The 2017-18 Pittsburgh Penguins & Their Star Wars Counterparts
Ohhh my, it's Star Wars time, everybody. The Stormtroopers are out and so are the nerds lining up to sit in a body-odored filled theater with other nerds. Just think - the Star Wars galaxy is the same galaxy that just purchased the eff out of 20th Century Fox (Hello, monopoly!) Evil empire, indeed.
Parker Brother games themed with capitalism aside, Star Wars is a great American franchise. And guess what? So are our Pittsburgh Penguins. That's why last year during May The 4th, I made a few comparisons of the Star Wars characters to our local hockey club.
Well, with the roster and coaching staff shifted a little bit and so do the comparisons. Let's hope 2017 is another victory for....
And if you think I'm ripping on nerds, I can because I am one. I'm going to The Last Jedi tonight and I write weekly about sports and don't get paid for it (yet) so I'd like to think I fit both categories.
Need further proof of my dork cred? Just take a look at when I compared the 2017 Pirates' Opening Day lineup to the X-Men.
Complete full-blown nerd.
So here we go, for the second time I give you The Pittsburgh Penguins and their Star Wars Rebellion (or Resistance) counterparts.
(Disclaimer: Some of these characters may not line up perfectly when it comes to their storyline or hockey relationships, but we are comparing a sport played on ice to fictional dudes with lasers in space, sooo....)
Sidney Crosby as Luke Skywalker
Let's get the obvious one out of the way: Sid as Luke makes as much sense as the young Skywalker having to leave his home planet of Tatooine. A talent like that just can't not lead a team to greatness farming on his uncle's land, jabbing with Jawas and shit. Like Sid, Luke can pretty much do anything: he's got unbelievable Jedi skills, can pilot an X-Wing and do it all short-handed (if you smell what I'm stepping in) - talk about versatility. Plus he's been under the tutelage of many a fine Jedi Master, which leads to....
Mario Lemieux as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan showed Luke the space hermit ways by taking him under his wing and showing him the ways of The Force. Sidney was drafted by the Pens, crashed on Mario's couch for a couple years and played alongside him until it was time for Le Manifique to hang up the skates. Both also follow the same career path: kick ass, retire for awhile, then come back and kick more ass. Without Mario, there would be no Pittsburgh Penguins and without Obi-Wan, there would be no Rebel Alliance.
Patric Hornqvist as Wedge Antilles
They may not be on the same line, but Sidney and the skating Swede sure have the ability to pilot their own respective trio. Wedge & Luke flew X-Wings together and Sid & Hornqvist were both drafted together (Sid first overall in 2005 and Horny last overall in 2005). Those two will always have that bond.
Evgeni Malkin as Han Solo
Luke and Sidney may be in the leading role, but who is the Hand to their King (to add another nerd reference into the mix)? Han and Geno, my friends. Malkin could certainly take the reigns manning his own team (kind of like Han is flying solo with his own movie), but he chooses to hang with the crew he got his start with. Han was gonna hightail it after his smuggling droid and human cargo duties were done, but when force push came to shove look who decided to stick around?
And it goes without saying that Geno definitely shot first.
Phil Kessel as Chewbacca
There's three things that make Phil comparable to the galaxy's most infamous wookie: (1) both are an intimidating presence whether they are rolling on the ice or infiltrating enemy grounds, (2) each have a considerable amount of hair on their face and (3) either could house a hot dog like it's nobody's business.
Murray & Jarry as R2-D2 & BB-8
So how can a couple of spruced up trash cans be compared to the two goaltenders playing arguably most important role on the ice? These droids equally play a vital role to the Rebellion in that they gather information (like goalies gather pucks) and that they save their human (and wookie) counterparts from danger time after time (like Jarry and Murray save games).
Jake Guentzel as Rey
Same line as Sid? Rey under the tutelage of Luke? Rey's quick, Guentzel's quick. Definitely Jedi/Padwan material.
Conor Sheary as Finn
Both newcomers to the game, Sheary and Finn kind of came out of nowhere to their teams; Finn was a former stormtrooper in the First Order and Sheary went undrafted, but both show great potential with their abilities (Finn with a lightsaber and Conor with a hockey stick). Both are also good looking cats too, so they've got that going for them, which is nice.
Bryan Rust as Poe Dameron
Rusty is one of the young guns on the Pens' roster and Poe has the skills and style for a young gun on The Resistance. The best pilot in the galaxy is high praise, but at the very least Rust and Poe are both fan favs.
Ryan Reaves as Boba Fett
Okay, Boba Fett - totally not apart of the Rebel Alliance. As a matter of fact, he was a hired gun for Darth and the boys, but if we're going to compare Reaves to anybody how can it not be a bounty hunter?
Kris Letang as Wicket W. Warrick
Kris Letang as an ewok may be considered a slap in the face to the man's star power and talent, but this is all coming from the perspective of marketability. Who gets the engines revving of the female Pens fans? Letang. Who's considered "cute" by Star Wars fans? The ewoks. Plus, who helped defend the Rebels when they were down on their luck? These furry little bastards.
Mike Sullivan as Admiral Ackbar
I think this one is quite clear. Ackbar has a solid reputation of leading Rebel soldiers into battle while Sullivan has been successful leading and developing his team (young and old) into the force that they are. You could totally hear Sully yelling "It's a trap!" too (I mean, just look at that photo).
Jaromir Jagr as Lando Calrissian
Lando was old buddies with the Alliance until they were bamboozled by him and his love for the old dollar sign. It's a known fact that Jagr's a hockey mercenary for hire, so he fits the Lando bill pretty appropriately, but he's also still loved by the Steel City and Lando did end up playing for the good guys again. Each have their own unique sense of style too - Jaromir with his signature mullet and Lando with his Frank Constanza's lawyer cape and bell-bottoms.
MEMBERS OF THE DARK SIDE
Alexander Ovechkin as Darth Vader
Clearly not Sidney's father, Ovechkin is just the Pens most infamous foe. Let's hope we end his bid for supremacy in the next game (or two...or three) and sent him back to Emperor Palpatine's putting greens.
Conor McDavid as Kylo Ren
The newest top rival to Sid and the crew, Kylo's the big new threat to The Resistance. Don't be deceived by either's pubescent appearance, they can MDK you real good.
Claude Giroux as Jar Jar Binks
Although not actually apart of the Dark Side, Jar Jar might as well be being one of the most reviled characters in Star Wars lore and just like Giroux, his presence shouldn't be taken seriously.
Gary Bettman as Supreme Leader Snoke
Just like Emperor Palpatine, Snoke oversees the Dark Side of the First Order. Bettman is the commish who doesn't give a damn about the well-being of his stars. And just like Snoke, Bettman probably would prefer to make appearances in holographic form.