Fresh off their loss in the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings, the New York Rangers are already hard at work on a plan to secure their next championship by cloning their best player, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, using experimental DNA extraction and a host of surrogate families around the world.
Ninety-four clones of Lundqvist will be created, and each will be raised in an environment as close to the original's as possible to ensure perfect recreations, according to the project's lead scientist and Rangers new director of player replication, Dr. Olivier Peck. By following the same life path as Lundqvist, at least of half the clones will eventually reach his elite level of athletic excellence, mass-marketability and striking handsomeness in time for the Rangers' next scheduled trip to the Stanley Cup Final during the 2043-44 season.
"The Lundqvist cloning program will ensure a complete team of remarkable hockey players who will finally take their rightful place as rulers of the NHL," Peck said from the Rangers' special reproduction facility under an Argentinian restaurant in New York's Hell's Kitchen section. "Reproducing a person isn't enough. He needs to grow up as the control specimen did, and experience the same sensations and choices as the original.
"Our job is to make sure we have at least 25 perfect Henrik Lundqvists on the Rangers in 30 years. It can be done."
Lundqvist, arguably the best goaltender in the NHL, was spectacular in the 2014 playoffs, leading the Rangers past Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Montreal in the first three rounds. Against Los Angeles in his first appearance in the Stanley Cup final, he was the key reason the series wasn't a sweep. The strong, playoff-tested Kings had the edge in play for most of the five games and outshot New York by a great amount, only to be thwarted by Lundqvist again and again. Alec Martinez's goal in double overtime of Game 5, the third sudden death game of the series, secured the win for Los Angeles.
A mismatch like that wouldn't happen with a team full of Henrik Lundqvists, says Peck.
"Imagine the greatness of Lundqvist in goal, but also in six defensemen and in twelve forwards. Plus a few Lundqvists scratched in case someone gets hurt. The team would be perfect in every facet, and without any non-Lundqvists getting in the way, not scoring goals for weeks at a time, getting trapped in their zone by waves of attackers or getting caught flat-footed by opposing forwards."
Lundqvist grew up in Åre, Jämtland, Sweden, a town of about 800. Sport is in his blood: his father Peter was a ski instructor and sister Gabriella played tennis while Henrik and his twin brother Joel gravitated towards hockey. The brothers grew up playing on the same teams throughout their home country and were both drafted into the NHL in 2000. But while Joel, a center, spent just a few years with the Dallas Stars, goalie Henrik became an icon in New York City, where Rangers fans refer to him as "King Henrik."
Peck admits that assigning each replicant an identical twin - essentially giving each family two Henrik Lundqvists - initially presented a potential handsomeness overload problem for the project. But Peck was able to receive the blessing to expand the program's scope from Madison Square Garden chairman and Rangers owner James Dolan as well as general manager Glen Sather with a simple sales pitch.
"Doubling the clones also doubled the experiment's price from $350 million to $700 million," said Peck. "That's still less than the cost of the recent billion dollars worth of renovations to Madison Square Garden. So they signed off on it."
MSG Network plans on following the lives of each Lundqvist clone family in a special on-going reality series premiering next season to be narrated by Four Courses host JB Smoove.
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