The stoic leader. The party boy. The thinker. The hot head. These personality arch-types can be found in any group dynamic, whether it’s four lads from Liverpool or inside an NHL dressing room.
Or in a sewer.
With a mutated rat that knows ninjutsu as a sensei.
Since 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have symbolized those four disparate traits in comics, cartoons and movies:
Leonardo (blue mask): The measured, valiant leader of the group. Strong and fearless.
Donatello (purple mask): The scientist who prefers to use intellect rather than his bo staff to solve conflicts. A bit shy.
Michelangelo (orange mask): The pizza-gobbling free spirit of the group whose “Cowabunga” launched a million T-shirts.
Raphael (red mask): The temperamental bad boy of the group. And he speaks with a New York accent!
On a recent Marek Vs. Wyshynski podcast, there was a spontaneous discussion about the TMNT template being applied to NHL teams. For example, we all know Jonathan Toews is the Leonardo and Patrick Kane is the Michelangelo of the Chicago Blackhawks – but who is their Raphael?
We asked the Puck Daddy readership to check in with their choices for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proxies for all 30 NHL teams. Here are the Eastern Conference choices for hockey heroes on a half shell. The West will follow on Wednesday.
We received more submissions for some teams than others, so we’ve limited the entries to two for each team. Enjoy, dudes:
Leonardo: Zdeno Chara
Donatello: Patrice Bergeron
Michelangelo: Brad Marchand - I mean, really. No other player in the NHL can even come close.
Raphael: Shawn Thornton
- Andrine Belliveau
Leonardo: Thomas Vanek. Wikipedia: “Leonardo is depicted as the eldest brother and the calmest of the four. Throughout the various media, he is depicted as the leader of the four turtles and the most disciplined.” Coincidentally, TV is my favorite Sabre and Leonardo was my favorite turtle.
Donatello: Ryan Miller. Wikipedia: “In all media, he is depicted as the most intelligent of the four turtles, often speaking in technobabble with a natural aptitude for science and technology.” Yup.
Michelangelo: Steve Ott. Do I even have to? Wikipedia:” In the original comic books, Michelangelo was initially depicted as fun-loving, carefree, and, while not as aggressive as Raphael, always ready to fight…most of the traits that have become synonymous with the character, such as his playfulness, empathy, and easygoing nature.
Raphael: Patrick Kaleta. Wikipedia: “He is generally the most likely to experience extremes of emotion, and is usually depicted as being aggressive, sullen, maddened, and rebellious.” That about sums it up.
April O’Neil: Either Erica Halbrook or Noureen DeWulf
Casey Jones: John Scott – Wikipedia: “Casey wears a hockey mask and cut-off biking gloves and carries his weapons in a golf bag over his shoulder. His weapons include baseball bats, golf clubs, cricket bats, and hockey sticks. He is a master of stealth, as he has never been caught by the NYPD despite his bizarre appearance.” Too easy.
Master Splinter: Darcy Regier. He even looks rat-like!
Bebop and Rocksteady: Chris Neil and Milan Lucic. Hulking, lumbering idiots - you always want the Turtles to beat them.
Baxter Stockman: Brad Marchand. He created the Mousers to kill rats, Brad Marchand looks and acts like a rat.
Shredder: Daniel Alfredsson. A compliment really, he tends to shred the Sabres D.
Krang: Gary Bettman. An evil brain that tries to take over Earth. Pretty close.
- Jim Durolek
Leonardo: Thomas Vanek. Easily the most skilled, But also the one that tends to disappear in entire episodes leaving the rest of the team to try and figure it out on their own.
Donatello: Ryan Miller. The elder Statesmen, The smart intellectual force on the team who's unafraid to say it like it is, but in ways you may not understand because you're not on his level. Also he loves the color Purple.
Michelangelo: I had a toss up between Steve Ott, for being a party dude on the ice, and Drew Stafford for being a party dude off the ice. I'm going to lean towards Steve Ott though because Michaelangelo actually helped the team where as Stafford isn't even sure he's playing hockey during a game.
Raphael: Patrick Kaleta, He gets angry, everyone blames him for everything whether it's his fault or not and he tends to run around on his own and get into trouble with the Shanabanner (Master Splinter).
- Gregory Kashmanian
Leonardo: Brian Gionta (Leader = Captain)
Donatello: Carey Price (Very Analytical approach to goaltending, Uses his brain power to keep calm and get the job done)
Michelangelo: P.K. Subban (Looks good in Orange and a Party Dude)
Raphael: Brandon Prust (Angry, Cool but Rude)
- Tony Healey, Jr.
