In preparation for the upcoming season I am going to feature one player from every team in the NHL. Goalies are excluded because they’re interesting enough to garner a feature of their own so look forward to that as round 2.
#24 John-Michael Liles – Maple Leafs – Defense
It is already well established that I’m a sucker for American defensemen and John-Michael Liles is my absolute favorite in the league. He’s from Indiana and was drafted by Colorado 159th in 2000. Take note of the draft year… I don’t have to feel like a complete chimo for thinking he is sexy as hell. Finally a profile on a guy older than 24!
Liles played for Michigan State (I like him enough to get past this) and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker before moving to the Avs AHL team during the 2002-2003 season. He moved up with the big boys in 2003 and had an awesome first year, making the NHL All-Rookie team and stealing the hearts of girls, and likely boys, everywhere with his 34 points and seriously good looks.
OK, let’s start with the obvious. No, not that he is hot, the other obvious - he’s a really freakin good defenseman! Although I would rather just post a bunch of Avs video clips and quietly cry to myself, I’m trying to be happy for the Leafs fans so let’s celebrate a couple nice goals from last season.
But of course I can’t just talk hockey without throwing a lot of touchy-feely nonsense so let’s play that game where you look at two pictures and pick out the differences.
Notice anything different? Yup, he changed his number from 26 to 4. Why would he do such a thing? In 2006 Paul Stastny made the whopping 6 mile journey from Magness Arena to the Pepsi Center and Liles gave him his #26 to wear in honor of his father, who rocked that number for the Nordiques. See, he is a seriously nice guy. And aw, look how happy he made Paul!!
And they are still friends! Liles was the first person to give Stastny a shout out for joining twitter.
This section is officially called “The Hate” but in this case it should be called “The Heartbreak”. I don’t have any hate for Liles but I’m going to bitch about my team here for a moment. I obviously did something to really piss off the hockey gods last year because Liles was traded to Toronto one day after Richie & Carts were kicked out of Philly. I’m still not over it, like really not over it. I whine about Liles being gone at least once a week in the off season and I am inconsolable every time I see him wearing a Leafs sweater. It’s like both of my teams were intentionally trying to hurt me…and it worked.
Let’s Get Scrappy
Liles isn’t a big fighter and it is hilarious how shocked the announcers are in both of these videos. And yeah, it’s kind of obvious he doesn’t fight often. He doesn’t embarrass himself but he most definitely doesn’t look comfortable. That’s OK Liles; leave the fighting to the guys with the ugly mugs. Your face is too pretty to get beat up.
Feed the Inner Fangirl/Fanboy
So have you actually looked at the pictures above? Liles is freakin hot. If I had a locker there would be pictures of him taped all over the inside.
But he’s also a really nice guy. I’ve heard a lot stories from people who ran into him around Denver and he was always willing to stop and pose for a picture. Um, how is it possible that I never ran into him when I lived there? Again, the hockey gods really hate me. Then again it is highly unlikely I would have kept myself from proposing or doing something equally embarrassing so maybe the hockey gods don’t hate me after all.
Let’s Mix in Some Swords
After much debate Beddee and I have decided that Liles would be Tommen in Game of Thrones and yes, I totally appreciate the irony that the one player I have featured who is over 30 is being compared to a child.
It is amazing to me how much Tommen looks like he could be John-Michael’s kid! But the reason he would be Tommen is because he is kind and cares about others. Would it be a stretch to say that Tommen making Loras his Master-of-Arms is similar to Liles giving Stastny his number? Shit, who am I kidding? It’s all about the looks and Tommen is, without a doubt, a Liles mini-me. My blog, my reasons. Liles = Tommen, end of story!