My Dream Team

Originally written for Mile High Hockey.  I'm quite proud of this post.  It took me a while to write, and allowed me to flex my creative muscles.  Unfortunately, it wasn't received in as a positive a light as I was expecting, due to the addition of a single player.  Many people, it seems, refused to read it after that point.  (Disappointing but not unexpected.)
The line between a serious assertion and a joke is, you will see, at times blurred to the point that someone will be (and was) offended by what is said.

Read this mammoth of a satirical piece after the jump.

What my NHL team would look like if I could have any player I wanted:


Rick Nash / Sidney Crosby / Martin St. Louis
Ryan Smyth / Matt Duchene / Patrick Kane
Ryan O'Reilly / Jay McClement / Troy Brouwer
Todd Bertuzzi / Steve Ott / Ian Laperrière

  • You will notice the lack of an Ovie.  An Ovie, in my opinion, is not a Winner.  In order to be Winning, we need more than an Ovie on our team... we need some... Nash.  A Nash is big and fast, and can do Winning things with the puck.  With Nash, we are Winners.  Nash has also played LW and will balance the under-tall player on the other side.
  • Yeah, yeah, Sid has too many cameras surrounding him and too much propaganda bamboozling us into thinking he's the next Pavel Datsyuk.  Well, I'll tell you what: not only is he the next The Datsyuk That Did it First, he will be better than The Datsyuk That Did it First. You want him on your team.
  • I love Marty St. Louis. I don't care what people say, he's my guy next to Crosby.  He's fast, blah, blah.  He's short, yeah, yeah. He's strong, gazoogleblok.  He's electric like the socket that shocked me into short-term amnesia, yadda, yadda.  None of this matters.  What matters is this: with Ovie out and Nash in, we have plus-Winning.  Sid the Kid's Datsyuk-like super-talent makes us doubleplus-Winning.  St. Louis, now, has the heart of a raccoon.  Forget lions.  They're lazy.  Raccoons steal your food, sleep in your attic, and don't care what you try to do to stop them.  If you try to swipe a raccoon with your broom, it will bite you and then taunt you by eating that left-over cake you've been saving from your sister's wedding.  St. Louis is like a raccoon.  No, St. Louis is a raccoon.  He'll steal the puck, live in the offensive zone, and when a defenseman tries to swipe him with his stick, he'll go up, down, sideways, to the moon, back, left, behind the net, through the slot, over the referee, dish it off to Sid for another goal, and then taunt the silly defenseman by doing it all again in slo-mo and then eating his sister's left-over wedding cake on the bench with a cup of warm chocolate milk.

    Therefore, with the Nash, a Sid, and the Raccoon of St. Louis, our top line is doubleplusgood-Winning.  How good is that?  What does all that mean?  It means Don Cherry's suit will explode during the 2nd intermission of game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals, in which we try to sweep the Toronto Marlies.

    Okay, I've got you.  You're saying, "Whaaaat?"  You want to know who the Marlies are - I told you, I've got you.  It's like this:

    In 2012, the Glendale Phoenix Coyotes moved away, except not to Winnipeg or Quebec City, but the province in between their respective provinces.  Yes, Ontario.  You see, when it came to where to put the team, Gary Bettman's brain started thinking, "Okay, let's see.  Winnipeg wants a team.  Quebec City wants a team.  Hm...  okay...  okay, I've got it!  Let's give them both a team by putting the Coyotes right in between them!  So, what's the city in between Winnipeg and Quebec City?  Sault Ste. Marie?  What did you just call me?  Oh, it's on the Canada-U.S.A. border?  Even better!  Now even Americans can support them!  This is genius!"  Thus the Sault Ste. Marie Winnipegian-Québécois Coyotes were born. (Of course, you can say something crazy like Bettman merely wanted another team in Ontario, but that's just silly.)

    The reason for the Marlies is only party related.  In the Coyotes move, Detroit was shifted to the lesser Eastern Conference where they belong.  They were fine for a while, until the inevitable old age and senility settled in, resulting in the infamous Poop Shooting at Hockey Town.  The whole event is needlessly contrived and intricate, but I can sum it up for you.

