Hockey players can have lightning speed, nimble hands and a net-ripping slapshot, but if they don't have a nickname, they don't really have anything.
You've got to have a nickname in hockey, a sport that hands them out like no other in professional sports. RedEye asked several Blackhawks about the origins of their alternative monikers and their favorites on the team.
MICHAL "ROSEY" ROZSIVAL
What's your hockey nickname and how'd you get it?
"People just call me 'Rosey.' It just comes from my last name, obviously. It's probably the only nickname that I've had in my career. I guess it's the easiest thing to call me. I've always been 'Rosey,' even in [the Czech Republic]. When I first got to Pittsburgh [in the NHL] I'd say, 'My name is Michal Rozsival,' but my nickname is 'Rosey,' so if you feel like calling me 'Rosey,' that's fine too."
Does it take you awhile to learn everybody's "hockey name" when you get to a new team?
"Yeah, it takes a couple of weeks, but it's not too hard."
What's your favorite hockey nickname on the Blackhawks?
"I think 'Seabsie' [Brent Seabrook] has a good name. They call him 'Biscuit.' To tell you the truth, I don't know why. I've just heard them call him 'Biscuit,' but I haven't heard the story yet. I've got to find that out. That's one of the better ones here."
JAMAL "JAMMER" MAYERS
How far back does the nickname "Jammer" go?
"I've been that since I was 15 … Tier II Junior A level, Thornhill Thunderbirds."
Do you remember who first gave it you?
"He was the general manager of the team. He said it wasn't necessarily because of my name, 'Jamal,' but it was fitting because it was a reference to a position in roller derby that I didn't know about. The position's called the 'Jammer,' where [they] go ahead of everybody else and knock everybody down. So that's where I got that nickname."
How are these nicknames thought up?
[Laughs] "It just flows. It's like asking Jay-Z how he comes up with his rhymes. It just comes to him. But, typically, it's something with your last name. Sometimes, though, you have to make up one. If you look at a young guy [like Brandon Saad], his nickname's just … 'Manchild.' All you have to do is look at him, because he comes shaven in the morning and by the time we're having lunch, he's got a little bit of a shadow—and he's 20 years old, so 'Manchild.' He'll probably be 'Saader' in a couple years, but for now he's 'Manchild.' It's a compliment."
What do you think of the nickname "Taser" for Jonathan Toews?
"That's pretty easy."
You probably feel the same about "Kaner"?
"Yeah, but really he's 'Kanye'"
[Smiles] "Because he's one of the best."
Does he listen to Kanye?
"I don't know. You'll have to ask him."
JONATHAN "TASER" TOEWS
How long have you been referred to as "Taser?"
"Since I walked in here. I'd never been called 'Taser' or anything to do with my last name in my life before I came to Chicago. I was always 'Johnny' or 'JT' and now it's 'Taser.' And … somehow the whole 'Captain Serious' thing came out of the woodwork, but hopefully that's very forgettable."
That one's still hanging around in here?
"Yeah, a little too much."
Is there kind of an unwritten code for assessing nicknames?
"I don't think there's really a 'code,' or anything. It's just when you have a new player come on your team, you almost feel uncomfortable calling him by his real name. You need to find something for him quick, so you can kind of initiate him and have him be one of the boys."
Who's got the most fun hockey name to say on the team?
"I like to call 'Kaner' [Patrick Kane] … 'Little Peekaboo.'
"I don't know … just because of 'PK,' that's kind of where that comes from."
Jamal Mayers says guys are starting to call Kane "Kanye" now …
" 'Kanye?' Well, we like to call 'Jammer' [Jamal Mayers] 'Jam Diggity,' too. That's my favorite one. 'Jam Diggity.' It's just like that song, 'No Diggity.' It fits 'Jammer.'"
NICK "LEDDS/LEDD DOG" LEDDY
What's the nickname guys most often call you?
"There's a few. 'Ledds' is probably the most … normal."
What are the others?
"Actually, Clint [???] calls me 'Mumbles,' and I've heard 'Sled Dog,' before—or Ledd Dog."
Best nickname on the Blackhawks?
"I like 'Car Bomb' [Dan Carcillo]. That's a good one. I've heard a couple for Saader, like 'Manchild.' I call him 'Saader,' but I'll call him 'Manchild' if I'm just joking around with him. That one's becoming real popular around here."
COREY "CROW" CRAWFORD
How long have you been called "Crow?"
"I don't know, probably since junior [hockey]."
Do you have any reference to "Crow" on your mask?
"No. I've just got feathers and a tomahawk and the logo. Pretty generic."
Best hockey name on the Blackhawks?