Some Friday posts are hard work: weeding through photos, combing through Tumblrs and Twitters for pictures that demonstrate exactly what we’re trying to say about the week’s honoree. Not today, friends. Today was easy.
Foxy Friday: Liam O’Brien
Type “Liam O’Brien Capitals” into a Google search and one click gives you enough photos to fill a whole post. (Er, don’t do that, because it’s exactly what I used here.) It’s as if someone culled the best parts of former foxes and combined them to our exact specifications. If you made me a Build-a-Bear for Christmas, this would be it.
- Tall? 6’1.
- Too young? Oh yeah. (He is 20 years old. I have sweaters older than this.)
- Obvious boyband potential? Is there ever.
- Beard? Check.
- GINGERBEARD? All the checks.
- He freaking wears #87 and is from Nova Scotia, people.
But the best thing about Liam isn’t on that list. It’s in the feel-good, cry-at-the-end, Twizzler-straw-in-your-Coke, Disney sports movie plot that is his life right now.
Liam O’Brien was not drafted in June. Not by any team, in any round. They all passed. While obviously they don’t have the same criteria as we do when selecting fantasy teams, I find this hard to believe. But it does happen (Chris Kunitz, anyone?) and only once in a great while does it turn into something you read about months later in hockey press across North America.
When Liam got invited to Caps’ camps this fall, he came to play. The new coach and management were so impressed that a month later, they signed O’Brien to a three-year rookie contract. Not bad to hit $550,000/season with a stroke of the pen. On October 9, the kid from Halifax made his NHL debut in Montreal, in front of as many family and friends as could make it. The press? They were all over it. Did he do interviews in French? Of course he did, because this post writes itself.
Three games later, Liam punctuated a scrum in San Jose by saying this to 6 foot, 8 inch John Scott:
French is great but Liam is fluent in our favorite language: sass.
On October 26 vs. Vancouver, Liam scored. I fumbled the dish I was washing and ran back into the living room. Joe B. and Locker confirmed what I thought I’d heard: Inside of a month, Liam O’Brien had 1) signed a contact, 2) made the NHL, 3) scored his first goal. If you’re not rooting for this guy, you’re doing it wrong.
Last week I got to meet Liam at a work event, and can attend he is this great in real life. You can see (hopefully) a lot more of him throughout EPIX Presents Road To The NHL Winter Classic™, the series beginning December 16 that will follow the Caps and Hawks to the Winter Classic. The best part? You don’t need HBO to watch it! You can stream it live from either team’s website, plus Epix.com, NHL.com, their Facebook pages or mobile apps. That is Liam’s gingerbeard at home, at work, on the bus, at the gym… see, I told you think was custom-made for us.