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Spotting the hockey hotties

Who to watch during the Stanley Cup playoffs

BOSTON BRUIN. Say his name over and over: MEE-lan LOO-cheech.

The 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs kicked off this week — here’s our hotties guide to conference leaders.

In the west, league-leading San Jose Sharks have Devin Setoguchi #16, the 22-year-old right-winger from Taber (!), Alberta, as hot on the ice as off. But then there’s defenceman Alexei Semenov #21, 6’6” 245 pounds, from Murmansk, Russia. Oof. He’d spit on your back and call you names. Keep an eye out for defenceman Dan Boyle #22 and right-winger Jonathan Cheechoo #14. Currently on the injured list are Milan Michalek and Ryane Clowe, so see if they clean up nice behind the bench.

Despite the prettiest jerseys in the NHL the top tier of defending champs Detroit Redwings are all fugly. Granted the team has two delicious defencemen: raven-haired Swede Andreas Lilja #3 and musclebound hobbit Brett Lebda #22.

At press time it’s hard to figure out who’s going to finish third. While Calgary has a good shot, Vancouver has greater depth on the hottie list including redheaded Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, #22 and #33. Ginger cream sandwich, anyone? There’s also Ryan Johnson #10 (oh, when he laughs), Ryan Kesler #17, chiselled god Kevin Bieksa #3, Steve Bernier #18 and the irresistible left-winger from Thunder Bay, Taylor Pyatt #9.

In the east, conference-leading Boston Bruins are the team to beat, at least hotistically, led by 6’4” 20-year-old Milan Lucic #17 (say his name over and over: MEE-lan LOO-cheech), tattooed hunk Andrew Ference #21 on defence and top-scoring centre Mark Savard #91 with his overactive tongue. This team’s got depth: Blake Wheeler #26, Patrice Bergeron #37 (if he keeps his helmet on — bad hair), honey-bunny Matt Hunwick #48 and Mark Stuart #45.

The Washington Capitals really boil down to 25-year-old centre Brooks Laich #21 (his teammates even voted him best ladies’ man) and Jose Theodore #60, with his unfortunate Paris Hilton connection. David Steckel #39 and Boyd Gordon #15 get honourable mentions.

As for New Jersey, Zach Parise #9 is the team’s top scorer and he’d keep that title at any gay bar. Sadly, with the return of netminder Marty Brodeur, we won’t get to see as much of Scott Clemmensen #35.

As for other contenders? For now let’s just mention phenomSidney Crosby #87 (have you seen him with his shirt off?) and 6’4” blond mountain Jordan Staal #11, both with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Columbus Blue Jackets’ centre> Antoine Vermette #50 (think a 6’1″ muscley Ashton Kutcher).

Ah, hot beef on ice. Let the beards begin.