Last week, in an interview on the Team 1040, Canucks winger Tanner Glass disclosed that he and teammate Aaron Rome often play Scrabble on team flights. This stunning revelation immediately grabbed me. Unfortunately, nobody else cared. Scrabble is a niche game. Either you love it, or you hate it, and to love it, you have to be a wordplay sort of guy. Guys like this are few and far between, namely because they die young, their survival skills sorely lacking.
I am that sort of guy. I love Scrabble. In fact, I hereby issue an open challenge to Tanner Glass: let's scrabble. You and me, pal. I will throw down on you like you're a triple-word score. Your scrabble is wack. My scrabble is the radness. You think you can handle my scrabble? Then scrabble me, Tanner.
And now we wait. In the meantime, I did some research and asked around, looking for other NHL personalities who dabble in the scrabble. Coming up, 20 NHL personalities who have a weakness for the world's greatest crossword-building game.
- Alex Burrows scrabbles, but often complains that, because English is his second language, he's at a disadvantage. Teammates say, though they usually allow him to make words in English and French, he never makes any sense in either. Another source claimed Alex Burrows spells words with way more O's than they need.
- Ilya Kovalchuk scrabbles. Even when he can't make a move, he won't pass.
- Brian Burke scrabbles, but a source claims he only wins games by adding suffixes onto other people's words, and that he can't build a decent word from scratch. He has a tendency to save his tiles for big words like tenacity and pugnacious. Worse, he once traded both blank tiles for a Q, a letter that gets a lot of points, but needs complementary letters or it's useless.
- Marc Savard scrabbles, but he has a reputation for trying to pass off completely made-up words. An anonymous source within the league called him "a little fake artist."
- Matt Cooke scrabbles, but he only spells words like poop, and butt, and boob. He has a reputation as a dirty player.
- Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher scrabbles. An anonymous junior coach said he plays too defensively by clogging up the board, and ruins the fun of it.
- Darryl Sutter scrabbles, but he doesn't manage his tiles very well. Inexplicably, he often changes them for weaker ones and he never quite seems to know what letters he needs.
- Wayne Gretzky scrabbles, but he doesn't seem to know what he's doing and he never seems to have a plan. Word has it he's better at table hockey. A former player said he once quit in the middle of a scrabble game, and the guy that came in to replace him turned things around in a hurry.
- Chris Pronger scrabbles, but nobody likes to play him because he has a reputation for stealing your tiles right off your rack. And stomping on your leg if he loses.
- Charles Wang scrabbles, and when he gets a letter he likes, he locks it up for fifteen years.
- Colin Campbell scrabbles, but he refuses to play Sorry.
- Patrick Kane scrabbles so often he might have a serious problem. While celebrating his Stanley Cup win, Deadspin once called him "more Scrabble than man," but the headline was changed to something else just to make him sound cooler.
- Don Cherry scrabbles. He'd be really good if he didn't have a tendency to invert important letters in every word.
- The Sedins scrabble, but only together, and they spend the whole game setting each other up for double-word scores.
- Derek Boogaard scrabbles, or at least he thinks it's scrabble. He spends the whole game punching the board, and most people refuse to play him.
- Mark Messier scrabbles, and some say he's one of the best to play the game. But I spoke to the Vancouver Scrabble Club, and they claim he was the worst player they ever had.
- George Parros scrabbles. He's amazing at it.
- Sean Avery scrabbles, but former opponents claim he spends most of the game waving a ruler in their faces to distract them.
- Sami Salo used to scrabble, but he once tore his MCL digging into the velvet bag. Team doctors have asked him to avoid board games altogether.
- Glen Sather scrabbles. People close to him say he stocks up on high-scoring consonants and spends little time surrounding them with vowels.