The Name Game Redux

by Russ on March 22, 2016

Rasmus Ristolainen is in contention for the best name in hockey today.

More than eight years ago, I had great fun writing an article that made light of NHL players names.  I hope you have as much fun reading this sequel as I did writing it.


Over the last few years, it seems that there has been an influx of players who use their initials instead of first names. Let's see, we've got P.K. Subban, T.J. Oshie, P.A. Parenteau, J.T. Miller, R.J. Umberger, T.J. Brodie, J.T. Brown, B.J. Crombeen, T.J. Galiardi and J.C. Lipon. T.J. Brennan just missed the cut, but the league has a strict three T.J. limit.


On the flip side, we have guys with hyphenated monikers or names that lend themselves to three letter nicknames; players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (RNH), James van Riemsdyk (JVR), Michael Del Zotto (MDZ), Oliver Ekman-Larsson (OEL), Devante Smith-Pelley (DSP), Marc-Andre Fleury, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Jean-Gabriel Pageau. I miss being able to use MZA (Mats Zuccarello-Aasen) and MPS (Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson) ever since they dropped the Aasen and Svensson respectively. And who doesn't miss MSL?


If Edmonton made a trade with St. Louis to get 2014 sixth rounder C.J. Yakimowicz, they could put him with Bogdan Yakimov and Nail Yakupov, forming a line for the ladies, the Yak, Yak, Yak line. (sorry ladies!)


Every time I hear the name Marko Dano, I can't help but think of the movie Donnie Darko. Weird, I know. Plus, who doesn't say "Polo" immediately after they hear Marko?


From the "These guys are hockey players, right?" file:  Alec Martinez, Raphael Diaz, Raffi Torres, Matt Nieto, Al Montoya, Louis Domingue, Bryce Salvador and Boo Nieves.


I'm confused. I've seen the initials D.D. used to describe three different players, Drew Doughty, David Desharnais and Devan Dubnyk. I'd bet a lot of coin that Cody Ceci's nickname is C.C.; NHL players are mostly lazy when it comes to nicknames.


For all you non-hockey fans, the Devils Jordin Tootoo is NOT related to retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu. However, wouldn't it be fun if Ben Bishop were a Devil? I swear that every time I watch a Blues-Bruins game at the “Gahden”, St. Louis has a young Jewish player named “Rabbi” (Robbie) Fabbri.


If a team could ice Ryan O'Reilly, Cal O'Reilly, Brian O'Neill with Shane O'Brien and Ryan O'Byrne on defense and Matthew O'Connor in goal, would they have the luck of the Irish? Imagine the sheer awesomeness of those guys playing on St. Patrick's Day in Boston!?


The Carolina Hurricanes have a thing for players whose first names start with the letter J.  They have more J's than you can shake a hockey stick at:  Jordan Staal, Jeff Skinner, Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, James Wisniewski, Joakim Nordstrom and Jay McClement. This is a team that recently employed Jussi Jokinen, Jiri Tlusty, John-Michael Liles, Joe Corvo, Jay Harrison, Jack Hillen, Justin Shugg, Joni Pitkanen and Justin Peters. Don't forget, the Hurricanes also drafted Jack Johnson. Jumpin'! Jeez.


New Jersey prefers its players at the end of the alphabet. Last year, Travis Zajac, Marek Zidlicky and Dainius Zubrus were all valuable members of the Devils. No other NHL team rostered more than one Z. I miss Zarley Zalapski.


If I owned a professional hockey club, I'd try to sign the Habs Jacob De La Rose, Carolina's Phillip Di Giuseppe and former Sens prospect Stephane Da Costa and play them on a line together. I'd dub them the La-Di-Da line, not that they would care.


Anyone else feel awkward being able to spell names like Gostisbehere, Byfuglien (definitely not spelled the way it sounds), Dziurzynski and Colaiacovo without batting an eye, yet can't recall your spouse's cell phone number without looking it up?


I found it strange that up until the trading deadline, the only two players in the NHL named Brooks (Orpik and Laich) played on the same team (Caps). Brooks Orpik sounds more like a dental instrument than defensive implement. Speaking of instruments, former music city Predator, now a (Dallas) Star, Vernon Fiddler is my favourite stringed instrument…high strung anyone?


Game time!  Rob Klinkhammer, Nail Yakupov and Patrick Bordeleau comprise my new game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, something I like to call Hammer, Nail, Board. Hammer pounds Nail, Nail pierces Board and Board covers Hammer.


For some reason, I always mix up defensemen Ryan Murphy (Carolina) and Ryan Murray (Columbus) who were both drafted in the first round one year apart. Mind the c: Nicklas Backstrom, not to be confused with goaltender Niklas Backstrom. On draft day, you don't dare mix up Mikael Granlund, Mikael Backlund and Markus Granlund.


