Originally posted Jan.7. | Ed. Note from Dominik: I bumped this one up since the Guardian Project vote is on-going, and some of the commentary here as each one is released was cracking me up.
Double Ed. Note from mikb - now that our Guardian has been revealed, head to the comments for double-bonus snark. Personally, I think Captain Lighthouse would have been a better pick.
Many of us are all-too aware that the New York Islanders are not the best-marketed franchise; in other words, they have the media savvy of Pepsi. (New logo fail? Check. Pepsi Clear = Lighthouse Project. "Brown and Bubbly?" Kind of describes the Mystery Injury Reports.)
But you know, I'm beginning to think that it'spartly the league's fault.
Some of us may remember that the league's top-down, central planners came down hard on the Rangers a few years ago, for daring to have their own website in "noncompliance" with the rest of the league. It got so bad that MSG threatened to sue the league under anti-trust laws, and the league counter-threatened to force MSG to sell the Rangers. Yup - that's just what we want, a league and a member franchise publicly fueding.
Beyond this, the NHL has some laughable notions about how to market its teams - at least, the ones not in the Winter Classic or led by Sid Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. The latest of these is an idea so awful that it only lacks the silhouettes of a man and two robots making fun of it while it happens: the NHL Guardians Project.
Basically, the idea seems to be that hockey fans could give two craps about actual good hockey, or seeing their best players made known to the wider sports world, through entertaining "Sports Center" promos or charity work or what-have-you. Nope, turns out that what hockey really needs to be popular is comic-book tie-ins! Because pro sports league/comic book tie-ins have a spectacular track record, right?
Worse, they decided to give this gig to Stan Lee, who probably still has his Montreal Wanderers season tickets.
The results look predictably awful thus far. The very first revealed Guardian, the Penguin, looks like Stan just shrugged and said, "Use Cyclops, he needs the work." When your creative guy is punting on any semblance of original content 1/30th into the project, you're in a world of trouble. But it gets laughably worse, such as this part of the Penguin's description -
In exterior appearance, the Penguin is an impressive looking superhero, mostly human features except for a set of Penguin like wings attached to his arms.
This sentence is full of grammar fail, from the small-beer lack of hyphens in the compound adjectives (in increasing order of fail: "impressive looking," "mostly human," and "Penguin like"), to the awkward redundancy "exterior appearance." Note to copy writers everywhere: an appearance is, by definition, exterior. Then there's the assertion that anything resembling Cyclops is in any way "impressive looking," especially when doing surfer-related dance moves in bright yellow spandex. And finally - hey, I don't see wings of any sort attached to this guy.
The wings, like that of an actual Penguin, don't enable him to fly but rather they allow him to maneuver both in the air and especially at sea.
HAHAHAHAHA... the wings don't let him fly, just "maneuver... in the air." Only in the NHL could "maneuvering in the air with wings" NOT mean "flying."
The rest of them are also fairly lame ripoffs of Stan's great work with Marvel:
the King = Purple Thor (at least the costume. The powers are going to Tampa Bay, no doubt.)
the Hurricane = Red Tornado
the Blackhawk = Iron Man, right down to Tony Stark's personality (ye cats)
the Sabre = Hydro-Man, only a good guy
I'm really, REALLY worried about what dreck they'll pull from the water to represent the Islanders. The Gorton's guy? That goofy bobble-headed ex-mascot? But, as fun as it is to snark the darkness, I also prefer to light a small candle. Therefore, I am coming up with my own Guardians below. Excelsior, true Islander believers!
New York Islanders - Captain Lighthouse. He fights for all things awesome with his amazing powers: the Danish Backhand of Justice, the Moustache Ride, and Multiple Third-Rounders. Weaknesses: his joints, pronunciation, and not particularly caring.
New Jersey Devils - Doc and Chico, the Announcing Duo. Through Doc's huge vocabulary and Chico's abilty to agree with anything, they have the ability to inflate their team's accomplishments while downplaying their opponent's abilities, making them a formidable enemy. Weaknesses: a team with no abilities to inflate.
