You know those days where the swivel part of your swivel chair is getting overworked and nothing’s really happening and the doldrums of the NHL lockout are starting to weight on you as sit, waiting for you work day to end, or begin, and you just find yourself thinking about Pokemon. Oh, you don’t? Well, I do. Kind of a lot.
Seriously, this happens pretty constantly to me because, I mean, I just can’t think about the lack of hockey anymore. I can’t put together a column lambasting the owners or the players or Jeebus or whoever is to blame. I just can’t. So, my mind drifts and I try to find a way to write a hockey column about Pokemon. When I pitched this idea to my esteemed editor his reaction was simply to tell me, “you’re an idiot.” You’re probably starting to agree with that sentiment right about now. Then, when he told me to go ahead and write it anyway I said, “hah! You’re and idiot,” and I walked away with my head held high and my pride still intact (no, I didn’t).
Anyway. With no hockey (though there is hope, I hope) and the fact I can’t bring myself to give even one one hundredth of a shit about the Subway Super Series, I present to you NHL figures and their Pokemon counterparts. Commence with the horrible photoshopping!
Snorlax = Dustin Byfuglien
I promise you this is not just another “ha ha, Byfuglien’s fat” joke. Okay, it kind of is. Snorlax basically has three functions in the Pokemon world – eat, sleep and, get in the fucking way. Byfuglien has a similar purpose in the NHL – eat, score, and get in the fucking way. You need a strong presence in front of the net? Send Big Buff thataway and let him do his thing. You’re sauntering down Route 11 thinking your quest to fill out your Pokedex is going well? Now there’s a giant Snorlax in your way and you aren’t going anywhere until you figure out a way to move him. If you can’t move Big Buff away from the front of the net, something bad is likely going to happen to your team. Probably in guise of a goal being scored. Though both are somewhat rare creatures, they can usually be found in areas where they can curl up for a nap. Loveable scamps.
Gengar = Raffi Torres
Good luck getting either of those faces out of your head while you try to sleep tonight. Here we have the bastards. Gengar is a little purple horror that will poison the shit out of you when you’re not paying attention. Oh yeah, he also haunts people’s dreams. He’s the Freddy Kruger of the Pokemon world. I hate Gengar. He’s a dick. Raffi Torres, on the other hand, will destroy your face if you’re looking at your feet and will then make that face to the cameras and haunt your dreams. I hate Raffi Torres. He’s a dick. Both these guys fight dirty and aren’t above doing some serious damage to your psyche. Why are you looking at me like that, guys? Seriously, Raffi, stop. Oh, God. Let’s just move on.
Psyduck = Eric Lindros
Two fan favourites are matched up here. Psyduck is kind of an idiot, all he does is complain about his goddamn headache and say his own name over and over again. A lot of the time, he just needs to shut the hell up. I had the privilege of meeting Eric Lindros in a Shopsy’s about a decade ago and the conversation we had, while brief, was essentially the equivalent of saying your own name over and over again. Lindros apparently likes to talk about himself when he meets fans. He likes to talk about himself a lot. He never stops. A lot of the time, he just needs to shut the hell up. Psyduck is also constantly inflicted with a horrible headache, something I assume must also be true of Mr. Lindros after all the blows to head he received in his career. However, when Psyduck needs to, he can kind of kick a lot of ass. One of those “oh no, my friends are in trouble, I have a deus ex machina ability!” It pretty much wins the day for his team every time. Likewise, when Lindros needed to/was conscious enough he could pretty much put the puck in the net any time he wanted to. I’ve argued that Lindros is the Ken Griffey Jr. of the NHL and could have shattered records had he stayed healthy. I stand by that. Both Psyduck and Lindros are/were capable of being top flight guys on your squad (platitudes!). Honestly, though? I just like the idea of these two being paired up. Because, come on, that duck is hilarious.
Charizard = Sidney Crosby
This one was easy. When Pokemon cards were a thing and I was forcing my mom to drive me to the comic store to get pack after pack (seriously, how was I not beaten as a child?), everyone wanted a Charizard card. I mean, look at him, he’s a fucking dragon. Clearly the most popular Pokemon that everyone loves, he is the Sidney Crosby of his…what are Pokemon, anyway? His race? His genus? What would you call it? I’m getting sidetracked again. Anyway, just like everyone wanted that Charizard card, apparently everybody wants a Crosby jersey. His jersey is the best selling hockey jersey year after year. Hell, last season, when he had only played 10 games, his jersey was still selling more than anyone else’s. Oh yeah, also, they’re both pretty damn good at what they do. In case you hadn’t noticed, Crosby is kind of the best hockey player on the planet and is testament to the patience of Penguins fans. After putting up with so many bad teams throughout the early 2000s and then finally landing Crosby (and, to a lesser extent, Evgeni Malkin) must be amazingly gratifying. Similarly, those who wait out their starting choice of Charmander and end up with this literal beast will feel pretty vindicated for all the time they wasted on the little, red weirdo. Point is, I want both a Charizard and a Sidney Crosby.