Leonardo: Brian Gionta leads the pack.
Donatello: The brains of the operation is Harvard alum Donatello Louis Leblanc, missing right now in the AHL dungeon.
Michelangelo: Colby Armstrong and there is no way you can convince me otherwise.
Raphael: Of course there's PK "Raphael" Subban; the coolest one
Michael Therrien is Splinter, while the Shredder is of course Pierre Gauthier
- Ash Slaughter
Leonardo: Daniel Alfredsson (fearless leader)
Donatello: Colin Greening (smart, Greening is a Cornell grad)
Michelangelo: Jason Spezza (carefree)
Raphael: Robin Lehner (bad boy, aggressive)
Master Splinter: Coach MacLean
Shredder: Matt Cooke (literally)
- Amy Bell
Leonardo: Milan Michalek - Something about this goal/celebration makes me think of him as Leo. Also, Milo rhymes with Leo.
Donatello: Erik Karlsson - Smartest guy on the ice. I mean, he'd have to be to invent whatever it is that lets him come back 2 months after severing his Achilles (Time machine, robotic tendon, cloning, etc).
Michelangelo: Matt Kassian - From his twitter feed, acts like a fun-loving goofball. Seems like he'd enjoy wacky pizza toppings. Pretty sure he yells Cowabunga when he drops the gloves with someone.
Raphael: Chris Neil - Kind of a jerk, but most people like him anyway (at least in Ottawa). Kind of a hot-head and goes off to do his own thing (and get into trouble) at times.
Splinter: Daniel Alfredsson - Wise old player, taught the young'uns in the ways of Hockey. When the going gets tough, they all look to him to guide them and kick ass.
- Murray Robb
Toronto Maple Leafs
Leonardo: Gonna have to go with Dion Phaneuf for Leo. He's older than many of his teammates and despite his haters, I'd say he still qualifies as a decent leader.
Donatello: I wish I could say Carlyle fits here because he 'uses his knowledge' to solve conflicts. But I'm still not sure how I feel about him. Can't say Grabo because, well, he bit someone. My final answer is Jake Gardiner because he doesn't particularly like to play physical - see 4 hits in 8 GP - which is, I imagine, partly why the "I <3 goon coach" has him in the press box.
Michelangelo: Absolutely Nazem Kadri. Obviously all he did over the summer was eat pizza and relax based on the reports from the Marlies. Oh and I think he just had his 17th birthday.
Raphael: Too easy - Joffrey Lupul He's a straight up bad-ass. Remember back in the day when he swindled all those ladies with the other Flyers party boys? He says what he wants when he wants to and is one of the most aggressive Leafs every night.
- Kristy Reinhardt
New Jersey Devils
Leonardo: Martin Brodeur for sure. Leader and oldest turtle.
Donatello: Ilya Kovalchuk (I guess). This is maybe a stretch.
Michelangelo: Patrick Elias. Joker.
Raphael: David Clarkson. Loyal and aggressive.
- Matt Law
Leonardo: Marty Brodeur - old, steady, old, lead by example type that isn't overtly outspoken. Also old. Probably at this point a little underrated for what he can do because he's been wielding that katana for so long.
Donatello: Patrik Elias - Wiley and cagey. Seems like more of a pacifist who just happens to be involved in violent activities. Better in a supporting role than wearing the 'C.' For some reason I can see him wielding a bow staff in real life for no apparent reason.
Michelangelo: Stefan Matteau - young, brash, has the tools just needs the maturity.
Raphael: David Clarkson - Fiery, some times (read: most times) to his own detriment. Frustrating when pride seems to get in his way and he doesn't see the big picture. Also, whether it's April or every post pubescent female devils fan (all 14 by my last count), seems to be one with the ladies.
And I would love to end by comparing Lou to Splinter as the wise sage whose wisdom you don't really understand until it becomes abundantly clear on its own, but who are we kidding, he's more of a Krang.
- Colin Rafter
New York Islanders
Leonardo: John Tavares
Donatello: Evgeni Nabakov
Michelangelo: Matty Moulson
Rafael: Matt Martin
- Patrick W. Lehmann
Leonardo: John Tavares
Donatello: Kyle Okposo
Michelangelo: Casey Cizikas
Raphael: Matt Martin
- Steve Zee
New York Rangers
Leonardo: Ryan Callahan, fearless leaders. seems to always wanna motivate the other guys and keep moral up. the very idea of leading by example.
Donatello: Dan Girardi…usually the quiet thinker, Girardi seems to quietly be amazing as one of the top D-men in the league. Donatello depicted as the problem solver, just watch Girardi on the PK blocking shots.
