Mike has cast his vote for Darren McCarty as ugliest man on the face (ha!) of the planet, and it's pretty tough to disagree. This is an old picture, but McCarty still looks like he was doing sit-ups underneath the team bus. Even his forehead is lopsided. You begin to understand why McCarty plays the way he does when you look at him: the man clearly has nothing to lose.
Steve Smith nominates Igor Ulanov as pretty ugly, too, but I honestly have to disagree. Perhaps it's my latent Russian fetish, but I think Igor has an almost stately quality to him. Throw him in an army uniform and one of those wool caps with the ear flaps, and he's stone-facedly leading tanks through the streets of Prague. Hell, if he'd sneer a bit more, you'd probably willingly salute him. It's a damn shame Tom Clancy has moved on to having Jack Ryan fight other threats, because Ulanov could have a career as "Nondescript Russian thug #2" when he finally decides to stop giving the puck away for good.
Besides, Igor isn't even the ugliest current Oiler. I love Smytty, but there's no denying the guy is ugly. It's even more prominent if you get a side view. You really can't pinpoint one particular thing about him, either; is it the hair, which perpetually looks like Smyth has been showering with car-mechanic sweat? Perhaps. The extended nose that seems to collect sweat like a reservoir pool then drip it off at clockwork-like intervals? Maybe. The gigantic ears hidden by the mechanic-sweat hair? A little. I like to think that Smyth is really just more abstractally ugly than anything; as in, if someone told you to draw ugly, this is fairly close to what you would come up with.
He probably doesn't rank as the ugliest Oiler ever, though. Kelly Buchberger probably could have been a handsome man, had he not spent his career jumping in front of pucks, sticks, fists, skates and anything else hard that was around. I like to think Bucky earned his ugly, though; he was fairly nondescript to begin with, but years of grit and guts turned him into the Frankenugly creature currently working for the Oilers in some capacity. But man, that stuff is better than a medal. Kelly won't have to pull out a glass case from the attic to impress his grandkids, he'll just stare at them until his jaw goes numb and his fake teeth fall out, sending them screaming into the upstairs bedroom, refusing to ever visit Grandpa again.
But I still think none of these guys hold a shattered mirror to the master. It became sort of de rigeur to make fun of Ricci's looks a while back, but Jesus, come on. We could fill an old French palace with pictures of this guy and call it the anti-Louvre. The only thing scarier than picturing Mike Ricci is picturing Mike Ricci with close-cropped hair, which he has now (for a time). This is the nameless terror that haunted the dreams of innocents until it became flesh. To defend Mike, however, I believe it was Yogi Berra who said, "So I'm ugly. I ain't never seen anybody hit with his face." Amen, but we could at least avoid portraiture of any kind.
Of course, why forget Tim Hunter, aside from the obvious? He usually got picked on because of his nose, which is ample, but that's to forget those glassy eyes and that taught, almost-zombie quality to the rest of his face. I think the fact that both he and Ricci played for the Sharks probably puts San Jose in the running for ugliest all-around team of all time. Could you even imagine these two on a line together? They'd have to reinforce the glass.
(I realize making fun of people's looks is a petty bit of grandstanding, but hey, I didn't start it. Besides, they all got to select their wives from the banks of the Sexy River in the hottest part of Attractiveland, so I imagine they've all gotten over it.)
Two Diametrically Opposed Offences
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