Hockey Hugs is a feature that celebrates the best in hugging from around the sport of hockey, because who doesn't love a good hug now and then? Have you seen a particularly good hug photo lately? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @HarrisonMooney.
Find a loved one. Get close. Put the kettle on. It's time once again for hockey hugs, that special moment that reflects on hockey's special moments.
We've got some strong candidates this week. I mean, sure, we do most weeks, because man oh man do hockey players know how to hug, but this week's batch is especially strong. It also feature the first ever appearance in hockey hugs of an NHL mascot.
Let us not waste time. There is hugging afoot. To snuggles!
No. 6, Pittsburgh Penguins
Olli Maatta celebrates his first NHL goal.
"Whoa! Kunitz on my left! Dupuis on my right! I couldn't ask for better linemates!"
"Whoa. That's not what Sidney always says... hey Olli, you're all right."
No. 5, Carolina Hurricanes
Radek Dvorak accosts Ron Hainsey, pinning him against the wall like a school bully.
"This is a stick-up! Give me all of your... friendship."
No. 4, Montreal Canadiens
Andrei Markov consoles Tomas Plekanec after he flipped out and punched Roberto Luongo into the net.
"He... he called me a name! He made me!"
"Hush now, my sweet prince. Come to Tomas."
No. 3, Detroit Red Wings
Some people are ugly criers. Johan Franzen is an ugly hugger.
"Good goal, Johan! Nobody snipes it like -- Gah!"
No. 2, San Jose Sharks
A man comforts a monster.
One day, San Jose was set upon by a terrible monster. A vile thing, he terrorized the town, devouring all he encountered, roaring in the streets as the citizens fled into their cellars. "Who will save us?" the townspeople cried. "Who is brave enough to face this damnable thing?"
And then a man volunteered his life. A man named Joe. "I will." He said. And out into the streets he went, following the sounds of the creature's hideous howls. He encountered the monster by the town hall.
"What is it that you want?" The man shouted.
"The destruction of all," snarled the monster.
"I can offer but love," said the man, and in a moment of great bravery, or perhaps foolishness, he took the monster into his arms. "It's okay," he said. "We forgive you. Come and live amongst us."
The monster wept. All he had ever wanted was to be accepted.
No. 1, Toronto Maple Leafs
Joffrey Lupul and Tyler Bozak hug, while Carlton the Bear wants in on that.
"Whoa, Carlton is close. Really close. And suddenly now I think it's weird that he doesn't wear pants."