Posted: Thursday August 10, 2006 1:52PM; Updated: Thursday August 10, 2006 4:30PM
An encounter wtih The Grim Reaper (right) was never pleasant.
Craig Jones/Getty Images
After serving up 10 fun pre-expansion player nicknames in the August 3 Top Shelf, this second part presents 10 from the post-expansion era (1967-present). Many of the players below were downright characters during their time in the game. Some had nice, lengthy careers while others were gone in a flash, at least from the NHL.
It is no surprise, given their colorful nature, that many pugilists are a part of this list. There is also a Hall of Fame goaltender who was the target of a funny verbal transmission by another player who also wound up in the Hall. The goalie is not known by the spontaneously-assigned moniker, but it was certainly fitting as well as entertaining. Players are listed alphabetically by last name.
Frank Beaton "Never" changed to "Seldom"
Beaton made the rounds between the WHA, IHL, AHL, SHL, and NHL, causing all manor of havoc wherever he landed. The brawling winger played only 25 NHL games during two stints with the Rangers in the 1970s, but was noted for his tangle with future referee Paul Stewart in a game against the Nordiques in 1979-80. Frank "Never" Beaton became Frank "Seldom" Beaton when he discovered that, indeed, he could be.
Tie Domi The Albanian Assassin
From Dave Brown to Bob Probert to Peter Worrrell, Tahir Domi has taken on all comers and been there for numerous teammates during an NHL career that started with the Maple Leafs in 1989-90. Domi, of Albanian descent, has long been one of the game's best and most willing fighters. His 3,454 career penalty minutes rank third all-time. More than an enforcer, Domi has chipped in offensively, a fact punctuated by his career-high 15 goals in 2002-03. The 36-year-old forward had his contract bought out by Toronto earlier this summer.
Ken Dryden Thieving Giraffe
The nickname emerged during one of the many battles between the Canadiens and Bruins. It is even better when you consider whose mouth it came from. During Game 7 of the opening round of the 1971 playoffs, the young goaltender out of Cornell stoned Phil Esposito, causing the befuddled and frustrated center to holler, "You thieving giraffe!" Only Espo could think of something like that in the spur of the moment. The 6-foot-4 Dryden stunned the hockey world with his play while upsetting the mighty Bruins, and would go on to lead the Habs to the Stanley Cup.
Ron Flockhart Flockey Hockey
An exciting player to watch, this center's blend of speed and skill resulted in a simple, but up-tempo nickname. Strong on the power play and penalty-killing units, Flockhart established career highs of 33 goals and 72 points as a rookie with the Flyers in 1981-82. By the end of the decade, he was starring in Italy. After an injury, Flockhart returned to North America and became the first coach of the CHL's Dallas Freeze. He named one of his three children after the Texas city.