If Detroit prospect Andreas Athanasiou could have made it to the show before old-timer Daniel Alfredsson retired, the Wings could have put together the Triple A line along with Justin Abdelkader. Now if they could only snag San Jose defensive prospect Konrad Abeltshauser, that would be A-okay. As it is, Detroit could ice a line of Athanasiou-Abdelkader-Zetterberg and call it A2Z. That lines last names total 30 letters. Tampa could one up that by fielding a trio of Jonathan MarchessaultVladislav NamestnikovCedric Paquette for a tidy sum of 31.


Zetterberg has the longest NHL player name that can be typed solely with the left hand (assuming you have your hands on the home row)


Foodies rejoice:  Cody Almond, Joey Crabb, Bobby "Baskin" Robbins, Ryan Spooner, Artemi "Bread Man" Panarin, David "Pasta" Pastrnak, Marc-Edouard Vlasic (Pickles). Looking for something a little more substantial? Try the OvenChicken with a Pirri-Pirri sauce, some Urban-style Hamhuis or the (Cody) Goloubef Stew.


From the Appetizer menu:  Zuccarello Sticks, Fried Cammalleri with Cizikas sauce, Tommy "Hot" Wingels or Steak Tatar? Mmm, who's wants a Bitetto (I'm pretty sure that's Italian for "small bite")? Go ahead, Etem up.


Some drinks after dinner? I could go for some Jagr-meister, it's aged quite well. Also available: (Josh) Bailey's, (Boyd) Gordon's London Dry Gin, Hendricks Gin, (Jared) Bolls Blue Curacao and John Gibson's Finest.


Inspired by a Seinfeld episode starring Bette Midler…"Well, you made a long journey from Sundbyberg to Anaheim, Rickard Rakell. You never stopped hoping; now you're in the Show, Rickard Rakell. When the naysayers 'nay' you picked up your pace. You said nothing's going to stop me so get out of my face. I'm having adventures all over the place, Rickard RAKELL!"  I dare you to watch this clip and not replace Rochelle Rochelle with Rickard Rackell:



You Complete Me:  Dwight King in Los Angeles and Cam Fowler as a Duck


Alexander Barkov, Jay Beagle and any of the Great Danes (Boedker, Hansen, Nielsen, Eller, Andersen) should really be playing for the Desert Dogs. Where's Brandon Yip when you need him? (Germany is the answer.)


Jakub Kindl might feel more at home in Silicon Valley. Patrick Maroon is a natural for the Islanders. To put it bluntly, I suspect both Clayton Stoner and Brandon "Dubi" Dubinsky would be a better fit in Colorado. Matt Moulson could be a fan favourite in Montreal. Josh Gorges would be Grand in Arizona.  Roman Josi (and the Pussycats) may be purrfect in Florida.


I would love to see Steve Ott in Ottawa, just for the box scores. Same for Rick and Riley Nash in Nashville and before he retired, it would have been fun seeing Martin St. Louis show up on the scoresheet as a Blue. Tommy Wingels as a Red Wing or in Buffalo? Brent Burns with the Flames and Blake Wheeler would be a natural in Motor City.


Finalists for the coolest name in the NHL:  Zemgus Girgensons, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nino Niederreiter.


Wouldn't the call be epic if Kris Chucko and Dalton Thrower were to drop the mittens?


Does anyone else think it's awesome that defensemen Mark Streit and Brian Strait played on the same team (Isles) for one season? It would have been legendary had Ben Street been able to join the block party.


Now this could be a problem down the road if they all play in the NHL at the same time:  Justin Schultz, Jeff Schultz, Nick Schultz, Nick Schmaltz (Chicago prospect), Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis prospect), Jordan Szwarz (Arizona prospect) and Jaden Schwartz.


Justin Falk and Justin Faulk…seriously?


New Flame, Jyrki Jokipakka would score well in scrabble, although Evgeny Kuznetsov has big potential as well.


A power play consisting of James Neal, Chris Neil, Johan Franzen, Cody Franson and Frans Nielsen would cause many play-by-play announcers to quit their jobs.


Stage names or real?  Karri Ramo, Ben Lovejoy, Pekka Rinne, Grant Clitsome, Viktor Loov, Travis Moen and Cal Clutterbuck (oh that 'stache!). Ribeiro for her pleasure.


Sponsor match heaven: Simmonds Beauty Rest, Shea Weber for Barbecues, Brooks Orpik for the Waterpik line of products, Ryan or J.T. Miller for the Champagne of Beers.


Dear NHL, please keep bringing in players with great names. We the fans thank you.