Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Halloween Hockey League: Zombies vs. Vampires

Happy Halloween everyone! Since this is a holiday that celebrates the ghoulish and there is a lockout, I created my own NHL Halloween league. I read somewhere that the ancient Greeks believed that redheads would become vampires, and that reminded me that during the 2012 All-Star Game, the Red Team (Team Alfie) created the Ginger Line. As I thought about it, there are a surprising number of redheads, gingers, or Day Walkers as Cartman calls them, in the NHL. In fact, you can fill an entire roster if you really try (some players may not be true gingers but have at least a reddish tinge to their hair). Here is what Team Vampire would look like:

            Left Wing                                    Center                                Right Wing
           Daniel Sedin                               Henrik Sedin                       Daniel Alfredsson
          Scott Hartnell                                Eric Staal                              Claude Giroux
     Tomas Fleischmann                    Nicklas Backstrom                      Johan Franzen
           Raffi Torres                                Jeff Halpern                            Danny Cleary

                                    Defense                                                 Goalies
          Brian Campbell             Duncan Keith                       Jimmy Howard
          Christian Ehrhoff          Marc Staal                            Cory Schneider
          Kimmo Timonen           Matt Greene                          James Reimer
          Bryan Allen                   Mike Commodore

This is a very talented team with several Stanley Cup winners and All-Stars. There are many goal-scorers, some play-makers, and scrappers. The defense has both defenseman who can score and those who are non-stat guys that can block shots and turn the puck over. The goalies are even talented. Jimmy Howard is an All-Star, and Cory Schneider is a promising franchise goaltender. Even Reimer has shown some potential. This is a complete team that would be hard to beat.

But what rival could take on this undead team? Well, Team Zombie will, of course! A zombie is described as an animated corpse. While this isn't a zombie team in the traditional sense, this is a group that has missed considerable time due to concussion issues or plain-old horrific injuries. In the NHL, what else can be closer to being dead and coming back to life than a brain injury? Here is what Team Zombie would look like:

           Left Wing                                    Center                             Right Wing
         Simon Gagne                              Sidney Crosby                      Nathan Horton
         David Perron                            Jonathan Toews                   Colby Armstrong
 Guillaume Latendresse                Pierre-Marc Bouchard              Matt D'Agostini
       Max Pacioretty                             Jochen Hecht                          Jay Beagle

                                    Defense                                                 Goalies
               Kris Letang               John-Michael Liles                  Ryan Miller
             Michael Sauer                Joni Pitkanen                       Rick DiPietro
             Keith Ballard                 Steve Montador
             Mike Mattau                  Radek Martinek

Team Zombie features the NHL's Christ-child Sidney Crosby, which will probably lead to my being struck down by lightning, but it is undeniable that he is one of the players who has lost significant playing time due to concussion issues. The team does have some stars in Horton, Toews, Gagne, Letang, Liles, and Miller. However, unlike Team Vampire, they lack the star power throughout the roster. Although when the injury reports were released which inspired jokes that it basically named an All-Star team, Team Zombie clearly does not.

If Team Vampire and Team Zombie were to face off, I would expect a 6-4 win for Team Zombie. I think Crosby would have a great game and get a couple goals and a few assists. However, the Sedin twins would probably give Miller and the defense a hard time. Hartnell and Letang might drop the gloves at some points. After all, the Vampire-Zombie rivalry would be the new Philly-Pitt rivalry. While the goaltenders will make some unbelievable saves, I think Miller would have his hands full with the Vampire roster. The lack in depth would be the fatal flaw of Team Zombie, but it will stay close and the last goals might even be an empty-netter in an attempt to force overtime. And with that, have a happy and safe Halloween!

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