Sep 6, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT
Ah, Labor Day. Unlike most other national holidays, you don’t saddle us with guilt for being couch potatoes instead of war heroes. You don’t give us too much incentive to injure ourselves with illegal fireworks, force us to eat overcooked turkey with family members we don’t get along with or buy overpriced greeting cards.
Nope, Labor Day could be called Lazy Day in many circles and that’s why it’s a decidedly awesome (and American) holiday. For those of you who would like some puck talk mixed in to your hot dog consumption and pajama-clad day, we’ll try to track down the most interesting stories of this Monday. I couldn’t help but wonder, though: what are the most laborious jobs in hockey? I’ll split my choices into “player” and “non-player” categories.
Most “laborious” jobs in hockey: player edition
Leg pads for Jay McKee/Anton Volchenkov/Hal Gill (or shot blocking in general)
Hockey is a sport for ridiculously tough humans, especially if you’re a shut down defenseman. “Withstanding incredible pain and frequent bruising” is particularly high in the job description of shot blocking blueliners, though, who are insane enough to put their jobs on the line every time they sprawl out on the ice to stop a puck.
If you asked me which Chicago Blackhawks contributor received the least amount of deserved spotlight, I would pick Dave Bolland. For most of 2009-10 I thought he was arguably the most overpaid player (not named Cristobal Huet or Brian Campbell) on their roster until he frustrated the likes of the Sedin twins and Joe Thornton all summer long. While shutdown defensemen have tough jobs, defensive centers often cover an even larger part of the ice and also might be counted on for some offense.
Florida Panthers goalie
Combine shaky goal support (third worst in the NHL with only 2.46 goals scored per game) with the largest shots allowed in 09-10 (34.1 shots allowed per game) and being a goalie for the Panthers was probably the toughest netminding gig last season. That’s why hockey nerds such as myself appreciate Tomas Vokoun so much; he might not win but he stops a high volume of pucks, much like Roberto Luongo before him.
Time on Ice leaders
Chris Phillips lead the league in total shorthanded time on ice (315:23) while Jay Bouwmeester came in second (312:55) but averaged three and a half more total minutes per game. Duncan Keith played the most of any player in the NHL, narrowly beating his Stanley Cup finals opponent Chris Pronger (2,180:34 to 2,125:58). Martin St. Louis logged the most minutes of any forward, besting Anze Kopitar by a bit under two minutes.
Most “laborious” roles in hockey: Non-players
Penalty box operator, Philadelphia Flyers games
If there’s a hockey job that could give you carpal tunnel it would be this or …
Ilya Kovalchuk contract writer
… or this.
Noise reducing earphones
Whether it’s in Gary Bettman’s ears when he hands out the Stanley Cup or Pronger’s ears any time he touches the puck in, say, 20 percent of the league’s arenas, you cannot have good enough ear phones to soak up those angry boos.
Florida Panthers/New York Islanders ticket sales staff
Hey, look on the bright side; at one point, “Pittsburgh Penguins/Washington Capitals/Chicago Blackhawks ticket sales staff” would have been on the top of this list.
Wheel of Justice spinner
When spinning the league’s Wheel of Justice, your arm must get awfully tired.
Goal judges in the Toronto “War Room”
No matter what you decide, chances are, 50 percent of the audience will hate you for it. Which really matches another job description:
Any official/referee role, really
They don’t get the benefit of instant replays from multiple angles in high definition or slow motion. Fans might get the urge to shower them with beer, insults and jeer-based pressure to make calls. Some players are very good actors, at least when a stick gets caught in their skates. Maybe it’s not the toughest job in hockey, but would anyone argue that being a referee is one of the most “thankless” roles?
OK, so that’s my list of the most laborious jobs in hockey. What did I miss? Which one might be the most difficult of them all? Let us know in the comments.
- Kesler accuses Vancouver media of making up stories, ‘throwing people under the bus’ 0
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal 34
- Mike Yeo is pretty unhappy with Minnesota’s goalie situation 15
- Much to his relief, Lecavalier will start season at center 5
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands 59
- Advantage Kuemper? Harding on crutches after ankle injury 15
- Done deal, finally: Wings ink DeKeyser to two-year, $4.375M extension 11
- Update: NHL wants to see fine system in action before publicizing diving 5
- Get your odds to make the playoffs for all 30 NHL teams 18
- Blue Jackets GM to Johansen: It’s about the team, not ‘one guy’ 25
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (59)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (54)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)
- Boychuk doesn’t want to be traded, but has no control over the matter (39)