Hockey Quotes of the Week

Compared to the entertainment world in general, NHL players, coaches, and officials are hardly quote machines. (Ditto for their junior counterparts.) You’re more likely to catch the Dalai Lama challenging Mike Tyson than, say, to get a colorful answer when you ask an NHLer: “So which team would you like to face in the first round of the playoffs?”

But somehow, guys step up, do the little things, and manage to get the job done. I’m referring, of course, to providing enough humorous and off-the-wall blather for me to put together a “Hockey Quotes of the Week” story.

(By the way, the accompanying picture is totally misleading. You are not about to experience the wit and wisdom of Sean Avery. I just wanted a shot of a hockey player opening his big mouth.)

“It’s hard to compare, because you look at his size, there were players of his size (in the past). But work like he works, they will not.” — Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire on Sidney Crosby’s potential for greatness. (Wait, is that Jacques Lemaire or Yoda?)

“If there’s a position right now that better pick its socks up, it’s the middle of the ice.” — Vancouver Giants GM Scott Bonner on his WHL club’s need for better play from its centermen. (Oh, Bonner may think he knows how to mangle a metaphor, but he’s no Brian Burke.)

“Family, our golf game, and a great deal more than that.” — New NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly comments coyly on the top-secret subjects he discussed with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in New York on Wednesday. (Not to be impertinent, but doesn’t this sound like how Alan Eagleson and John Ziegler used to chill out?)

“Actually, I have been noticing a lot of water in my skates. But I had no idea why! Maybe this is the reason! It makes sense if other players have the same problem. [Thank] you for enlightening me! It all makes sense now.” – Washington Capitals center Viktor Kozlov raves gratefully to On Frozen Blog after pinpointing a problem he’s had with the new Reebok uniform system. (Kozlov then ran naked down the street, shouting: “Eureka!”)

“Sandis is Stanley Cup winner, a seven time All-Star and he is in tremendous physical shape. He has worked very hard and we look forward to him helping this hockey club moving forward.” — San Jose GM Doug Wilson, on the Sharks official web site, on the November 2 signing of defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh. (Even old, Sandis is good player. Now maybe he help San Jose win first Cup and learn Doug Wilson better English.)

“We’re very frustrated as a group. It’s contagious. Winning’s contagious, losing’s contagious and you don’t want to get in that mindset.” — Brendan Morrison of the Vancouver Canucks after losing 3-0 to Nashville on November 1 for a league-worst home record of 1-6-0. (So since there are no more ties, today’s NHL is like an Ebola outbreak?)

“You know what, coaching is coaching. I got hired here to be me.” – Rookie NHL bench boss Brent Sutter on implementing his own coaching philosophy with the New Jersey Devils. (Sorry, Brent, but you got hired because Lou Lamoriello can’t clone himself. Yet.)

“I know of [Parti Quebecois leader] Pauline Marois and I think she’s got bigger things on her plate than talking about Saku Koivu. And if she doesn’t, there’s serious problems with the government in Quebec.” — Calgary Flames forward Alex Tanguay on the mini-controversy about Koivu’s failure to speak French when introducing his fellow Canadiens at Montreal’s October 13 home opener. (And hey, guess what? Mario Marois: 955 NHL games. Daniel Marois: 350 NHL games. Pauline Marois: 0 NHL games.)

“I grabbed my cellphone and called home and said, ‘Hey, you’ll never guess believe who I just had a puff with–Al Arbour.’” — Ted Nolan on once having a smoke, during his Buffalo days, with the most legendary coach in New York Islanders history. (Was Nolan blacklisted because he inhaled?)

“Men will be men. You mark your territory and I’m going to mark mine.” – Former NHL enforcer Tony Twist on why fighting will always be part of hockey. (Twist then took another swig and bellowed at a lion: “You wanna go right now?”)

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