NHL – National Hockey Literally
While growing up and forcing my eyeballs to consume as much sports as possible, I often caught myself in reverie wondering what it would be like if a team’s moniker was more than just that. What if a team was literally its’ nickname or logo and how would that translate to their performance? Let’s take a look at how the NHL would fare and see who emerges victorious in these literal interpretations.
Competitors: Sharks/Canucks – A duel of epic proportions between two of the largest species on Earth. Whales are the gentle giants of the seas, dwarfing sharks in size and stature, but sharks are renowned for their unmitigated ferociousness.
Arena: Ring of Fire – They’ll be dodging earthquakes and volcanic eruptions left, right and center.
Victor: Canucks – The Sharks are all offense which isn’t enough to surpass the whales’ massive defense, allowing the whales to pot a couple quick goals in transition.
Competitors: Oilers/Flames/Devils – Explosions. Explosions everywhere. A fiery matchup between three squads who should not be in the same room together.
Arena: The Gates of Hell – The entrance to the underworld.
Victor: Devils – The Oilers were too slow to keep up, and while the Flames moved quickly, they proved no match for the cunning Devils who outsmarted both teams with their zone traps and god-like talent. Also, home ice (fire) advantage.
Competitors: Kings/Senators – A match which recalls the rivalry between the military king and the judicial king in ancient Sparta’s oligarchy government. Leonidas vs. Leotychidas.
Arena: Thermopylae – the famous location of the battle featured in the movie 300.
Victor: Kings – The Senators are cunning and tactful, but the brute force of the Kings is too much to handle as they deliver bone-shattering checks and powerful slap shots.
Competitors: Islanders/Blues – For the sake of this article, and because I had difficulty matching these two with anyone else, I have chosen to interpret this as a battle of who makes less money: fisherman or R&B artists.
Arena: 1930’s Atlantic City – it’s the dirty thirties, the Great Depression, and while everyone is struggling for money, who is struggling more than these two?
Victor: Islanders – Imagine a grisly scene, like the final episode in a season of Boardwalk Empire. The game ends in a bench-clearing brawl and the fisherman come out on top because they’re rugged and they’ve got that “I’ve seen some stuff” look on their tormented faces.
Competitors: Rangers/Blue Jackets/Blackhawks – Dubbed “Tex’s Rangers” after Tex Rickard founded the team in 1926, the team borrows its name from a Confederate war regiment named Terry’s Texas Rangers. The Blue Jackets are a tribute to Ohio’s contribution to the Union army. We got ourselves a Civil War reenactment on ice folks! And don’t forget the Natives, they aided whoever was convenient at the time.
Arena: Fort Sumter – Where it all began.
Victor: Blackhawks – While the Blue Jackets and Rangers duke it out, the Blackhawks hide in the shadows and strike when the moment is right.
Competitors: Flyers/Red Wings – Our first of two airborne bouts. These logos, both fairly simple, leave much to the imagination. Since Philadelphia is just the wing, we’ll have to resort to using Pennsylvania’s state bird: the ruffed grouse. Detroit on the other hand is half avian-beast and half wheeled machine.
Arena: Catatumbo, Venezuela – where lightning strikes 40 000 times a night. That should make for a difficult environment for a winged match.
Victor: The hybrid Red Wings are too strong for the dainty grouse, easily knocking them off the puck and denying entry into their end. Effortless win.
Competitors: Coyotes/Predators/Panthers/Bruins – An all-out battle royale between the league’s four most (and foremost) vicious contestants.
Arena: Coliseum – Because of course.
Victor – Predators: It’s hard to decide who out of these ferocious beasts is the ferocious…est. Coyotes are sly – they’ll score sneaky wraparounds. Bruins barge their way through defense. Panthers are of the speedy persuasion. But the Predators, they seem to have the whole package. Maybe it’s because their moniker is menacingly vague, or maybe it’s because their logo is saber-toothed. Either way, challengers beware.
Competitors: Ducks/Jets – Our second of two airborne battles – this one featuring another unbalanced match between nature and machine.
Arena: Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport – The airport is the site of the Canadian International Airshow, the largest gathering of jets in Canada, as well as a breeding ground for pesky Mallards (the airport is located right on Lake Ontario).
Victor: Nobody – No one wins this battle. You may be shocked to hear the Jets were unable to bowl over the miniscule Ducks and win by a landslide, but the Ducks were more than willing to sacrifice themselves by flying into the engines. Everybody died.
Competitors: Hurricanes/Lightning – This is a battle of epic proportions between two beasts of nature, reminiscent of the Greek Titans
Arena: Thessaly – Where the Titanomachy (War of the Titans) took place.
Victor: Hurricanes – The Lightning were only capable of quick strikes, showing flashes of brilliance with fantastic dangles and snap-shot goals top corner, but the Hurricanes had the full package. They pack an offensive punch as well as a defensive barricade surpassable by none.
Competitors: Penguins/Avalanche – Well, obviously. Penguins and Avalanches are basically the only things in Antarctica.
Arena: Antarctica – Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
Victor: Penguins – You might think the Avalanche would win by a landslide, but the Penguins have one major thing going for them: sentience. Avalanches are all offence, leaving the patient, sneaky Penguins to score countless goals on the non-existent defense.
Competitors: Capitals/Wild – Civilization vs. primitivity. The city vs. the jungle. Order vs. chaos. An age-old battle decided after millennia by a hockey game.
Arena: Manaus, Brazil – A place where the city and the jungle meet in unprecedented ways. Two million people living densely by the Amazon.
Victor: Wild – Nature always wins. Civilizations, rich in prospects and youthful talent, come and go. But the wild always remains, constantly producing a threat and continually evolving with time.
Competitor: Stars/Sabres – Ninjas vs. Pirates. Yes, I am choosing to interpret stars as shurikens (throwing stars).
Arena: The Octagon – Who wouldn’t want to see a ninja and a pirate in a cage?
Victor: Ninja – The pirates can hold their own against the surreptitious ninjas, sporting a brutish team who can score goals from their strength alone, but the ninjas are just too darn sneaky. One second you think you have a breakaway, the next a ninja materializes from nowhere, steals the puck and does fourteen front flips before roofing it and then disappearing again.
Competitors: Canadiens/Maple Leafs – Partly because they wouldn’t really match with anyone else, and partly because I couldn’t resist, I had to pair them together. It’s a border battle of French vs. English, Quebec vs. Ontario.
Arena: St. Lawrence River – It makes too much sense not to have a good old fashioned hockey game on a frozen river shared by these two provinces.
Victor: Everybody – Of course I’m going that route. We’re all winners for having been able to watch two great provinces play the greatest game in the world. If I chose a winner I’d be receiving death threats.