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Monday
Sep262011

Your 2011-12 Chicago Blackhawks Season Preview and Harry Potter Extravaganza 

This is exciting isn't it?  The evil summer burned hot and bright and even now it is giving way to chill mornings.  Soon, small crinkles of ice will start to form at the edges of autumn puddles and the scent of wet, dying leaves will fill the air.  These signs point like blinking neon arrows to one thing: the start of a new hockey season.

First, the disclaimers (it helps if you read it real fast like the disclaimers in a boner pill commercial).

Are you looking for astute analysis of what we might expect from the Hawks' power play this year?  Possible line combinations?  An in depth discussion about the number two center position?  What prospects to keep an eye on? Then you are in the wrong fucking place.  Go HERE, HERE or HERE if you are looking for that type of thing.  Those people know a hell of a lot more about hockey than me.

If you are trying to figure out which Hawks player most closely matches up with Ginny Weasley from the Harry Potter universe (Ben Smith) then you have found the right blog.  I suppose there is a remote possibility that these comparisons might provide some insight into the upcoming season but again, I must caution you that this blog trades on nonsensical bullshit, not sharp insight. You have been warned.

I've only done ten matches here.  If there is any positive feedback on this post maybe I can try to do some more before the season starts.  Anyway, enjoy.

To set the mood, I suggest watching/listening to this:

So! without further ado, please allow me to present some very sketchy comparisons between fictional characters from children's books and professional ice hockey players!

Jonathan Toews is...

Hermione Granger

Why?: A lot of the reason is because they are both huge dorks.  But also they are the glue that holds their respective groups together.  Hermione/Tazer keep everyone focused on the task at hand. 

You might think that Tazer should be Harry because they are both the main characters in their stories but Harry, unlike Tazer and Hermione, is very erratic and ends up off on his own a lot of the time, getting into tight spots.  Hermione/Tazer are logical, calculating and relentless.  Harry just doesn't fit here.

No one will ever out-work, out-study, out-practice Hermione/Tazer.  When your wand arm is starting to get tired after swishing and flicking while chanting "Wengardium Leviosa" over and over, Hermione is just getting into her groove.  When you are done with your workout and going out to grab a beer with Ovie and the guys, Tazer is loading more weight onto the bar for ten more sets of power squats.

On the downside, Hermione/Tazer are perfectionists, teachers' pets, are anal retentive to the point of annoyance and have below average to poor social skills.

Tazer's Patronus: A loaf of Wonder Bread

The Money Quote: Sirius [To Hermione]: "You really are the brightest witch of your age."

 *********************************************************************

Patrick Kane is...

Harry Potter

Why?: Although Harry is the hero of the story he, like Kaner, is not without his flaws.  Harry/Kaner are temperamental, impulsive and have tendencies to want to improvise on their own.  Of course most of those unpleasant character traits tend to emerge when Harry/Kaner are under the greatest pressure.

The pressures for both can be attributed to the enormous expectations placed upon them.  To meet these expectations both Kaner and Potter have been gifted with enormous powers that they do not always spend as much time developing as they should.

In Potter's case he is pretty damn lazy about his magic.  He is no Hermione when it comes to studying.  For the most part, Harry only learns what he needs to learn when he needs to learn it.  Similarly, Kaner seems to have gotten by thus far (and in his defense, achieved a great deal) in his career with his raw talent.

This off-season and pre-season, Kaner has said that he expects to take the next step into the elite tier of players in the NHL.  This will be Kaner's fifth year in the NHL.  Harry spent most of his fifth year at Hogwarts trying to prove he was not a liar.  That fifth year ended with an epic duel in the Department of Mysteries between Voldemort and Dumbledore, the result of which was that Harry was vindicated in his proclamations regarding the return of he-who-shall-not-be-named.

Hawks fans will be hoping this season that Kaner is proven right in his predictions about taking the next step in his career.

UPDATE: Apparently the Hawks are going to try Kaner at center. This sounds like it will work out about as well as Snape teaching legilimency to Potter.

Kaner's Patronus: An empty can of PBR.

The Money Quote: Dumbledore [To Harry]: "You do care," said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. "You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it."

*********************************************************************

Patrick Sharp is...

Ronald Weasley

Why?: Because Sharp and Ron Weasley are both the third wheels on their respective lines and provide comic relief when necessary.

Sometimes you forget they're out there but then you look up and Sharpy's snuck down on the back side of the power play and blasted a puck by your ear for a goal or in Ron's case, won you a very important game of chess when you didn't think he even knew how to play checkers.

Through a lot of the early books Ron struggles with being portrayed as Harry's sidekick and is always trying to emerge from that shadow.  As the story continues Ron becomes more and more independent and sure of himself.

In his own way Sharpie has been taking on more responsibilities the longer he has been on the Hawks.  He wears an "A" and the money Sharpie got paid in his new contract this off season definitely said "You are not a sidekick".

