Contributed by Joe Tichy, Hockey Sherpa
Snap your fingers. Grease back your hair and put on your leather jacket. Strap on your skates and grab your gloves too. Huh? To welcome back the Winnipeg Jets to the NHL, I propose Gary Bettman and crew have a West Side Story of their own in San Jose. How entertaining would it be for those aching for basketball to try to watch hockey and see a five on five gang fight on skates?
The two teams could make it an annual event and the Winter Classic game would be booked for years to come. They could play for the Maria cup. The songs could play over the PA and the players could do synchronized skate dancing. It would be billed as “The Ice Capades Even Men Will Enjoy”. The home team’s PR department can pick a lucky “Maria” out of the crowd. Who wouldn’t want to be swooped away by the handsome Martin Havlat or Andrew Ladd? I know this guy would….in a completely masculine way of course. I would have a tall boy of High Life and a totally sweet Metallica shirt on or something. That’s manly, right?
Playing the roles of Bernardo and Riff would be Todd McLellan and Claude Noel of course. They can handle the finger snaps since it might be tough to do so with gloves on. Tony and Chino will be played by Andrew Ladd and Joe Thornton, the team captains. A shootout will be held to determine who gets the girl if the game is tied after regulation. Other roles filled by the Sharks will be Patrick Marleau as Pepe, Bernardo’s right hand man. Due to his size, Brent Burns will be playing the role of Moose in this production. Filling out the Jets will be Dustin Byfuglien as Action, Chris Mason as A-Rab, and Evander Kane as Baby John.
Penalties you ask? The head ref, aka Officer Krupke, has the option of sending a player to the sin bin or a penalty can be avoided with a number from the musical. Wouldn’t you like to see Chris Mason belt out “Gee, Officer Krupke” to avoid having his guy sent off for two minutes? Tell me that doesn’t bring a smile to your face imagining Mason belt out these lines: My defensemen’s a bastard, my wing an S.O.B., my coach always plastered, and my center pushes tea.
I think I have something going here. Are you telling me you wouldn’t tune into a game with the Kings dressed in a royal king’s attire playing the Blackhawks with full headdresses on? Make it a show. Make it a spectacle. I think the NHL has it all wrong with this uniform nonsense. Buck the trend and have some fun. Don’t be like the No Fun League and ban certain types of tackles. With ideas like these, a whole new demographic would be tuning in. Soccer moms, animal lovers, and Broadway enthusiasts would be tuning in on a nightly basis. That is what the NHL wanted, right? I could be way off though.