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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hockey After Dark: Night Three, April 14 by @DXTraeger

"...where Insomnia Hits the Ice"
(Welcome to "Hockey After Dark," a late-night recap of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Topics will include scores, injuries, controversies, the Twitter-verse, and random jokes at the expense of the Philadelphia Flyers)

Night three of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs was night number two for the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Friday was also the release date of the amazeballs teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie, "The Last Jedi."

(go watch it.  seriously.  then come back, read this, and then geek out with me in the Comments or at my Twitter handle, @DXTraeger)

Since I am nothing if but a consumer whore of all things "Star Wars," I decided to recap tonight's PIT/CBJ game by associating Penguins players with their obvious (duh) Star Wars counterparts.


Watching the Penguins win by staying focused and avoiding the shenanigans that led to the Great Debacle of 2012 is incredibly refreshing, and a testament to both team leadership and coaching.

Columbus clearly entered the series thinking about those 2012 Pittsburgh Penguins, and through two games, every attempt to knock the Penguins off of their game has failed.  In particular, Evgeni Malkin's goal early in the third period came a mere second after Brandon Dubinsky left the penalty box.

Dubinsky was in the "sin bin" for his part in post-whistle shenanigans at the end of the second period, and while not a power-play goal, Malkin's first goal of the post-season was undoubtedly a product of the man advantage.

Scott Hartnell, like Dubinsky, has desperately tried to encroach the Penguins, and will hopefully get a little league attention for a brutal blow to the back of Crosby's head.  The amount of ice time Hartnell has seen relative to his actual production is staggering, and is an indictment of Tortorella's stubborn insistence on gooning things up instead of putting his best players on the ice.

I promised you some Star Wars/Penguins comparisons, so here are a few of my (terrible) photoshops:

I can definitely imagine Sid rocking those boots.
Sidney Crosby as Obi-Wan Kenobi:

While Crosby would need the staff of ILM to work overtime to give him a beard reminiscent of Ewan McGregor's in the "Star Wars" prequels, the idea of Sid teaching Sheary and Guentzel the ways of the Kid is appropriate at both ends of the metaphor.

Sid is a natural leader (you hear that, Jonathan Toews?), and would undoubtedly be a wizard with a light saber, given that Obi-Wan was personally responsible in the dispatching of three of the prequels five main villains (Darth Maul, General Grievous, and ultimately Anakin Skywalker), unofficially making Mr. Kenobi worlds better than Master Yoda (0-for-2, lost to Count Dooku and Emperor Palpatine). 


Evgeni Malkin as Chewbacca:

This is pretty straightforward: tall, strong, deadly, and you can't understand a word of what he says.

All jokes aside, Chewbacca has got to be like 150 years old and shows absolutely no signs of showing down (although he did get wounded in "The Force Awakens").

The fact that Chewbacca hangs around the jokester Han Solo also seems to mirror Geno's somewhat legendary sense of humor.

While Malkin lacks the panache of Chewbacca's magically overpowered cross-bow, who can forget the time that Malkin scored a playoff goal against Philadelphia by taking a point-blank slapshot while on a breakaway?  That's force over style, baby.

And finally...

See, I told you I sucked at Photoshop.
Conor Sheary as Rey; or, "Conor Shearey:"

Anybody who saw "The Force Awakens" will agree that Rey is an absolute pint-sized bad ass.

From living & surviving on her own to staring down Kylo Ren not once, but twice... being a wunderkind pilot and heir apparent to the Millennium Falcon (perhaps in more way than one...?!)..., finally, having the gall & moxie to embrace the Force despite her fears.

Rey is emblematic of Sheary, and vice-versa, because both of them seemingly came from nothing (Rey is alone, Sheary was undrafted), and both of them overcame in immediate moments of challenge on the grandest of scales with everything on the (first) line.

The Penguins are but two games into the Stanley Cup Playoff fray, but they're also two games closer to repeating as champion.  14 more wins, boys!

May the Force be with you.

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