-2 reference, there, ESPN. Nothing speaks to your edgy cred like nods to a legacy strip in a dying format.
Second, this wasn't even some kind of ironic sniggering "huh he looks awkward and irrelevant just like the dumb cartoon" reference; this was a straight-up "X is like Y, sharing characteristics Alpha, Beta, Gamma" comparison. And it's a bad comparison. This is what the Family Circus looks like on ice.
(Family Circus on ice. At left, Tomas Holmstrom. Not shown: bump, slash, elbow, slide, dig, nudge, a tipped shot, scrum, wrestling.)
(Image Credit: Somebody flat fucking awesome, I can tell you that much.)
If, however, David Fleming has access to some kind of Family Circus archive that includes the promised bumping, slashings, elbowing, etc., Family Circus action? Email me, guy! I straight-up podcast about the Family Circus! I bother people about this shit all the time and I need that access!
Special bonus pointless bitching about a guy who genuinely loves hockey and was only trying to be funny and engaging for a few words, before being read by a dickhead who's in day like 5 of major intestinal discomfort:
I love that hockey has a lexicon all unto itself, doesn't it? Slew foot. Face wash. Chicken wing. Slap pass. Dangle. Barn. Biscuit. Grinder. Lumber. Twig. Top Shelf.
Yes, yes, no other sport is played in a barn, nor even a fieldhouse. Except for Allen Fieldhouse and Conseco Fieldhouse. But nobody calls those anything like grand old barns or anything.
I must confess that I feel like some sports do use lumber, however.
Guess David Fleming never got put in a chicken wing, either.