Pittsburgh Penguins - Sid the Hockey Kid. His mild-mannered alter-ego hides behind a wispy mustache and the endless thirst to know elementary science facts. In his hockey form, however, he has a wide array of passing, shooting, skating, and bitching abilities, and should never be underestimated. Weaknesses: a glaring aura of hype makes it impossible for Sid to sneak up on anyone.
Washington Capitals - the Boudreaunator. A f'k'n offensive juggernaut, able to f'k'n bury opponents in f'k'n goals from any f'k'n angle and style. Weaknesses: playing defense, the month of May.
Tampa Bay Lightning - Mighty Y. Sailing through the stormy skies over Pinellas County, his spoked red "Y" glittering on his chest, Mighty Y has the ability to jump-start any rebuild. Weakness: noticing that 90% of the work was done before he arrived.
Carolina Hurricanes - Gale Force. Powers include a plethora of synonyms for strong wind, exploiting their usually-weak division to crash the playoffs, and then beating the Devils. Weaknesses: can only cycle left.
Florida Panthers - LeBron James. One of the many abilities he took to South Beach was the power to make everyone forget (even more) about the terrible hockey in South Florida, which should work for long enough for the team to improve. Weakness: it'd be better if LeBron could play hockey himself.
Buffalo Sabres - the French Connector. Sacre Bleu! Buffalo's champion rushes through opponents with flair, grace, and awesome 70's hair. Weaknesses: the league makes you wear helmets now; weighed down by a collection of misfit logos.
Toronto Maple Leafs - Don Cherry. His blistering tongue (and even more blistering wardrobe) strike fear into the hearts of all non-Canadian hockey players. Weaknesses: unfortunate habit of sucking feet into his mouth and trading all his draft picks.
Montreal Canadiens - Guy LaRoychard. The living spirit of all things French-Canadian. Powers include invading other teams' arenas and a parade of great goaltending. Weakness: insufferable ego, only stands 4' 2".
Boston Bruins - Chowdah Keg. A brawling, physical presence who turns people's own shoes against them. There are rumors of a shadowy presence protecting them via email from within the league. Has never backed down from anything that didn't look like Matt Cooke. Weakness: having a high playoff seed.
Ottawa Senators - Historion. A man of learning, of history... of insisting that his franchise is the same as the one that folded in the 30's, and thus is a former Stanley Cup Champion. Powers include wearing down opponents with long, dry arguments. Weaknesses: guarantees, scoring in their own net.
Come back later for the Western Conference!
OK - it's later! The remaining fifteen Guardians are below. Major thanks to Dom for the idea and powers for the St. Louis Guardian, who had me completely stumped.
Chicago Blackhawks – Politically Correct Hawk. This Guardian was born at Auburn University , and has dedicated himself to pointlessly changing long-standing traditions, confusing and infuriating his opponents so badly that they ignore his pedestrian goaltending. Weaknesses: cab drivers, filing important paperwork before deadlines, common sense.
Detroit Red Wings – Longeviteen. Plays at a high level, seemingly forever. It is vain and pointless waiting for him to retire-for-pity’s-sake-already-wouldja, forcing opponents to overcome him in a contest of skill and smarts – a contest in which he excels through practice and long study. In certain incarnations, is also a mean, uncompromising bastard, presenting another challenge to his foes. Weakness: is vulnerable while waiting for new incarnation to come to full power; can also be shot through the goalkeeper.
Columbus Blue Jackets – The Dispatcher. Snarks opposing teams from the insular safety of a dying medium. More of a sidekick than a true, full-fledged hero. Just give him time. Hey – I said GIVE HIM TIME, OK? I mean, what’s your team done lately? Who says we play in a division with two other Stanley Cup winners and a perennial contender? Who? Huh? Don’t make me misinform you! Weakness: old, crotchety, and his powers entirely vanish after 82 games.