Both guys are integral to their teams goals although sometimes we tend to forget that.

Sharp's Patronus: The Picasso statue in Daley Plaza

The Money Quote: "Look," said Hermione patiently, "it’s always you who gets all the attention, you know it is. I know it’s not your fault," she added quickly, seeing Harry open his mouth furiously. "I know you don’t ask for it ... but – well – you know, Ron’s got all those brothers to compete against at home, and you’re his best friend, and you’re really famous – he’s always shunted to one side whenever people see you, and he puts up with it, and he never mentions it, but I suppose this is just one time too many...."

*********************************************************************

Marian Hossa is...

Severus Snape

Why?: Because they are the most fascinating characters in their respective stories.  The whole Potter series hinges on what we, the readers, think about Snape.  And when his tale finally unravels in the last book all you could do was sit back and say "wow".

I can't tell you how many times Hossa has made me say "wow"" while watching him.  Sometimes he makes the game look so damn easy, like he is playing two or three levels above everyone else on the ice.  At the same time, Snape is playing his own games two or three levels deep as a double or even a triple agent.

What is Hossa going to produce this year?  It's a question mark wrapped in an enigma, just like Snape.  I wouldn't be surprised if he scored 15 or 45 goals, anything in between is possible.  Can the dude just stay healthy for the whole season? He seems to get hurt more often than Potter is in detention.

What team is Snape/Hossa on?  It can be hard to say.  Ottawa, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Death Eaters, Dumbledore's Army?  He's been on all of them at one point or another. 

Where do Hossa's loyalties lie?  Non-Hawks fans would probably tell you with his wallet, but the truth is that the only thing he was ever chasing was a championship. 

In the end, both men ended up on the teams they should have been on all along but it took many twists and turns for each to arrive there.

Hossa's Patronus: A Rock 'em Sock 'em Robot

The Money Quote: "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of hockey potionmaking," he began.  I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses ... I can teach you how to dangle bottle fame, snipe brew glory, even be a boss stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."

(Quick side note: Alan Rickman is awesome.)

 ********************************************************************* 

Andrew Brunette is...

Dobby the Elf

Why?: Dobby and Brunette were both trapped in a bad situations. Dobby was bound in magical slavery to the Malfoy family and Brunette was stuck on some broke-ass teams in Minnesota.  Thankfully, both gained their freedom.  Dobby via a sock and Brunette via free agency.

Dobby made a true friend in Harry. Hawks fans are expecting a similar affinity and chemistry to develop between Brunette and potential line mates Tazer and Kaner.

Brunette's Patronus: A brown clip-on tie (serviceable, boring, schlubby).

The Money Quote: Harry [To Dobby]: "But why don't you leave? Escape?" Dobby [To Harry]: "A house-elf must be set free, sir. And the family will never set Dobby free...Dobby will serve the family until he dies, sir."

 *********************************************************************

 Daniel Carcillo is...

Bellatrix Lestrange

Why?: Because, admit it, if you were a Death Eater you would love to have Bellatrix on your team.  Batshit cray-cray? Yes. Yes to the Nth degree.  But she's nasty.  Nasty to the core.  Totally committed to winning at whatever the cost, she'll go toe-to-toe with anyone you want to throw out there (she did kill Sirius after all).

Is Carcillo going to end up being a circus act? We don't know yet.  Could be.  But like Bellatrix, he brings some skills along with his nuttiness.  Dude can actually score a little bit.

The bottom line is that you love to play with 'em, hate to play against 'em.

Carcillo's Patronus: A can of Skoal

The Money Quote: "Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy? You need to mean them Potter! You need to really want to cause pain -- to enjoy it -- righteous anger won't hurt me for long -- I'll show you how it is done, shall I? I'll give you a lesson --"

*********************************************************************

Viktor Stalberg is..

Cedric Diggory

Why? Cuz they're both so hawt, right?  Yeah, pretty much.  Just pandering to 15 year-old girl demographic with this one.

Do they actually have anything is common?  Well, they both seem pretty Boy Scout-ish (forthright, honest, brave, loyal, etc., etc.) which is just about the definition of a Hufflepuff isn't it?

For Viktor's sake, let's all pray that he isn't killed in a hedge-maze like Cedric because that would be a pretty lame way for a hockey player to go out.

Viktor's Patronus: A Ken doll

The Money Quote: "He [Harry] had been starting to quite like Cedric - prepared to overlook the fact that he had once beaten him at Quidditch and was handsome and popular and nearly everyone's favourite champion. Now he suddenly realised Cedric was in fact a useless pretty-boy who didn't have enough brains to fill an eggcup.”

*********************************************************************

Duncan Keith is...