Michelangelo: Carl Hagelin or Michael Del Zotto, seemingly young and carefree. Can imagine either of them going around consistently saying "cowabunga" and eating pizza.
Raphael: Ryane Clowe or Arron Asham … trying to be the little bad-ass with an attitude, had this been last year hands down it would be Prust. I also think back to the Ninja Turtles movie from 1990 and recall Raph being in a tub, lethargic from like half the movie and that just seems to remind me of Richards this season. Also Brian Boyle wishes at this point he was the bad-ass, but the sleeping issues are the least of his issues the season.
- Leigh Cuomo
Leonardo: That’s a hard one, because he’s the leader. Uh…geez...let’s
just say Claude Giroux and move on to the next question.
Donatello: Ilya Bryzgalov as is obviously, because Donatello appreciated the
huMANgusness of the universe
Michelangelo: Scott Hartnell, because it’s really easy to imagine him
saying “Cowabunga, Dude” or "bodacious."
Raphael: Zac Rinaldo is because he likes to punch things. See also: Wayne Simmonds. See also: Jay Rosehill. Really, just pick whoever isn’t so beat up that they can still skate.
Kimmo Timonen as Vanilla Ice singing The Ninja Rap.
Casey Jones: Mike Richards. [insert bitter memories of better times here].
Sarah Baicker is The Flying Mutant Ninja Turtles’ version April.
O’Neil. There’s no room for discussion on this.
Splinter: Position vacant. Applicants welcome.
The Foot Clan: The Penguins. Or the Bruins. Or the Rangers. Or all of the above.
Shredder: Dan Bylsma. Or Claude Julien. Or John Tortorella. Or all of
- Alli Jessing
Leonardo: This is clearly Sidney Crosby. He's the undisputed leader of the crew and by far the most disciplined. He doesn't like taking credit as leader and he's the calmest of the four. Give Crosby a blue mask and that's pretty much him. Except, without, you know, the ooze turning him into a mutant thing.
Donatello: As the brainy one of the group, this clearly has to go to Harvard grad Craig Adams. Ever see shots of them on the plane? The rest of the guys are playing video games; Adams is reading some sort of novel about the current socio-political climate or econ.
Michelangelo: Definitely the most carefree and fun-loving turtle of the group. He's playful and easygoing and once stopped a bunch of thieves from stealing the toys of orphaned children. This has to go to Marc-Andre Fleury. Besides, how amazing would it be to hear him attempt to say "Cowabunga!" in his Franglish gibberish?
Raphael: Evgeni Malkin. Raphael is the hotter-headed younger brother of Leonardo and often depicted as moody, emotional, and by far more hot-tempered than his more even-keeled older sibling, though they are equally talented in their art. How well does this describe Malkin, who has prodigious talent but is definitely prone to letting his emotions get the better of him on the ice?
- Alisha Grauso
Leonardo: Leo is the eldest of his peers, is an incredible student and is very well-educated. Takes instruction better than any other member of the team. A leader that commands respect, but does it honorably, and never casts a bad light on the group. Lives the right way and keeps himself on the straight-and-narrow as a leader. He is: Craig Adams.
Donatello: Has vision and intelligence for the objective at hand that nobody on his team, or possibly nobody in the world possesses. He sees angles and solutions nobody else can see. He's soft-spoken, but leads by example. He can use his bow/stick unlike anyone else, inflicting damage to the opposition in any number of directions, positions, and angles. A thinking man's favorite, but gets down and dirty in the muck with the best of them. He is: Sidney Crosby
Michelangelo: Goofy, fun-loving, always with a smile, Michelangelo is among the same age as the group, but always looks and acts like a kid. Distinct, endearing accent. Never gets too low, no matter the circumstances, and boosts morale of his teammates. Let's stuff roll off his shoulders. Often carries many boxes of pizza. He is: Marc-Andre Fleury.
Raphael: Sullen and moody but an incredible warrior that will give his all and his entire body to the cause. Makes rash decisions that either end incredibly or awfully with seldom middle ground. A fiery presence that can usually be found in the middle of a scrum. Almost never cracks a smile, yet many females tend to like that about him, I've found. He is: Kris Letang.
And as a bonus, Master Splinter, is, of course, 66. And April O'Neil is Dan Potash.
- Luke Irwin
Leonardo: Leonardo is a natural leader. He is brave and strategic. So, yeah…we don't have anyone to fit that role in Carolina.
Donatello: Jay Harrison is often cited for being the team genius, so he is a natural fit for Donatello.
Michelangelo: There is no one better to play Michelangelo than Canes’ own comedian, Chad LaRose. Forever young and personable.
