I checked my calendar this morning and it turns out it's still August. Yesterday's signing of Justin Abdelkader to a two-year deal pretty well shuts the Red Wings down as far as free agency signings go until Maltby takes a two-way deal. Training camp is still three weeks away and we're left with little to do other than argue about whether Mattias Ritola will clear waivers (short answer: Yes, short-short answer: Y). While it would be easy and probably fun to take the easy way and put myself into a three-week coma to cut the intermediate time short. my job and my family force me to put the skateboard, hammer, pyrotechnics and Def Leppard soundtrack away for now.
Instead, my mind wanders to silly lists. Since SpikeTV has been showing the first three Star Wars movies recently, I'm inspired to take a look at what characters from the Star Wars universe fit with which Red Wings personnel. Now, Star Wars comparisons aren't new to hockey discussions; in fact, Avalanche fans have been calling our team the Evil Empire for quite some time. Of course, if they're the Rebel Alliance, I guess that makes their team management Grand Moff Tarkin, since he's the one who blew up
Alderaan their roster.
Check to make sure your hyperdrive motivator hasn't been damaged and follow me after the jump to light speed.
Pavel Datsyuk is R2D2: Before you furl your brow and curse at me for making one of the best Red Wings players a sassy blue trash can, take a second to think of everything that R2D2 did for the Rebellion in the movies. He had every tool needed for just the right time and often surprised people with new abilities that seemed to pop up almost instantaneously. Combine that with his inherent three-legged stability (wink-wink) and the fact that very few people can understand what he says, but we all know that it's funny and you've got yourselves a comparison.
Darren Helm is Boba Fett: He's got jets, son.
Tomas Holmstrom is Chewbacca: Another character in the saga that nobody can understand when he talks, Holmstrom is big, hairy, mean, and gets in people's way. He also gets unfairly handcuffed more times than anybody else in the entire saga.
Henrik Zetterberg is Han Solo: He's the cool, skilled, handsome one who gets the hot chick at the end. We've watched him grow from the guy with tons of natural talent into the leader he's become. He's the guy I would want out there when we're outmanned and outgunned, even if it is for only two minutes.
Todd Bertuzzi is Darth Vader: There is good in him, I have felt it. He's got serious skills and a willingness to change for the better. That doesn't completely absolve him from having slaughtered children in his youth, but it at least buys him a viking funeral when the time comes.
Valtteri Filppula is Princess Leia: Before you laugh at my categorizing Val Filppula as a woman, realize that Princess Leia could kick your ass. They're both tough, resourceful, overlooked contributors with interesting hair; what more do you need?
Kris Draper is Yoda: Seeing his lightsaber fight in Episode 2, you know that back in the day, the guy had some speed and skill. Nowadays, he's around to teach the young guys the right way to do things and to provide comic relief interspersed with serious messages.
Nick Lidstrom is Obi Wan Kenobi: Up there in age with a wealth of knowlege and experience, he was taught by some of the best. It may seem like odd coincidence that he was in exactly the right place for things to get started in the original trilogy, but you come to appreciate that his good positioning is never accidental. His skills are still better than pretty much everybody else in the galaxy to boot. Remember, Kenobi didn't lose to Vader, he made a tactical decision to let a guy kill him so he could be everywhere at once. That's just incomprehensibly smart.
Mike Babcock is Admiral Ackbar: He's in charge, he talks funny, and he doesn't like traps. That's deep, yo.
Johan Franzen is Luke Skywalker: Crunch time is where this guy shines. We picked him up seemingly out of nowhere and have guys that taught him how to be so dangerous. He worked as hard as he could to get back to his friends to help them last season when they needed him. He's also the guy I would trust to bulls-eye a womp rat if there's a womp rat that needs bulls-eyeing.
Jimmy Howard is the Death Star: That's no moon, that's our goalie. He's big, round, scary to face, and also has a small hole in him that leads directly to paydirt. Fortunately, you have to get through some pretty strong defenses to get a shot at it and it's very hard to hit.
Niklas Kronwall is Wedge Antilles: Almost nobody outside of the Rebel Alliance appreciates what Wedge Antilles did for them. He's the only pilot in the entire saga to have flown in and survived both Death Star attacks. He was also there at Hoth catching the AT-ATs with their heads down and blowing them up. If it weren't for the incredible talent around him, he'd be the star of the show.
Mikael Samuelsson is an Imperial Storm Trooper: Their aim and shooting percentage is almost identical
Gary Bettman is C-3PO: To himself and in the eyes of furry savages, he's a golden god; to everybody else, he's an annoying poof.
Larry Murphy is a Jawa: I'm pretty sure they both jump out from behind rocks and yell "Uttini!"
Mike Cammalleri is Wicket the Ewok: The star of a tiny tribe that beats people who don't take them seriously enough. Too perfect...
Kyle Wellwood is Jabba the Hutt: "Kyle Wellwood is fat" jokes are too easy, but you don't leave a dollar laying on the street just because it's easy to bend over and pick up, do you? Well, maybe it's not easy for Kyle, but you get the point.
Please let hockey season start soon.