It’s time to show some love for the backup – the #2 guy, the benchwarmer, the alternate plan, the man who sits at second on the depth chart. While the starters are out there getting all the love and the limelight, the backup rides the pine waiting for his time to shine. But Mr. Alternate deserves love, too.
Take for example the case of one Johan Hedberg – backup goaltender for the Atlanta Thrashers. The sexy Swede (I have always wanted to write that in a post) may play second fiddle to Kari Lehtonen on the ice, but he definitely wins in the looks competition. Johan was named one of the 50 Sexiest People in Atlanta – and where was Mr. Lehtonen on that list? Nowhere, that’s where.
Plus, his nickname is “Moose” (thanks to Pittsburgh- whose fans gently mocked him for wearing his old Manitoba Moose helmet when he got called to the Penguins at the last minute), which is awesome. And he is super sweet to the kid fans, too:
[A fan] asked Hedberg if he had a moment to take a photo with her daughter at a Thrashers practice. She got more than a picture. “He picked her up and talked to her and snuggled her,” said the fan, sporting a No. 1 Hedberg Thrashers jersey before a recent Thrashers home game. “That’s a big deal for a mom.”
That picture now has a permanent home in her purse and Hedberg cemented another lifelong supporter in a fan club that grows with each person he meets.
So you can have first crack at tending the goal, Kari – and Johan will just have to be satisfied with being sweet and handsome. And don’t look now- but Johan’s getting more playing time lately, so maybe he’ll take over #1 on the ice soon, too.
Lots more Johan loveliness after the jump…