Raphael: The brooding and surly Tim Gleason fits the fierce and sarcastic nature of Raphael.
- Kristina Kelly
Leonardo: Eric Staal - Obvious leader and emotional too (see stupid stupid end of game penalties, his freakish screams when scoring goals, etc) Imagine the moment when Leonardo talks to Splinter's flame spirit. Only E. Staal could be in that scene from the 'Canes.
Donatello: Riley Nash (Previously Brandon Sutter). With the departure of Sutter, Nash is my pick for the smartest/headiest player on the team now. He transitioned to the team very well out of Charlotte and looks to stick on the roster starting with next season. This was my hardest pick, as the 'Canes no longer have a super hockey smart player in my opinion anymore (excluding Semin).
Michelangelo: Jeff Skinner. I'd be pretty awesome to imagine Skinner as the most party-ready Turtle, especially with his epic hairstyle that he started the season with. With the teenie-bopper like following he has around here, he'd be all about the girls and pizza. (Hey! Its the Babe from the News!)
Raphael: Alex Semin. He pretty much lines up exactly with Raphael from the movie - sort of quiet and to himself yet has amazing talent and skill when he wants to apply it.
Splinter: Rod Brind'amor. He's the bad-ass teacher of the team now. He has some supreme skills, but now he's become older and less mobile. Even though he's Rod the Bod he needed that stick to be his cane to get around the ice at the end of this career.
Casey Jones: Tim Gleason. He just seems to fit the character to me, with the more literal physical instead of skilled playing style. More Brutal than the turtles, with more grit to his battles.
-- Matthew Kuekes
Leonardo: Tomas Kopecky
Donatello: Brian Campbell
Michelangelo: Kris Versteeg
Raphael: Erik Gudbranson
Tampa Bay Lightning
Leonardo: Vinny Lecavalier as the leader of the bunch.
Donatello: Used his staff as a weapon much like Steven Stamkos.
Michelangelo: Was a big goofball as is Teddy Purcell. I had the opportunity to meet Teddy a few days ago and asked him to clear up the pronunciation of his name (per-suhl vs per-cell) and he replied "It's per-suhl and my mom gets really mad when people get that wrong."
Raphael: Was a sarcastic wise-guy with a bit of a mean streak in him at times. Easily fits as Bugsy Malone although Bugsy isn't as "dark".
Master Splinter: Sami Salo - Because they're both creepy old dudes.
April O'Neil: Eric Brewer - Mostly because "traffic cone" wasn't a TMNT character.
- Jay Marrero
Leonardo: Nicklas Backstrom
Donatello: Troy Brouwer
Michelangelo: Alex Ovechkin
Raphael: John Erskine
- Cory The Horse
Leonardo: Brooks Laich
Donatello: Nicklas Backstrom
Michelangelo: Alex Ovechkin
Raphael: John Erskine
- Tom McRann
Leonardo: The Jets leader, and Captain, Andrew Ladd. Oldest and wisest. Two Cups.
Donatello: Least violent, most creative, Alex Burmistrov. Kid has hands, stays out of the box. Shows up with some flash every once in a while, but spends a lot of time in the shadows of the vets
Michelangelo: Easy. Big Dustin Byfuglien. Fits the description perfectly.
Raphael: Aggressive nature? Check. Not afraid to throw the first punch? Check. Kane goes harder than any Jet, and seems to like the bad boy image. Hangs out with Mayweather and Lil Wayne ya know (I guess).
We can't forget about Master Splinter.
Claude Noel is the Jets Splinter. Noel always has a few gems full of wisdom and insight stated simply at his press conferences. Adopted father of these former Thrashers.
- Dan McArthur
Leonardo: Andrew Ladd - Look at this Tuesday's game against Tampa Bay. Look at his stats this season. Leads on the ice. Leads off the ice, in the dressing room and in the community. Loved by all of Winnipeg. Wears blue.
Donatello: Kyle Wellwood - My section had previously dubbed him "The Professor", AKA "The Dad" of the team. Seems like the most likely guy on the team to be into science and technology, and looks the part - has been seen wearing a dapper (suede?) jacket with elbow patches for one of the in-game charity video montages. Also, Donatello is described on Wikipedia as "the least violent turtle, preferring to use his knowledge to solve conflicts". The only check I've seen him throw this season was when he dodged out of the way of someone aiming for a bodycheck on him... into someone else.
Michelangelo: Dustin Byfuglien - Likes fun (See: boating). Likes pizza (See: him).
Raphael: Claude Noel - Have you seen a Noel post-game presser? Dry wit and sarcasm.