Well, it's Tuesday again, and that means another edition of Hockey Hermit's Tuesday Top Tens. I'm feeling a bit off the wall today, so I figured rather than coming up with a vanilla list like top 10 NHL defensemen, I'd try something a bit more colorful. A list of the top 10 ugliest hockey players of the past 20 years fits the bill I think. Initially I considered a list of the top 10 ugliest hockey players of all time, but I am not familiar enough with the facial features of all players from the 20s to the 70s to pretend to be an authority on the subject, and even if I could create a definitive list, coming up with pictures would have been a challenge. By narrowing down the field to players that competed in the past 2 decades I feel relatively qualified to weigh in on the subject, and the contemporary flavor will be more familiar to my readers as well. Feel free to voice your opinion on my choices in comments. Beauty (or ugliness) is subjective, so let me know if I have made any glaring omissions. Here are my choices for the top 10 ugliest NHL players from the past 20 years:
10 - Steve Rucchin - If an alien mated with a fish, the resulting baby would look like Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi...or Steve Rucchin. The guy looks like he just downed about 20 shots of expresso. A great two way hockey player, but definitely a mug only a mother could love.
9 - Shawn Horcoff - With ears that are trying to run away from his face, a lazy eye, a bent beak, and missing chicklets, Shawn Horcoff is the complete package and is the very definition of the phrase "ugly hockey player". Hard to believe 8 others finished ahead of him on this list.
8 - Bobby Holik - Unfrozen Caveman Hockey Player might come in a lot higher on other people's list, but other than his continental-shelf-like unibrow this guy really isn't that ugly. Still, though he doesn't merit a high spot on this top 10 list cracking number 8 just based on upper head features is pretty darn impressive.
7 - Lyle Odelein - This guy always had a dopey expression on his face like he had just came out of dental surgery after undergoing an experimental procedure to see how many teeth they could cram in the human mouth. He wouldn't be grinning like that if he looked in a mirror.
6 - Ken Danyeko - Ken Daneyko could have used some of Lyle Odelein's teeth. This blue collar warrior lost a full dozen chicklets during his NHL playing days, and he wasn't all that good looking with a full set of chompers. You know you're ugly when even your bobblehead is better looking than you.
5 - Rod Brind'Amour - This guy will no doubt be on everyone's list of the top 10 ugliest NHL players of the past 20 years. Known as "Rod the Bod" for his chiseled physique, Brind'Amour's good looks don't extend from the neck up. With bug eyes, and a nose that wouldn't look out of place on a horse, Brind'Amour's ugly mug earns him a deserving spot in the top half of this list.
4 - Gino Odjick - Has there ever been a more mismatched pair of linemates in NHL history than Pavel Bure and Gino Odjick? Bure's speed, talent, and boyish good looks were a sharp contrast to Odjick's plodding, cement-handed, ugliness. Odjick was supposed to be a goon, but he wasn't even a very good fighter. How this guy stuck around in the NHL as long as he did is a mystery to me, but no one can deny his popularity with the fans, and they certainly can't deny he is one of the ugliest men to pick up a hockey stick in the past 20 years.
3 - Brent Sopel - For the love of God, somebody buy this guy a bottle of shampoo! When I hear the word greasy Brent Sopel is the first thing that comes to mind, narrowly edging out a 20 piece bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken. With his stringy locks and his permanently stoned expression Sopel got serious consideration for top spot on this list.
2 - Tim Hunter - The most famous nose in hockey is enough to get Tim Hunter to number 2 on the list of the top 10 ugliest hockey players of the past 20 years. Even disregarding the nose Hunter would never have pocketed $10 for taking second prize in a beauty contest. Amazingly, Hunter claims that he never actually broke the nose. That thing is all natural baby!
1 - Mike Ricci - Was there any doubt? Shawn Horcoff might have been the complete package as an ugly hockey player, but Ricci takes it to the next level. The long greasy-looking hair, the huge lumpy nose, the scraggly stubble, and the missing teeth all combined to make Ricci the ugliest man to lace up the skates in the past 20 years, and though I certainly can't claim to have seen every player since the dawn of the NHL I have a hard time believing any player in the history of the sport can trump this guy as the all time ugliest in hockey.
Honorable Mention - Darius Kasparitis, Anze Kopitar, Derian Hatcher, Darren McCarty, Olli Jokinen, Evgeni Malkin