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Top 25 Weird Facts About Your Favorite NHL Players

Everyone's got an odd side or a weird story.

Think famous people are simply devoid of any shred of quirkiness that shapes our unique personalities and characters? Think again.

Kevin Garnett didn't celebrate Christmas or Halloween until he turned 19 (and he apparently also strikes the fear of God into the hearts of his teammates by threatening to throw their smartphones in the toilet). Miguel Cabrera is a big fan of tiny dogs. Chad Johnson is obsessed with orca whales. And there are plenty of athletes out there who've dabbled in the music industry at one time or another (successfully or otherwise).

When it comes to hockey players, you already know their quirks and skills on the ice - Patrick Kane can deke his way out of a crowded phone booth, Evgeni Malkin is a freight-train on skates, and Pekka Rinne lives a double-life as a contortionist.

One might assume that the majority of these guys are serious, no-nonsense, boring individuals with barely a shred of personality and too busy working on beating each other up with fists and sticks to worry about having a hobby or a regular life.

Au contraire, my friends; hockey players are notoriously legendary partiers, are the proud owners of a wide range of secret talents, and for the most part have led generally interesting lives that have led them into a weird situation or two (or have turned them into weird people on the whole).

Some of these fascinating tidbits will leave you scratching your head, shaking your head, or wondering what could possibly going on the heads of these freaks.

25 Alexei Kovalev

via habseyesontheprize.com

"Kovy" could have earned a list on his own for some of the strange things he's partaken in over the years. We'll always remember Kovalev as hockey's greatest enigma - a man with mitts smoother than Persian silk bedsheets, a crisp and enthralling Russian drawl, and the work ethic of a sloth on most nights.

Off the ice, though Kovalev personifies his on-ice nickname of "L'Artiste" (The Artist). Among other things, Kovalev flies planes in his spare time and once dabbled in the world of jazz, specifically as a saxophone player.

24 Dany Heatley

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you really want to read up on Dany Heatley, don't bother going through his Wikipedia page. Instead, find the famous Dany Heatley parody account on Twitter and get comfortable - you'll be scrolling through "Heater's" life story for awhile.

23 Pavel Datsyuk

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

22 Jaromir Jagr

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Jaromir Jagr is slowly but surely taking over the NHL's "Most Interesting Man" title, in his own special way. The fact that he's still producing at his age is remarkable in itself - that he manages to remain relevant in what has become a young man's game is even more impressive.

21 Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist should shed the nickname "King Henrik" and pick up the moniker "Shredder," because that's all he does - he shreds.

20 Sidney Crosby

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

You knew Sid the Kid would end up on this list.

We all know so little about him (he keeps his private life really private) that you're safe to assume that the world's premier hockey talent has a skeleton in his closet.

It's just not the skeleton you would have expected.

19 Patrick Roy

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The stories of goaltenders being "a special breed" due to their quirky and sometimes insane routines or habits are not just myth - and Patrick Roy is living proof of that.

Roy had several interesting superstitions, but the weirdest and best documented has to be his relationship with his posts. Thanking your crossbar for deflecting a puck out of play instead of into the net is one thing, but having full-blown conversations with your posts is another.

18 Wayne Gretzky

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We're all well aware of the fact that NHL players are intense creatures of habit. Like most professional athletes, their routines must be completed properly every time they have to go out and perform, or the fear of failure will haunt them throughout the entire game (if not longer). Even those with the greatest of talents lived by routine, including the Great One himself - Gretzky had a specific pre-period routine that included a Diet Coke, ice water, a Gatorade and a second Diet Coke.

17 Joe Nieuwendyk 

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Like we've already mentioned, NHL players and their habits are like babies and their pacifiers - without them, they begin to howl and cry.

So just picture, for a second, if Joe Nieuwendyk found out minutes before a game that the team's equipment staff had forgotten to pack his precious baby powder.

16 Ray Bourque

Elsa Hasch /Allsport

A standard NHL intermission usually lasts anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes, give or take. That gives players enough time to fuel up, get a quick speech from the coach, maybe watch some video and make a couple of quick adjustments to strategies.

15 Stan Mikita

via pinterest.com

You wouldn't catch an NHL player with a cigarette in his mouth in public these days, for fear of the incredible wave of backlash that would envelop him from all angles.

