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Some NHL media guides reveal interesting quirks about players

Naslund, quite obviously, has a great sense of humour.

Alexander Ovechkin has great genes. The Washington star's mother Tatiana won Olympic gold medals in basketball in 1976 and 1980, and his father Mikhail is a former pro soccer player.

If Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeff Carter had to sing a karaoke song, it would be "I Love This Bar" by Toby Keith, while teammate Mike Knuble would try "Dancing Queen" by Abba. It's hard to imagine Knuble in a white disco suit but, who knows, maybe there's one in the back of his closet.

These tidbits, and many others, about NHL players can be found in the 2006-2007 team media guides.

The majority of clubs include snippits of personal information on players. Curiously, Canadian clubs are the most staunch at protecting players' privacy. Five of the six teams that don't reveal any personal info are in Canada.

The Canucks are the only Canadian team to give us even the slightest insight into who their players are off the ice. Buffalo is the only U.S. team that declines totally. Some other U.S. teams don't offer much personal info, but even though it's scant it's more than is dished out by the Leafs, Canadiens, Senators, Flames and Oilers.

The cover of Vancouver's guide has a photo of Naslund from the back celebrating scoring a goal with teammates. Naslund, shot from the front, was on the cover last year.

The Leafs took captain Mats Sundin off their front cover and opted for three-quarters of a generic team logo this year.

The Canadiens play up their rich history by using ticket stubs and snapshots of players, buildings and games from the past on the front of their guide.

The Senators put Dany Heatley on their cover after giving Chris Phillips the honour a year ago.

The Flames go with Miikka Kiprusoff after having Kiprusoff, Jarome Iginla, Darryl Sutter and a horde of former Flames in the background last year.

The Oilers stick with a crowd celebration. There are players hugging this time instead of the back of a jumping fan.

In addition to Ottawa and Calgary, the only media guides with only one recognizable player on the cover are the Islanders, who front goalie Rick DiPietro, and the Carolina Hurricanes, who show Rod Brind'Amour yelling triumphantly with the Stanley Cup over his head.

Sidney Crosby shares the Pittsburgh cover with Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney and Marc-Andre Fleury above the slogan "Experience The Evolution."

Ovechkin shares the Caps cover with veteran goalie Olaf Kolzig.

As for those personals, some of the revelations are predictable, others are funny and a few are intriguing.

Bon Jovi, 3 Doors Down and Tim McGraw are Crosby's favourite recording artists. Oh, his nicknames are Sid or Darryl, and he loves Chinese food.

The Bruins divulge that Zdeno Chara is engaged to a woman named Tatiana, is an avid cyclist, and his father, Zdenek, was a wrestler on Czechoslovakia's 1976 Olympic team. The Senators were reluctant to let all this out of the bag.

Kings forward Alexander Frolov is an intellectual, apparently. The Moscovite says his favourite book is the heavy read "The Idiot" by Dostoevsky.

Now that Jay McKee has left the tight-lipped Sabres, we find out from the St. Louis Blues that he and his wife, Nicole, are expecting a second daughter in November, and that he has a thing for stuffed peppers.

Now that Eric Lindros has left Toronto, the Dallas Stars let the cat out of the bag regarding the musical talents of No. 88. It seems Lindros played the trumpet for eight years during his childhood.

With Jordan Leopold in Denver now, the Avalanche has revealed that the American defenceman would pick Matthew McConaughey as the actor who would play him in his life story. Colorado captain Joe Sakic would have Kiefer Sutherland play him in his life story.

Anaheim always has one of the most interesting personal sections below each player's statistics.

This year, we learn that newly acquired Chris Pronger's first job was as a dishwasher at Royal Pizza Palace in his home town of Dryden, Ont., and that he also spent a summer as a bricklayer's assistant "basically lifting bricks from the pile and giving them to the guy setting them."

You've come a long way, Chris.

The first job Ducks forward Andy McDonald had was as an assistant to the turkey vaccinator at Cutty Farms just outside his hometown of Strathroy, Ont.

San Jose's guide tells us that high-scoring Jonathan Cheechoo would be an elementary school teacher if he weren't a star athlete, his hockey idol is Jari Kurri, and he'd liked to have met Jesus Christ "just to listen to him."

The first job new Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo had was selling shoes in his dad's shoe store, and teammate Kevin Bieksa says watermelon is his favourite food.

Sharks defenceman Josh Gorges grew up in Kelowna, B.C., and his dad owns a Dairy Queen, and teammate Steve Bernier's pet peeve is all the fighting in the world.

Jessica Simpson is Flyers forward Simon Gagne's favourite actress, Sandra Bullock is preferred by Coyotes' Ed Jovanovski, Eva Mendes catches the eye of the Kings' Mike Cammalleri and Charlize Theron is the favourite of Nashville's Jason Arnott.

Carolina teammates Scott Walker and Niclas Wallin have something in common. Walker's first job was at a McDonald's restaurant, and Ronald McDonald is the person Wallin would most like to meet.

The person players picked most often when asked who they'd like to meet was U.S. President George W. Bush.



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