(Ed. Note: Our series "Puck Daddy's Guilty Pleasures" features puckheads from all walks of life answering questions about their own hockey-related guilty pleasures. It will run daily during the month of August. Have a suggestion for a "Guilty Pleasures" guest blogger? Hit us on email. Enjoy!)
Today's special guests: Rudy Kelly, Earl Sleek and Megalodon of The Battle of California blog, where you'll get your daily update of Kings, Ducks and Sharks coverage mixed in with humor and cartoons.
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1. The Player You Most Love To Hate
Rudy Kelly: Ryan Smyth. I hate a lot of people (Thomas Jefferson, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Greg Wyshynski) but most of them are for petty and possibly insane reasons. But I love to hate Ryan Smyth because my hate for him is perfectly justified. He's been overrated his entire career and he has been bestowed mythical Canadian qualities because his team sucked so much he was available for the World Championships every year. The truth is that he's a lazy backchecker, he hogs the puck, and he isn't even that good in front of the net (the commentators just point him out more). Plus, he's goofy-looking.
Then the hayseed idiot asks for a trade, freeing up the Kings to pursue Brad Richards and sign Simon Gagne, all while exposing himself for a selfish player that puts himself above the team. The Germans have a word for how I felt: It's "Ryansmythisstupidfreude." And gentlemen, that feeling is GLORIOUS.
Earl Sleek: His playing career is over, but I don't think I'll ever hate a player with the same extraordinary intensity with which I hated Patrick Roy. That was a special kind of spite — I hated him, and I was quite proud of myself for doing so. Nowadays, players can irritate me, but I don't particularly love the fact that I hate them. Well, except for Steve Ott.
Megalodon: Patrick Roy. He's an arrogant jerk who padded his wins total later in his career while playing on the insanely-stacked Avalanche team, and his horrible puck-handling was an embarrassment that he never got enough flak for. Also he married a woman with the same name as his father, which is eight kinds of creepy.
2. Other Than Your Own, The Team You Can't Help Rooting For
Rudy Kelly: The Atlanta Thra- Dammit! Team Russia, I guess.
Earl Sleek: I know I'm a horrible Ducks fan for saying so, but for me it's the L.A. Kings. What can I say? I can identify with the struggles of the Southern California hockey fan better than I can sympathize with east coast or Canadian hockey fans. Plus, the Ducks and Kings signed a pact to never meet each other in the playoffs, so I'll never have to confront that awkward situation.
Megalodon: The Capitals. The Sharks of the East. Alex Ovechkin is the most exciting player in the league.