The 2016 Pittsburgh Penguins & Their Rebel Alliance (Resistance) Counterparts
As I write this our Pittsburgh Penguins are up 3-1 against those President Trophy winning fraudulents, the Washington Capitals. Crosby is out with another concussion after getting his head leveled off by the coward Matt Niskanen and Letang has been ruled out for the rest of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (and for quite a while after). Thankfully, the Penguinos are a bunch of scrappers - they band together and get things done (even with a little luck bestowed on them last night) kind of reminds me of a certain "rebellion" that banded together "A long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away":
Oh yeah, did I mention that it's Star Wars Day aka May the Fourth, which is like the all-out "nerds go nuts" day on Facebook by posting puns, pictures of self-cosplay or shaming their dog/young child with a pair of Yoda ears? Coincidentally, May the Fourth is also the day where all the non-Star Wars nerds get irrationally mad and passive aggressive on Facebook with mean-spirited memes and sarcastic posts mocking said nerds/(fake) friends. What a glorious day of unity May The Fourth brings. Good tidings to you and whatever galaxy you roam.
Well, guess what? It does unify one thing: Star Wars fandom and sports fandom, both, in their own regard, are nerdy things to be obsessed with.
Oh wait, what's that you say? Sports fans aren't nerds? Can you name the batting order of the 1991 Pittsburgh Pirates? If you can, ballin', but let's face it, it's also hella nerdy. And what else is more dorky than wearing a jersey of someone who possesses more athletic prowess than you and is 10 years younger?
I fit both categories. I own a Crosby shirt, a Cervelli shirt, both of whom I'm a year or two older than, and I have two Han Solo tees. Need further proof? Just take a look at when I compared the Pirates' Opening Day lineup to the X-Men.
Complete full-blown nerd.
So in honor of the Pens' "fun so far" playoff run and that it is May The Fourth, 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.
Chris Kunitz as Wedge Antilles
Kunitz may have been an Anaheim Duck before he moved to colder pastures, but he rides high in Pens black and gold for years now as Sid's co-pilot, and Wedge Antilles is Luke's loyal flying buddy. Skilled in the ways of piloting, Wedge along with Luke was the only two X-Wing pilots to survive the attack on the Death Star.
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.
Fleury & Murray 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 Fleury and Murray save games).
Jake Guentzel as Poe Dameron
We've only seen a glimmer of what Poe's role will play in the Star Wars galaxy, but we do know he's got the speed down pat with them fly-ass X-Wing skills. Guentzel's speed is notorious on the ice and has so far shown that this playoff season by leading the league in playoff goals.
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.
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).
Mark Recchi as Qui-Gon Jinn, Bill Guerin as Yoda & Rick Tocchet as Mace Windu
This is all coming from a played with Sid/now coaching (or GMing) perspective and instead of any of the three being dead, they're all just retired. I chose Recchi as Qui-Gon despite in no way did he mentor Lemieux (other way around if anything), but he along with Mario were the first vets to lace up the skates with the padwan known as Crosby. Guerin's Yoda because after Mario retired, Wild Bill (along with Gary Roberts) took up the mentoring mantle and although Tocchet's never played with Sid (like Mace never met Luke) his Jedi legacy lives on through the current team. You could throw Gonchar in this mix too but I was running out of picture space and note-worthy enough Jedi.
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.
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.