14 Guy Lafleur

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Lafleur, like Mikita, enjoyed his in-game fill of nicotine and tar filling his lungs. It makes you wonder what kind of material lungs were made of back in the day (leather or titanium are my best guesses).

Lafleur did more than just enjoy a cigarette - he enjoyed several. Legend has it that you'd be hard-pressed to find Lafleur without a cigarette in between his fingers away from the rink.

13 Steven Stamkos

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When you watch Steven Stamkos rip a clapper from the top of the left circle, you wonder if he was born with the innate ability to place a puck wherever he wanted within a split-second, while having that puck travel at over 100 MPH. Surprisingly, one of Stamkos' biggest weaknesses as a young player was his shot. The rest of his talent came naturally, but his most lethal weapon was crafted and worked on over many years of hard work.

12 Alexei Emelin

Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Alexei Emelin built his reputation in the National Hockey League with devastating hits that have forwards cowering in fear near the blue line to this day. Often times, Emelin's big checks border the line between clean and dirty, and he's often challenged by opponents trying to defend their teammate. Emelin has dropped the gloves a few times, but he shouldn't be - his face was essentially rebuilt after it was caved in during a fight he got into while playing in Russia.

11 David Perron

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sportsj

For the most part, there are a couple of specific routes to make the NHL. In North America, you're either playing Major Junior by the age of 16-17, or you go the college route and play in the NCAA for a few years until you're ready to go pro. In other countries, you might be playing in elite leagues like the Swedish Elite League or the Kontinental Hockey League before you turn 18.

David Perron is one of the exceptions. By the time you're in "Midget" (generally between 15-17 years old) you're either on NHL radars or you're non-existent. Perron was not only playing single-letter house league hockey, he was in "B." Suffice to say he was off the radar.

10 Paul Kariya

via cardsfromthecrease.blogspot.com

The thought of Paul Kariya brings up good memories of one of the pioneers of diminutive-but-elite scorers, and bad ones of Kariya laying motionless at centre-ice after being steamrolled by Scott Stevens.

9 Dion Phaneuf

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Dion Phaneuf built his reputation in the National Hockey League on his offensive prowess and massive hits. Phaneuf has built his craft exceptionally well, and while things haven't been going great in Toronto, there's no doubting his abilities.

8 Joe Juneau

via sportsnet.ca

7 Carey Price

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Carey Price's road to the NHL in itself is fascinating. If you ever complain that driving to practice is tedious, remember that Price and his father had to fly to the arena because they lived so far. Price also has an interesting offseason hobby - rodeo. He's pretty good at it too, competing in competitions throughout the summer (leaving Habs fans anxiously checking in on Price's health from June until September).

6 Patrick Kaleta

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, I know - Patrick Kaleta is no one's favorite NHL player. While Kaleta has earned a bad reputation on the ice, he might gain some support from fans across the league thanks to his off-ice love: Legos. Inspired by David Beckham's interest in them, Kaleta went out and got some Legos to kill time while he was injured.

5 Matt Cooke

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

4 Curtis Glencross

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

3 Teemu Selanne

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Teemu Selanne most definitely is one of the NHL fan base's favorite players, and he might grow on you even more after you read this.

The "Finnish Flash" was not only a scoring dynamo, but also a kindergarten teacher, a patrol point man with Finland's army, a race car driver and antique car collector. Talk about living life in the fast-lane, which makes his nickname all that more appropriate.

2 Bobby Ryan

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The word "weird" doesn't justify the kind of life Bobby Ryan has lived.

By the way, his real name isn't Bobby Ryan: it's Robert Shane Stevenson.

1 Brent Burns

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

This entry is perhaps the most appropriate of them all. At a glance, Brent Burns looks like a wild animal; the big, scraggly beard, untamed hair and missing teeth make his look more like a woodsman than a hockey player.

Burns is an incredible talent on the ice - off the ice, he takes his animalistic looks home to...a zoo. Of course it's Burns, of all people, who has an affinity for exotic animals. His home in Minnesota held snakes, lizards and plenty of other kinds of reptiles that will either get your adrenaline pumping or make your skin crawl.

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Top 25 Weird Facts About Your Favorite NHL Players