    In an effort to re-kindle the old days, the Red Wings signed the retired Future Hall of Famer Chris Osgood to a two-year contract.  Osghoul, despite his infinite Awesomeness, didn't fare too well, prompting the Red Wings to cry foul in outrage.  How is it possible that Osgimp give up more than 0.000 goals per game?  I'll tell you how: cheating.  The officials, the opposing teams, Colin Campbell, Neo from the Matrix, the prime minister of Australia, even the Red Wings themselves were conspiring against Osgreat.  There was much strife in Hockey Town.  The Red Wings didn't know whom to trust, not even each other, and when Future Hall of Famer Chris Osgiliath gave up two consecutive goals in the first 4 seconds of the 1st period against the visiting Colorado Avalanche and Zdeno 'My Stick is Longer than Your Stick and I Know How to Use it' Chara, he snapped.

    Osgoose ripped his jock strap from his groin and flung it at the head of Henrik Zetterberg for losing the faceoff, and then defecated on the ice and shot the lump of faeces at Nick Lidström for not trying to block the shot hard enough.  Stinky and humiliated, Lidström refused to take this shit and started shooting faeces back at Osgoal.  Unfortunately, the will to block shots for Osgoogle so as to perpetuate the myth that he's actually a good goalie was so strong, the rest of the team started diving in front of the net.  The result was unimaginably shitty. Even more shitty than the idea of Tyler 'Feuerherz' Arnason centering a first line for you.  Can you imagine that?
    Action from the NHL was swift, taking two birds with one stone: Detroit was relegated to the AHL, thereby allowing the NHL to disassociate itself from the colossal terror that was Red Wings poop-shooting hockey, and the AHL's Toronto Marlies were promoted to the NHL, thereby placating the millions of Toronto-area fans that had been clamouring for an actual NHL team of their own.

    Understand now?  I got you.  We should all mourn the loss of Don Cherry's suit, for it would ultimately never witness what turned out to be the greatest period in the history of not just hockey, but periods in general.
  • Onwards to the second line.  When the Oilers were in the Finals that one time (remember? Yeah, they were good once) Smyth and Roloson were the reason I didn't mind them.  Pounding the Red Wings as an eighth-seed made them my team for those playoffs.  I've always liked Smyth's game and was bummed to see him go east, but when I heard he was an Av, WOW.  He was the guy I wanted in the maroon burgundy and blue; seeing it happen was like a dream come true.
    Okay, sentimental part aside, Smyth does the job we've been whining about all year: he drives into the crease and switches his skates to PARK.
  • With the veteran Smyth pestering the goalie, Duchene 'n' Kane can get busy. They'll be having their way with the back of the net all night lawng.  I like the idea of the Duchene 'n' Kane tandem growing together under the mentorship of Smyth.
  • Third line.  McClement's reputation is known.  He is the central piece of our shutdown line that will eliminate the opposing team's top line.  Next to him is the young'n he will mentor, Ryan O'Reilly.  When Jay moves on, O'Reilly, I feel, will have the combination of face-off domination, accuracy, defensive awareness, and leadership to effectively take over for him and occasionally contribute to the scoring lines.  I also see an Alternate Captain in his future.
  • On the other side is Troy Brouwer, who is young, big, good defensively, and able to score if given the chance.  Now, all he needs to do is learn how to skate.
  • Fourth Line.  Okay, I hate Steve Ott, you hate Steve Ott, the Steve Ott Wikipedia page has this to say about Steve Ott: "Steve Ott (born August 19, 1982) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player, an alternate captain of the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL). The San Jose Sharks fans favor him especially. They worship at his beautiful feet."  So, even Steve Ott's Wikipedia page trolls people. This is why you need Steve Ott.  Steve Ott will do what Steve Ott does in that Steve Ott way to get the has opposing team off its game while our top lines pick them apart. Steve Ott!

  • Countering the bad mojo of Ott, we have the sheer Awesomeness of Lappy.  His career may be on the edge of forever ending, but since we're being hypothetical, we have a leader, all-around good guy, and stander upper for'r teammate...r.
  • Finally, rounding out our forwards is a truly great team player.  With Ott yapping and slashing all game long, the opposing team will eventually crack and start looking for retribution and someone to hit.  Bertuzzi, the great team player that he is, will be that someone.  It's a perfect system: Ott yaps, Laperrière protects the stars, and Bertuzzi is there is accept the opposing team's anger and frustration with his face.  Every team needs a Koci.  Bertuzzi is our Koci.

