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You've Gotta Love Lovejoy

Tuesday, 04.16.2013 / 6:29 PM
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Ducks Off the Ice by Adam Brady
You\'ve Gotta Love Lovejoy
“I’m a chronic handwasher. I don’t like shaking hands, I just don’t like touching things. People give me a hard time for not being a dog lover or an animal person. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t enjoy touching them.”
Ducks defenseman Ben Lovejoy was a popular figure in Pittsburgh during parts of five seasons with the Penguins, and in two-and-a-half months in Anaheim, it’s been easy to see why.

It’s not just that Lovejoy has been playing admirable defense for the Ducks since they picked him up in a trade for a fifth round pick on February 6. (Bruce Boudreau recently called him, "Everything and more than we've asked.) And it’s not only that he frequently delivers hits that reflect neither Love nor Joy.

Talk to him away from the rink, and he’s a very easy guy to like. The 29-year-old from Concord, New Hampshire has a unhurried, methodical way of speaking that is packed with intelligence and flashes of humor – almost like he’s thinking of the perfect way to deliver a sentence as he’s uttering it. (It should be noted, by the way, he spent four years at Dartmouth.)

For example, here is him earlier this year on why he earned the nickname Rev, after Reverand Lovejoy from “The Simpsons” (which is reflected in his Twitter avatar): “When I first became a pro hockey player, people started calling me Rev. I watched the show growing up, so I knew it well. All the guys in Pittsburgh called me Rev pretty regularly.

"We were in Canada one day watching Sportscentre. I made a play and the announcer called me ‘The Reverend!’ The next day Mike Rupp, who was then my teammate in Pittsburgh, came in and couldn’t believe the announcer knew my nickname. Rupp wasn’t a ‘Simpsons’ fan, so he didn’t know. It has very little to do with my religious affiliation. It’s an uncommon name and that character has made it famous, so I’ve embraced that.”

Today I was talking to Lovejoy about a feature we’re developing on playoff beards, and he good-naturedly admitted that he’s a longtime germaphobe.

“I’m a chronic handwasher,” he said. “I don’t like shaking hands, I just don’t like touching things. People give me a hard time for not being a dog lover or an animal person. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t enjoy touching them.”

I asked him if he shakes hands or goes with the Howie Mandel fist bump.

“I will tough it out,” he said, “and then pull out some hand sanitizer when I have to. I carry it with me all the time.”

I asked how long it’s been the case. “It’s been awhile,” he said. “My teammates here have recently discovered it. I get a hard time, but I think they understand.”

That being said, he has high hopes for the playoff beard, and he couldn’t have put it any better: “I actually have a pretty manly playoff beard, even though I do not enjoy having facial hair. It itches, and usually like keeping clean and nicely shaven.

“But I do it because it’s an important tradition. It’s the profession I’ve chosen, and you tough it out because it’s that sort of bunker mentality. Everyone grows one, and I look forward to having a beard for over eight weeks starting in May.”

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 77 48 22 7 225 215 103
2 x - NSH 76 47 21 8 218 183 102
3 STL 75 46 22 7 228 186 99
4 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
5 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
6 VAN 75 43 27 5 215 203 91
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 75 37 24 14 200 188 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 76 37 29 10 236 243 84
11 SJS 75 37 30 8 210 212 82
12 COL 75 35 28 12 205 209 82
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 74 24 44 14 68
C. Perry 62 32 20 16 52
R. Kesler 77 19 27 -4 46
S. Vatanen 62 12 25 6 37
J. Silfverberg 76 12 23 12 35
P. Maroon 68 9 25 -3 34
C. Fowler 75 7 27 5 34
J. Wisniewski 65 8 25 -14 33
H. Lindholm 73 7 26 22 33
M. Beleskey 63 22 10 15 32
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 33 11 5 .914 2.40
J. Gibson 12 7 0 .914 2.65

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