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Friday, October 4, 2013

Can Henrik Lundqvist become New York City's 'Dark Knight?'


Yesterday I came across this article written for the University of Connecticut's school newspaper. It was just too good not to share.

By Ryan Tolmich

New York and Gotham City have always been synonymous.

The two sprawling metropolises are famous for their vast population, eye-opening skyscrapers and media appeal. They are seemingly the center of the world, as everyone dreams of making it big in the world’s biggest and brightest city.

However, when assessing the current New York Sports landscape, one has to associate it with the version of Gotham that is seen in Batman Begins.

In the movie, Gotham is depicted as a crime-ridden, desolate municipality where criminals run rampant as they rob citizens of their hard-earned money.

The outlook for New York sports is just as bleak. The Giants find themselves at 0-4, making Super Bowl victories and parades seem like a distant memory. The Yankees have been left out of the postseason party, as their roster appears to be older than Bruce Wayne’s noble butler Alfred. The Knicks are in fact the Knicks, as the re-hiring of Steve Mills as GM shows that the team isn’t far removed from the evil tyranny that was the Isiah Thomas era. And yes, there are crime lords robbing New York fans of their hard-earned money, as a certain Alex Rodriguez is still allowed to playbaseball.

But alas, the night is in fact darkest before the dawn, and things seem to be looking up for New York’s faithful. The New York Rangers, and hockey in general, are back and they couldn’t have come at a better time.

In the role of Bruce Wayne, we have Henrik Lundqvist whose good looks, smooth talking and sharp dressing make him a shoe-in for the billionaire playboy. By day, a mesmerizing icon, but by night, Lundqvist dons his goalie mask and becomes something more: a symbol of New York hope. Lundqvist is the hero New York deserves, as well as the one it needs right now.

For Commissioner Gordon, there’s Alain Vigneault, New York’s new head coach in charge of ridding the city of the stink left by the previous regime. Vigneault will be tasked with putting together an attack strong enough to take down anything that can get in the way of good-old-fashioned New York justice.

But in all seriousness, what fun would Batman, and life, be without villains? Luckily, the Rangers have their fair share of rivals to make things interesting.

The Joker will be played by New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, who has been a thorn in the Rangers side for years. Brodeur, who debuted in 1991, has been on a constant quest to put down his metropolitan neighbors, and he has succeeded at for the most part. However, Brodeur’s retirement is imminent, meaning that unlike Batman and the Joker, this is a rivalry that isn’t destined to go on forever.

For Two-Face, there is John Tortorella, the former Ranger head coach who was unceremoniously booted to Vancouver after five successful years in New York. Like Two-Face, Tortorella snapped, as his constant expletive-laced rants left fans and players miserable. Unfortunately for Torts, he lived long enough to see himself become a New York villain.

Finally, for Bane, there is Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals star who has everything it takes to be a threat. He has the brains, the brawn and the hockey sense to do anything he could dream of on the ice. He was even responsible for breaking the backs of the Rangers numerous times in recent postseasons. However, Ovechkin will have to elevate his effort level, and his back-checking, if he ever wants to avoid being adopted by the darkness of disappointment.

New York has a chance to rise out of the shadows with a mighty Lundqvist symbol illuminating the Manhattan skyline. The Islanders will be looking to escape the role of Robin, as they look to John Tavares to be their hero. The Bruins will have to fight on much like Batman did after losing his damsel, Rachel, as the heartthrob formerly known as Tyler Seguin now calls Dallas home. Gary Bettman can be everyone’s mutual villain, because the evil commissioner fits Alfred’s idea that some people just want to watch hockey burn. Hell, there’s even a team called the Penguins, so let’s keep the Batman stuff going.

With that being said, hockey season is finally upon us. The only team sport that actually allows you to punch someone in the face is finally underway. The quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup is here, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

And despite Batman’s claims, yes, heroes do wear hockey pads.

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