Zdeno Chara / Shea Weber
Chris Pronger / Erik Johnson
Nicklas Lidström / Erik Gudbranson

  • Chara shoots left, Weber shoots right; Weber shoots hard, Chara shoots harder.  With so many would-be blockers running for their lives, what could possibly go wrong?
  • Pronger is mean, dirty, and the perfect mentor for Erik.  I can hear some people complaining about that dirtiness, but who doesn't want the grit?  Imagine Johnson playing like he did in that first game against St. Louis, but meaner, angrier, and with blazing eyes every time he sees an opposing player enter his zone.  (Too bad younger Footer isn't here to take Pronger's place.)  Now, stop drooling on my shoes, please.
  • Gudbranson is a gud prospect, with size, grit, and toughness.  He also has a quality I want in all (or most) of my other players: leadership.  What he's missing, however, is a mentor to show him the ropes. Now, I know, I know, Lidström should be playing in the AHL with the rest of those silly, old Red Wings, but shortly after the Poop Shooting at Hockey Town, he contacted me, saying:

    "Mr. Binary, I am so ashamed.  These Red Wings, they have brainwashed me.  I have tried to fight it - so much so that whenever I see the colour red, my stomach compels my bowels to hang loose like a lazy monkey.  That is why I started shooting that, um, you know.  You see, I couldn't take it any longer. That Osgumbo, he's no good, but everywhere I go, I hear people telling me how good he is.  Why is that, Mr. Binary?  Where is my adulation and where is my credit for making Osgallbladder look so good?  I block so many shots for him and make so many great defensive plays, if I were to also wear a goalie helmet, I, too, would look like a goalie.  This is not fair, Mr. Binary.  I am tired, and so embarrassed that I finally lost my ability to control my revulsion every time I wear this red uniform.  Please, sir, save me from this cruel fate.  They have trapped me.  If I have to look into the eyes of Chris Chelios' ghost, my defensive partner, as you know, one more time, I may die.  Literally, die. Maybe it is because Chris Chelios' ghost has no soul, maybe it's because I'm afraid of ghosts, but I tell you, I will fall over and never see the light of day again.  Yet even that will be better than another day wearing that horrible red.  So, please do something, I will play any position.  Even goalie, because I have shown I am better at it than Chris OsgodhowmanymoretimesdoIhavetomakeanalternateversionofhisname, which makes me average, at the very least.  I will even play on the 3rd line and mentor that young player, Goodbrandson, or whatever his name is.  Please, Mr. Binary, make it happen!"

    How could I say no?  So, I traded a lock of Steve Yzerman's hair for Lidström and saved him from a fate worse than death.  He still thanks me to this day, but I didn't do it for love, Lidström is a great player and the perfect man to teach the young Gudbranson the art of defense.

    Ryan Miller
    Miikka Kiprusoff

    • Don't need to explain the Miller pick.  They guy's a Winner and will give us much Winning.
    • I may get some flak for picking Kipper over someone like Fleury, but I can't help but admire the way he plays and understands the game.  Having him in front of the net would help the Avs immensely - not because he's good, but because he'd work with the defensemen and help them play better first.  A good defense is just as helpful as a good goalie, after all.
    Well, that's my team.  It's not the typical look of a team composed of all the "best" players, but it fulfills my idea of what a functional team should look like.  Each player fills a role on the team and many are leaders.  There's also the balance of experience and youth.  It's great to have a team full of can-do-anything exuberance, but young players tend to be mentally weak and easily molded by negative experiences.  If my team loses some games, I want the veterans to be there for the youngsters, to prevent the possible long-term damage that sometimes arises when young teams face losing situations.  Even if the veterans don't produce as much as a younger counterpart would, veteran leadership (and the idea of "passing the torch") is something I value highly.  It's extremely important and worth pursuing just as much as stats.  Conversely, we don't want a bunch of Red Wings, so in cases like Brouwer, I picked youth over the more experienced Daniel Alfredsson.  Alfredsson fit the role better, but presented less value than the decade-younger Brouwer.

    There is also the fact that O'Reilly at wing isn't ideal.  No team is exactly perfect, so neither is mine. I weighted the option of a star defensive left wing or O'Reilly, and picked the player I felt I needed to have.  O'Reilly is everything a coach wants in a player.  He's what players want in a teammate, too.  Ryan will be great one day, but it will be because of the head on his shoulders, not just the snap in his wrist.  I'm taking the risk that he will be what I envision in the future over the guaranteed success of now.  Additionally, McClement is a great resource to have for a young player in a similar position.  I decided to exploit that resource and have him mentor O'Reilly rather than just play alongside someone else.

    The one player I'd put on the Avs is tricky.  I want the Raccoon of St. Louis and his veteran savviness, but Nash and Kane present better long-term value.  Pick your poison.

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