So, the NHL has joined forces with legendary comic book creator Stan Lee to come up with superheroes for each of the 30 NHL teams. They’ll be known as The Guardians, except in Montreal, where they’ll be known as The Guardians du But.
I suppose this is all rather exciting news. To be sure, anything that has a chance of replacing that big, dopey doofus Carlton the Bear has to be a step in the right direction. At least the people from the NHL and the Guardian Media Entertainment Group (GME) were quite fired up about the project when it was announced last week.
“While sports leagues normally license out their marks, we were offered a totally different approach from all the great people at the NHL,” GME’s chief creative officer Adam Baretta told NHL.com.
Now I’m no businessman, but I think that’s a nice way of actually saying, “The NHL is so desperate for exposure that it let us use all of its logos for free.”
In any event, the identities of the superheroes won’t be made public until all-star weekend in January, but THN.com has obtained a copy of the highly classified document that contains the names of each one (wink, wink). So, as a public service, we thought we would pass them on to you:
ANAHEIM The Ducks will be represented by The Flash, in deference to the amazing speed with which they went from the ranks of the NHL’s elite to mediocre.
ATLANTA Keeping the streets of Atlanta safe will be the job of Obscure Man, a superhero who muddles his way through life and doesn’t do much, while almost nobody pays any attention.
BOSTON Certainly the kindest of all 30 superheroes, the Boston Gagger takes a stranglehold on his opponent, then completely falls apart and loses the battle.
BUFFALO The Sabres are led into battle by The $6.25 Million Man Ryan Miller, who possesses a stunning array of superhuman qualities despite the fact he weighs only 132 pounds and has legs that look like bamboo stalks.
CALGARY Patterned after the GM and coach of the team, Dour Man shows up at the crime scene in a bad mood and makes life generally miserable for everyone around him.
CAROLINA In deference to the Hurricanes slashing payroll to try to attract investors, Parsimonious Man is renting out space in the Batcave while he tries to get his financial affairs in order.
CHICAGO The Second City is protected by The Black(hawk) Knight, based on the Monty Python character who continues to fight despite having all his appendages chopped off.
COLORADO Denver is the new home to Forgotten Man, a guy who used to have immense powers a long time ago, but has faded into obscurity. He once was a big deal among superheroes, but it was so long ago that few can remember.
COLUMBUS The Blue Jackets will re-invent their star Rick Nash by having him adopt the persona of Nash the Slash, the 1980s new wave musician who appeared on stage wrapped in surgical bandages. It shouldn’t really hurt his recognition value, since nobody in Columbus can recognize Nash anyway.
DALLAS The Stars are personified by the obscure Marvel Comics mutant Abyss, which best signifies where the once-proud franchise now resides.
DETROIT Clad in his superhero Depends, Motown Man continues to perform at a surprisingly high level despite the fact he is older than Hercules.
EDMONTON The Oilers are represented by Wolverine, a superhero who gets his humble start in northern Alberta before moving on to a bigger market.
FLORIDA The Panthers have adopted the persona of Epic Fail, a guy who never makes the superhero playoffs and just when things are starting to look up, gets overshadowed in his own market by three larger-than-life basketball superheroes.
LOS ANGELES The Kings are fronted by Mullet Man Ryan Smyth, a superhero who doesn’t look the part, but always gets the job done.
MINNESOTA The franchise adopts the DC Comics superhero Wildfire. The concept came to the team’s marketing department after the team’s equipment truck spontaneously combusted last season.
MONTREAL The Canadiens are led by Carey Price, who will need to call on his alter ego, Teflon Man, every time he lets in a questionable goal at the Bell Centre this season.
NASHVILLE Poile Man, all right it needs some work, continues to keep the Predators in the superhero game despite the fact he is constantly faced with mass departures and has the operating budget of a convenience store.
NEW JERSEY In keeping with the fact they are the Devils, New Jersey actually went with a villain by the name of Lex Lou-Lamoriello, an evil genius who finds ways to get around the salary cap until he is stopped in his tracks by Bett-man.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS Long Island is constantly protected by Wang Man, an eccentric billionaire who is so desperate for exposure that he invites guys who write blogs while wearing pajamas in their mothers’ basements to cover his exploits.
NEW YORK RANGERS The streets of Gotham are patrolled not by Batman, but by Captain Marvel, who is based on Rangers GM Glen Sather. He is so named because everyone continues to marvel at how a superhero whose powers have deteriorated so badly can continue to hold down a job.
OTTAWA Trojan Man fares pretty well most of the time on the superhero circuit, but Maple Leafs in the playoffs are the equivalent to kryptonite for Superman.
PHILADELPHIA Bobrovsky the Great is discovered in the backwaters of the former Soviet Union to solve the age-old problem of really bad goaltenders in Philadelphia.
PHOENIX With unlimited resources and resolve from Headquarters, Coyote Man continues to perform his exploits in complete obscurity. Any efforts to have him move to a place where he’d be more appreciated are met with enormous resistance from headquarters.
PITTSBURGH The former inhabitants of the The Igloo are personified, of course, by Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, a.k.a. Batman’s archrival, The Penguin. Teased about his appearance and beaten up as a child, the Penguin gets revenge on the rest of the league by his ineptitude, which leads to weapons such as Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the draft.
ST. LOUIS After being chased out of Montreal for reasons no one can explain, the Slovak Wonder brings his talents to Missouri.
SAN JOSE The Sharks are represented by an odd breed of superhero patterned after The Invisible Man, who usually makes his appearance during the playoffs.
TAMPA BAY Patterned after goaltender Dan Ellis, Entitled Man lives the glamorous life of a superhero, then tweets about how difficult it is to make ends meet.
TORONTO Based on Robin Hood, the ubiquitous Captain Maple Leaf spends the better part of 40 years stealing from the rich and gullible and keeping it all to himself.
VANCOUVER The Canucks go the supervillian route as well, adopting Doppleganger, known for its superhuman speed, strength and agility, as well as its ability to wear Nos. 33 and 22 at the same time.
WASHINGTON Who else to protect the streets of D.C. than Captain America? He’s described as a nearly perfect specimen of human development and conditioning – remind you of anyone? – but possesses no real superhero powers. If he did, he might somehow be able to jolt Alex Semin and Mike Green to be better in the playoffs.
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