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WIIM vs TPL - What Was That?

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Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. There is nothing to fear but fear itself. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual ways of preserving peace. It's amazing how powerful a simple phrase can be. It can lift you up or knock you down, make you laugh or cry, and inspire a group of people to do something extraordinary.

For those that are unaware, a couple of weeks ago, friend of the blog wingsluver4ever suggested that captains from the blog attempt to pick teams based on who was selected to attend the 2011 NHL All Star Game. Brains were stormed, balls got rolling, and out of that small little request, a grand idea was born. The three distinguished gentlemen that you call the Winging it in Motown bloggers would challenge the lads at The Production Line. The challenge? See who can pick the best All-Star team from the NHL players selected to play in this year's All-Star Game. Welcome to the official launch of the first annual TPL/WIM NHL All Star Fantasy Throwdown.

What are the rosters? What are the stakes? Who will win? That last one is more of a rhetorical question: one look at the rosters should tell anyone with any hockey intelligence that the WIIM crew will emerge victorious. However, I know that a lot of you out there may be feeling conflicted: who do you cheer for? Which side deserves your support? I can't make that choice for you, but I can explain what our opponents are all about. However, first we need to let you know why you are reading a post from the winning side right now. Follow me after the jump for a quick preview of what to expect.

First things first: the rosters. For the first time, here are how the teams stack up against each other:

Team TPL:
Stamkos-Eric Staal-Ovechkin

St Louis-Toews-Henrik Sedin
Backes-Richards-Kane
Statsny-Skinner-Havlat

Weber-Chara
Byfuglien-Keith
Burns-Boyle

Thomas-Fleury-Price

Hall-Couture-Shattenkirk
Fowler-Ekman-Larsson-Subban

Team WIIM:

Nash-Kesler-Kopitar
Duchene-Perry-Daniel Sedin
Elias-Giroux-Briere
Kessel-Sharp-Eriksson

Lidstrom-Green
Letang-Yandle
Karlsson-Marc Staal

Ward-Hiller-Lundqvist

Seguin-McBain-Stepan
Ennis-Grabner-Dadonov

The scoring will work this way:

Goal in All-Star Game :: 2 points
Assist in All-Star Game :: 1 point
Penalty in All-Star Game :: 2 points
Save in All-Star Game :: 0.1 points
+/- in All-Star Game :: + or - 0.5 points
Team with the first overall pick in the draft :: 0.5 points
Team with the last overall pick in the draft :: 0.5 points
MVP of the All-Star Game :: 3 points

Skills Competition Event Win :: 3 points
For the team relay challenge, the side which has drafted the most players from the winning relay team will be awarded 3 points

Now for the good stuff: what's at stake. The two teams have entered into an agreement where the losing team will pledge $60 ($20 per player) to the H2H2 fund. That's all well and good, but that's no fun for the rest of you. So, there is a secondary portion to this competition, and it involves the H2H2 game. Since all 6 of us will be attending, we decided that after each Red Wing goal, each member of the losing team shall have to trek to the concession stand to purchase a beverage for a member of the winning team. Now here's the kicker: should our resident serial killer Todd Bertuzzi score any of the Wing goals, then the losing team will also be required to perform 44 pushups right there in the aisle immediately after the game (where all 3 members will do a total of 44 pushups, not 44 each - we're bloggers, not athletes). This will be done after each Bertuzzi goal, so if he gets a hat trick, that's 132 pushups for the losing squad.

My fellow Red Wing fans, you've heard our opponents try to convince you that picking them is the right choice. They frame their team and the choices they made in terms of "patriotism", and try to have you believe that they are the winning side. While they may emerge victorious, there's something you need to know about them. When given the first overall selection, do you know who they chose? Steven Stamkos. An EASTERN CONFERENCE player. How many times have you heard Mr Petrella refer to the East as the "Leastern" conference, or Mr Discher talk about how the East is inferior to the West? Yet, they chose to take Stamkos when every single other player was available in the draft.

Who would you have taken with your first pick? It seems like a pretty clear decision, and there is only one correct answer. The WIIM team aced the test when they took the only player that Red Wing fans care about: Nicklas Lidstrom. I can't understand TPL's mindset: why not take the greatest defenseman in the NHL (who happens to be on the team they profess to love)? It's not like he deserves your loyalty, or that he's going to be the MVP of the game after a 5 point performance. It's also not like he's the greatest defenseman to ever play the game (suck it, Bobby Orr-lovers). What this shows me is a complete lack of loyalty by those fine, well-groomed, intelligent but suddenly Eastern-biased TPL "gentlemen". True Red Wing patriots like the three of us always know that you take every single Red Wing before you take anyone else, because if a Red Wing is an All Star, it's common knowledge that the Red Wing representative is better than every other player selected to go to the game. I think John Quincy Adams said it best when he remarked:

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."

If you do think that Stamkos was a good pick instead of Lidstrom, then consider this; this type of behaviour is similar to buying a car made in Russia instead of a Chevy, singing "God Bless the Queen" at a baseball game, or wearing a Blackhawks jersey; it's "un-Red Wing-ican". Next thing you know you'll be able to tell me who scored the game winning goal in the last Avalanche game or that you think Sidney Crosby is underrated. But you go right ahead; you head on over and cheer Team TPL.

Here's the thing, though: TPL actively brags about picking players that they thought would do well in the Skills Competition. You know what the Skills Competition is? A gimmick. You know who loves gimmicks? Gary Bettman. Drawing an obvious conclusion, it's safe to say that Team TPL loves Gary Bettman. It would not surprise this author if they all had Bettman posters in their homes, offices, and vehicles; rumour is that one of them has a picture of Gary as his cell phone wallpaper. Now, Team WIIM could have gone this route and stacked the deck in their favour; however, not only are we true patriots, we are also purists, choosing to select the best team rather than just going for individual flair. Do you know who picked a team based on how good the players were as individuals? The Russian Olympic team, and we all remember what happened to them. However, the greatest Red Wing of our time assembled a team that was dominant in all areas (except goaltending, but that's neither here nor there) en route to the greatest Olympic victory on home ice in the history of time*. What's the lesson here? The best team wins, not the best collection of individual talent. Plus, we wanted to do things the right way. As Millard FIllmore said:

"An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory."

We've shown you who deserves your support; the choice is now yours. You can go with the "patriotic" gentlemen from TPL, who are only interested in flash. Or you can go with the right option: the team with integrity, loyalty and morals. We opened this post about the power of phrases, so I will leave you with a little ditty composed by our very own J.J.:

We will win because we are in the right, we are in the know, and we are in the fast lane to TOTAL VICTORY!

TPL vs WIIM: let the battle begin.

*involving professional hockey players. Calm down, my American friends: I remember Miracle on Ice.