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By Adam Brady
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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.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 50 32 12 6 147 134 70
2 NSH 48 31 11 6 145 115 68
3 STL 48 31 13 4 156 117 66
4 CHI 49 31 16 2 155 113 64
5 WPG 50 26 16 8 140 127 60
6 SJS 49 26 17 6 137 135 58
7 VAN 47 27 17 3 129 120 57
8 CGY 49 26 20 3 140 127 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 50 21 18 11 131 141 53
11 DAL 48 22 19 7 152 157 51
12 MIN 48 22 20 6 131 138 50
13 ARI 48 17 25 6 111 161 40
14 EDM 49 13 27 9 113 162 35

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 49 15 35 7 50
C. Perry 35 19 13 13 32
R. Kesler 50 13 19 -3 32
S. Vatanen 50 10 20 3 30
M. Beleskey 49 19 7 11 26
P. Maroon 42 6 19 1 25
C. Fowler 49 5 18 2 23
H. Lindholm 49 5 16 12 21
J. Silfverberg 50 6 13 2 19
R. Rakell 39 5 12 2 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 27 7 5 .918 2.27
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28

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