Pikachu = The Toronto Maple Leafs
Ah, my first love. The team that got me into hockey that I cherish and adore, despite their failings. I am forever loyal to my Leafs despite their struggles. On the other hand, holy hell are there a lot of struggles. I really don’t need to go into this and recap all the failings because I don’t feel like inflicting harm on myself to balance out the type of pain I’m feeling but Jesus. Win something! Pikachu, conversely, was a lot of our first loves as well. Dumb as it may be, that TV show started a fucking movement. We all know it. And at the center of it was this little, yellow rat-thing. I don’t know what it is, actually? Is it just an electric squirrel? I hope it’s an electric squirrel. That’d be badass. I want an electric squirrel. Anyway, Pikachu was kind of the face of the whole Pokemon craze when it started back in the ’90s and we loved him so. Then he got kind of annoying and just wouldn’t go away. Pikachu memorabilia was everywhere, they even re-released the game so you could pick a Pikachu at the beginning and it could follow you around and it just wouldn’t leave you alone and it has that stupid irritating voice and goddamnit, leave me alone! Stop fucking following me all the time, dude. Not unlike the Leafs who, while I still have love in my heart for, just continue to cause nothing but irritation to this day with all the losing and the bad trades and bad signings and bad draft picks and goddamnit, be competent! They’re not even playing and I’m already frustrated thinking about the Leafs. I’m getting angry. Let’s move on.
Marowak = Tim Thomas
When I was younger, I really wanted a Marowak on my team. You’d run into them occasionally and it was usually met with a thought of “oh my God, is that thing beating my Pokemon to death with a bone!? That’s pretty awesome.” Pokemon’s kind of a twisted game if you really think about it. Anyway, I thought Marowak was a badass. Then I heard it on the TV show and I hated it forever. Oh my God, it was annoying. I know all of these things are pretty annoying, what with only being able to say their own names and such, but Marowak was the goddamn worst. Tim Thomas is another goalie that I was always a big fan of. He put together a yeoman’s effort in the Bruins run to the Cup final and did it as a 40-year-old man. That’s impressive. And the guy’s been pretty solid throughout his career. How many times has he broken the hearts of Leaf fans? 5? 10? He’s great. Then he opens his mouth and every piece of Tea Party rhetoric bullshit comes spewing out and, good God, shut up, Tim Thomas. We get it, you don’t like liberals and you’re kind of a psycho about it. Now he wants to take a year off. I actually have no problem with that, it’s totally his choice, just please do it in silence.
MissingNo. = Donald Fehr & The NHLPA
MissingNo. isn’t really a Pokemon, it’s just a glitch in the system. Finding one in the game kind of causes your game to go haywire and explode. Despite this, you can still totally trap it against its will inside a small sphere and use it to attack other small creatures (seriously, Pokemon is fucked up). Once you use it, it’s not all the great but it is crazy strong and is more of a novelty and a “what will it screw up in my game this time” curiosity. It causes crazy graphical issues in your game and makes an already weird looking world look even weirder. That being said, it can be useful in a pinch. Kind of like Donald Fehr. He’s pretty useful as a union head when there isn’t a lockout going and the players seem to pretty much have his back. However, every now and then a problem will crop up, like the lockout, and Fehr will show up and completely fuck up your game. He’s not quite a glitch in the system but I’m beginning to think he was sent to us with some malevolent purpose to prevent us from watching hockey.
Gary Oak = Gary Bettman
Fuck these guys. They’re the worst. They can take their smarmy, douchebag smiles and go somewhere else. All they do is show up and make you feel like a chode. “Oh, you want to become a Pokemon master? Well, too bad, fuckface, I have all the badges and I’m going to make you fight me like 12 times before you can finally beat me, all the while yelling irritating taunts at you because my parents didn’t love me.” “Oh, you want an NHL season? Well, too bad, fuckface, I have all the control and I’m going to cancel all the events you were looking forward to because the NHLPA doesn’t want to accept my offer because I’m a little child.” God, these guys suck. We’d all be better off if they weren’t around. They even have the same shitty name. Gary. Assholes.