Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hybrid Hockey, Part III: Kicking the Tires

(Continued from Part I)




image courtesy of RussBowling at flickr.com
Three games into the preseason, the B's are still "kicking the tires." But expect management to go the distance with this fleet of forwards.

Patrice “Escape” Bergeron: Bergie (the name my wife and I awarded to our Ford Escape) has suffered a few dings (as has our car), but is no worse for the wear. Expect Msr. Bergeron to regain his scoring touch without sacrificing the power or fuel efficiency he demonstrated during last season’s test drive. Don’t believe me? Ask Maxim Lapierre.

Blake “Buick Roadmaster” Wheeler: Last season, he was a pleasant surprise out of training camp and an early candidate for the Calder Trophy; But, Wheeler’s engine started to ping late in the season. He has addressed the engine knock by bulking up during the summer. This season, he’s more prepared to endure the rigors of the road. Like the sturdy station wagon, Wheeler is built for the long haul.

Chuck “No name” Kobasew: Small wheel base. Lots of torque. Zero to 28 mph in three strides. Not another vehicle like him on the lot or on the Internet. I just hope the injury-prone forward doesn’t wreck.

Mark “‘69 Camaro” Recchi: A classic, mint condition muscle car (pictured above), Recchi is quite a commodity. Ram air all the way. A warrior in tight spaces, he has quick hands and is the model of consistency and commitment.

Steve “Renault” Begin: Bienvenue a Boston. Swiped from the Stars’ (after the Habs traded him in at the deadline) used car lot, Begin is the kind of player we love to loathe—until he switches allegiances. Now that he’s a Bruin, Begin has a new start. Memo to Montreal: En garde.

Marc “Dodge K Car” Savard: Reliable. But unlike the car, which is the first car he owned (1986 model), Savard is more flashy. Now that Phil “DeLorean” Kessel has been traded, Savvy may have to score more often. And take fewer ugly penalties.

Shawn “Ford Flex” Thornton: Lots of muscle up front. Complete with power windows and power door locks, Thornton—like the Ford—occasional scoring punch comes standard. Look for Thornton to score a highlight-reel goal or three this season.

Byron “Bronco” Bitz: This kid is bucking for a promotion. Strong along the boards and in the crease, he sheds those who attempt to ride him out of the play. Expect Bitzie to play close to 80 games. What a horse.

“Mercury Milan” Lucic: V6, 240 horsepower. Lots to like about the third-year pro who keeps improving. But, like the 2009 model, Looch’s last season leaves room for improvement. As we approach 2010, more consistency and control are required if he wants become a Ford Fusion (rated higher, if you want the truth), a hybrid of panache and power.
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