Remus Lupin

Why?: Because they are both veterans with two sides to their personalities.  Two years ago, Keith was the best defenseman in the NHL.  Last year he was...not.

Professor Lupin is simultaneously a very good wizard and a werewolf.  As a man, Lupin is a kind and wise mentor to Harry.  It is Lupin who teaches Harry how to protect himself against Dementors.  As a werewolf, he has no control over his actions and only desires to bite or kill.

So which Keith are we to get this year?  The wise and kindly Lupin or the dog-breath werewolf?

Keith's Patronus: A Loonie (because it has two faces you see)

The Money Quote: "My transformations in those days were -- were terrible. It is very painful to turn into a werewolf..."

(Quick Side Note: David Thewlis is awesome.)

 *********************************************************************

Dave Bolland is...

Neville Longbottom

Why?: Because they are both easily overlooked by some of the bigger names around them but have a knack for being in the right place at the right time and coming up big when it counts (for Bolland, in the playoffs; for Longbottom when he pulled Gryffindor's sword from the sorting hat).

Bolland's Patronus: A burning oil well

The Money Quote: Ron: "Blimey, Neville, there's a time and a place for getting a smart mouth."

Neville: "You didn't see her.  You wouldn't have stood it either.  The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope."

 *********************************************************************

The Vancouver Canucks are...

Lord Voldemort

Why?: Because only one can live while the other survives. 

There is no better rivalry in the NHL than between the Blackhawks and Canucks.  The Hawks are good, the Canucks are evil, it's as simple as that.  The Canucks piss, moan, bitch, complain, flop, dive, riot, bite and pull hair.  Basically what you would expect from a pack of cowardly losers and someone who would split his soul into bits.

Canucks' Patronus: A Canister of tear gas

The Money Quote: The Daily Prophet article: HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED RETURNS - In a brief statement Friday night, Minister of Magic Gary Bettman Cornelius Fudge confirmed that the Vancouver Canucks He-Who-Must-No-Be-Named has returned to play another season of hockey this country and is active once more. "It is with great regret that I must confirm that the team wizard styling himself the Vancouver Canucks  Lord -- well, you know who I mean -- is alive and among us again," said Bettman Fudge, looking tired and flustered as he addressed reporters. "It is with almost equal regret that we report the mass revolt of the Canucks fans dementors of Vancouver Azkaban, who have shown themselves averse to continuing in the NHL's Ministry's employ. We believe that the Canucks fans dementors are currently taking direction from the Cunucks organization Lord -- Thingy. "We urge the non-Cancucks fans magical population to remain vigilant. The NHL Ministry is currently publishing guides to elementary home and personal defense that will be delivered free to all non-Cancucks fans Wizarding homes within the coming month."  The Commissioner's Minister's statement was met with dismay and alarm from the non-Cancucks fans Wizarding community, which as recently as last Wednesday was receiving NHL Ministry assurances that there was "no truth whatsoever in these persistent rumors that the Vancouver Canucks You-Know-Who is operating amongst us once more."  Details of the events that led to the NHL Ministry turn-around are still hazy, though it is believed that the Canucks He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and a select band of Canucks fans followers (known as Death Eaters) gained entry to the NHL Headquarters Ministry of Magic itself on Thursday evening.

PS: For more nonsense, follow me on Twitter @nCornick.

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Reader Comments (3)

I think you are giving too much respect to the Canucks to compare them with Lord Voldemort. They are more like Peter Pettigrew, I will explain why in a minute.

Lord Voldemort is more like the Red Wings though. Why?
While we hate to admit it, we, just like Harry does to Voldemort, owe a lot of our power to them. We have a part of their soul in us. They are our mortal enemy but that doesn't change the fact that our power, 2010 Stanley Cup Championship team, was based strongly on the Detroit model. Speed and puck possession, the annoying guy who stands in front of the net [Holmstrom-Byfuglien], the guy you will always respect but never hate even if he owns your team [Datsyuk, Toews] and many more. And we can only triumph over them when we have an advantage, never in a fair fight. [Harry (elder wand, twin core), Hawks (injured Wings players, not meeting them in the playoffs)].

As for the Canucks they are like Pettigrew because they are these shitty characters who caused a lot of damage but really all they are is the addition to the story that provides a background story to complete the real one. Pettigrew was the one who caused Voldemort to kill Harry's parents. But it still remains that Voldemort is the real enemy. Vancouver are the team that we seriously dislike, but they are only a step on the way to a Stanley Cup championship. Also when their existence depended on us (2011 Playoffs) we didn't kill them like Harry had a chance to kill Pettigrew, we let them go, but they failed miserably anyway.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJake

I have to say this was extremely well written. I also appreciate the links to SCH and the other sites... Your comparisons are hysterically cogent but I do have to agree with Jake's correction on the Nucks.

September 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBadgerDano

No Hagrid?

October 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteraj

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