Even though Team Europe might not win the World Cup of Hockey, I find myself kinda pulling for them for a couple of extremely stupid reasons.
At first it was because half the roster - including the team’s GM, Miro Satan - had played for the Islanders at one point or another, which is funny and not the least bit surprising.
But the more I thought about it, it occurred to me that the team reminds me - incredibly - of one of my favorite TV Shows, Battlestar Galactica. Like most people, I watched the reboot’s two episode pilot in 2004 only because I was into the old show as a kid. I expected nothing and ended up becoming completely engrossed over the next few (complicated, disjointed, needlessly prolonged by writers strikes) seasons.
One of my favorite aspects of both shows was the many varied spaceships and passengers in the ragtag fleet searching for Earth. Sure, both shows were mostly about people with names like Apollo and Starbuck fighting evil space robots and shit. But they both incorporated other interesting characters into the heroes’ lives and made the fleet seem like a large, diverse community - even when it was Lorne Greene or Edward James Olmos getting most of the facetime.
There aren’t 80 ships or 47,000 people (or whatever the numbers were) on Team Europe, but some of the more prominent vessels on the rebooted show match up pretty well with who is on this year’s Old Country squad.
Galactica - The battered, beaten but unbreakable old battleship that lead the fleet after the attack on their home system of Caprica could only be represented by Zdeno Chara. That giant Slovakian makes everyone on whatever team he’s on feel safer because, even with his skills diminishing with age, his growl still scares the shit out of everyone.
Pegasus - In both versions of the show, where there’s a Galactica, there’s a Pegasus, the eponymous ship’s sister vessel that usually brings wild adventures whenever it shows up. Chara’s countryman and hockey lifemate Marian Hossa fits the bill as a gunslinger that’s always down for blowing something up.
Colonial One - As the seat of government, Colonial One is the home base of acting president of the 12 Colonies, Laura Roslin (until she loses a re-election campaign to bad guy Gaius Baltar, who almost kills everyone by... forget it). Anyway, Team Europe’s captain is Anze Kopitar, who gets to use the World Cup as his own personal leadership training seminar for when he returns to Los Angeles as the Kings’ new captain.
Celestra - Celestra is the fleet’s science and research ship. Over the last 22 years, Mark Streit has represented Switzerland in three Olympics, 12 World Championships and a million other international competitions, not to mention playing 10 years in the Swiss League and 11 years in the NHL including four with the Islanders, two as captain. That’s a lot of research.
Cloud 9 - Hm. The fleet’s pleasure ship. Tough one. Nino Niederreiter is known for wearing zany socks. We’ll go with that.
Botanical Cruiser - A fleet of thousands of people traveling through space for four years has to eat, even on TV. Fortunately, they had a ship that was basically a giant galactic greenhouse. We’ll name Frans Nielsen Team Europe’s Botanical Cruiser because of his all-round natural skills and down-to-Earth attitude. Also, because Dom will be mad if I don’t include him.
Rising Star - Rising Star was the show’s medical ship and boy are there some Team Europe candidates for this one. Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak, who’s just coming back from sports hernia surgery, has spent time on the IR in each of the last two seasons. But we’ll give Halak’s Slovakian bro Marian Gaborik the nod because the poor guy hasn’t played a full season since 2012.
Promethius - Promethius is the ship rife with illegal activity and black market profiteers. Insert your own Thomas Vanek joke here.
Astral Queen - The fleet’s cutthroat prison ship held criminals, political prisoners, lunatics, and other outsiders, some of whom got second chances at life after the attack on Caprica. As the only member of Team Europe without an NHL contract right now, Dennis Seidenberg probably sympathizes.
Atmospheric Shuttle - Every five minutes on the show, a group of people would travel from one ship to another one of these fast, tiny, Mats Zuccarello-sized pods.
Colonial Viper - Every other Team Europe member gets to be a Colonial Viper, the signature fighter ship of Battlestar Galactica, because once they leave the launch bay, we’re not sure they’re coming back.
It’s probably not a good idea to point out that, at the end of the series, the ships that made the trek across the galaxy get flown into the sun while the survivors populate Earth by copulating with our prehistoric ancestors. Also, angels and Bob Dylan were involved. Yeah, it was a little weird.
But at least none of the Team Europe guys are Cylons, right?
Are they Cylons?
They’re totally not Cylons.