There’s a great post at Shutdown Pair asking how one goes about picking a favorite player. How did I choose mine after JP Dumont left? All it took was a little Slayer.
Toni Lydman isn’t the most noticeable guy on the ice, unless he’s throwing one of his gnarly turnovers. He plays a quiet, physical game on defense and turns in to a puck-devouring monster on the penalty kill.
Oh, and he scores wacky goals. Like his snipes against Carolina and New York last season. And his strange five-hole winner in the shootout against Carey Price in 2008/2009. He also has one of the driest wits in Buffalo sports. “There was no move” remains one of my personal clique’s favorite jokes.
But what was it that drew me to him? He’s metal as eff. Plays guitar in a thrashy death metal band, too. He even abused the 2007/2008 Sabres feature “Player Tunes” to get the likes of Children of Bodom, Anthrax, Mastodon, and the aforementioned Slayer played inside HSBC Arena during a game.
His was the first customized jersey I ever bought, and he was also the first player I ever wanted a picture with. He’s gone now, signing with Anaheim in the off-season to play with fellow Finnish men’s hockey Olympians Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne. Gone are the days of pulling my hair out over one of his boneheaded late game turnovers or feeling like a jubilant fool when he managed to score a pretty goal.
Maybe one of these days I’ll get around to printing this picture out and framing it: