TORONTO (CP) _ In an early hole and facing a crushing blowout, mankind mounted a successful comeback against an alien invasion thanks to a series of fights by some NHL tough guys.
The battle got out of hand in the first period, with the intergalactic monsters swarming humanity from the opening shift. Millions of Earthlings were enslaved or vaporized without prejudice, and shots were 300 million to 3 in favor of the visitors at the first intermission.
Needing some kind of spark to change the momentum, the humans came out hitting to start the second period. A dust-up between Panthers enforcer George Parros and a grotesque alien warrior right off the opening draw was followed by big checks on invaders by Buffalo's John Scott and Toronto duo Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren that turned the contest on its ear.
"I just felt we needed something to get us going and get the crowd back into it," said Parros while holding the decapitated head of an interstellar marauder. "I just looked at him and he looked at me and I said, 'You wanna go?' He kinda yelled and spat at me, which I took that as a yes, and we had a good scrap."
Often criticized for indifferent play and a lack of energy, the humans found their stride after the chippiness started.
"Sometimes you need to get dirty and a little rough to open up space out there," said Orr, who killed 50 aliens with a rusty anchor chain. "We needed to let them know that we weren't going to be intimidated."
Edmonton's Darcy Hordichuk, Minnesota's Zenon Konopka, Derek Dorsett of Columbus and Paul Bissonnette of Phoenix also squared off with the space brutes in a wild third period brawl. All told, the melee accounted for 619 dead aliens, 14 cities defended and six game misconducts.
"We saw who the put out there and knew we had to respond," said New Jersey forward Krys Barch. "If that's how they want to play, then we'll show them that we're ready to stand up for our teammates, which is everyone else on Earth."
Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle, long a proponent of fighting in hockey, attributed the win to the "manliness" brought by the anti-alien lineup of noted NHL tough guys.
"I thought Orrsy and the rest gave us what we needed," Carlyle said, singling out Orr's play against the larger, pike-wielding attackers. "And it's amazing how things quiet down when they're out there fighting these things."
Still, many disagree with the continued presence of hockey enforcers in protecting the Earth from space-faring threats. New hockey analytics have shown that players whose primarily skill is fighting have little if any effect on which planets an intergalactic army of near-unstoppable killing machines will attack next. And that banning hockey's "goons" all together would change the world for the better and make it a safer place, free of alien onslaughts.
But anyone looking to knock out the tough guys is in for a fight.
"No stat in the world can tell measure grit and heart, especially during an alien invasion" said NBC Sports Network manliness expert and paper removal director Mike Milbury. "The NHL enforcers set the tone for the battle. They came out, hit hard and showed a lot of energy.
"Anyone that wants to kick these guys out of the NHL clearly has never fought off a marauding band of ruthless, armed space predators with the ability to cloak themselves and a sick competitive drive to mount human beings as trophies in their spaceships. Until you've been there, you can't possibly understand what these guys bring to the table."
This is a parody. I'm pretty sure Parros could take Predator.