Nashville Predators – The Phantom Skater. People entirely overlook him… and then find themselves losing 4-1, wondering who exactly scored the goals. A dangerous opponent to underestimate. Weakness: finally captured and forced to wear garish mustard yellow or shiny silver, robbing him of his best power. And what’s with your faaaaaace?
St Louis Blues – Philanthro Q. Génerošz, Esquire. He’s just so gosh darned NICE, you know? Above all, an Old World gentleman… a nurturer of talent… all of which he spreads to the rest of the league, to win Stanley Cups: Arbour, Gilmour, Stevens, Shanahan, Hull, Pronger, Brind’Amour, etc. etc. Attempts to use his powers for his own good (Gretzky, Fuhr, young Pronger, Janney, Oates, Tkachuk, MacInnis), unfortunately, always end in tears… leading to lots of strong Eastern European beer and the mournful music which gives the team their name.
Los Angeles Kings – The Creepster. This hero has stretches of long hibernation, only to suddenly re-emerge and take foes by surprise. Capable of tremendous feats when pressed. Weakness: his best work lately has been in the wrong sport. Also, he gives everyone the blinking fantods.
Anaheim Ducks – That Bird in the Comments. His main power is the ability to take on so many bizarre appearances that opponents double over with nausea. Like other Guardians, however, his powers can be turned against him: some opponents just laugh at him while they win by four goals.
San Jose Sharks – Easy Skater. Everything’s a breeze on the beach, dudes! "E.S." (as he prefers to be called) just goes with the flow, making hockey look effortlessly easy. Weakness: so laid back and so used to nice weather that spring hockey doesn’t cause any sense of urgency or intensity.
Dallas Stars – Uncle Travelin' Mike. His pioneering spirit drove him to be the first Guardian to leave their ancestral home in the north. This willingness to break barriers led to their greatest success, on a play where his foot was CLEARLY OVER THE FRICKIN’ LINE. But did Bettmanicus do anything? NOOOOOOOOO.
(Uh – sorry folks. The French Connector got in there when I wasn’t looking.)
Phoenix Coyotes – Bettmanictus. The most powerful Guardian in the hockey universe has made it his personal quest to save Southern Hockey everywhere, especially where it’s gone bankrupt. His powers work against players and owners alike, making him impossible to defeat – your only hope is to endure. Weakness: knows next-to-nothing about hockey, hockey traditions, and hockey fans, and cares less; as a result, his powers are far more dangerous than helpful.
Colorado Avalanche – Collector Spectre. This ghostly presence imports his greatest abilities from other franchises: big-game goalies, elite (yet fragile) 2-way forwards, feared agitators, and beloved veteran defenders. Weakness: has no powers of his own.
Edmonton Oilers – Tambelowe. This Guardian attempted to absorb his own powers from Collector Spectre, only to have it backfire… though it almost worked, the side effect was a franchise condemned to a shadowy existence on the fringes of the league. Many claim that this damage can only be reversed by the powers of another Guardian. The problem is that the current guy is very difficult to be rid of, and very expensive.
Calgary Flames – Secret ‘Stache. His mighty facial hair hides determination, a wicked slapshot, and the ability to make opponents shoot the puck off the back of their own goaltender’s leg. Weakness: long since retired; his successors have been waiting in vain for someone, anyone, under the age of 30 to take his place on the team. Their last contender, for example, is now working in a much more suitable venue.
Minnesota Wild – Snorion. His brother Historion prefers to use the family’s power of boredom in pedantic discussion, but Snorion is a man of "action" – said action being to grind everything to a halt. "Baseball pace, soccer scoring" is his mantra. Weakness: more likely to put his allies to sleep than his foes; left without help, his system invariably breaks down.
Vancouver Canucks – the Neon Lime Twins. Their bizarre antics in the stands are matched by their deadly on-ice chemistry. Marvel as they simultaneously mock opponents in the box and score on the power play! Cry when you realize that they aren’t triplets, and neither of them is a defenseman!