COMMENTARY | Television and movie listings tells us the Zombie Apocalypse is apparently inevitable. All those Hollywood types can't be wrong, right?
OK, they're wrong about one thing. I'm not betting Zombie Apocalypse survival on Brad Pitt. I'm going straight down to the rink and getting a squad of hockey players. Who else is better equipped to kick zombie butt than guys armed with sticks, blades and discs of vulcanized rubber?
Here's my zombie survival Sharks starting lineup for getting out of Silicon Valley one step ahead of the undead:
Survival dictates a good start, and Thornton is one of the best faceoff men in the NHL. Before fight, though, you try flight -- surviving zombies isn't about being faster than zombies rather being faster than those around you. If he doesn't win the opening draw, "Jumbo" gives new meaning to "taking the faceoff" as the first guy in the lineup. He's a big target with a lumbering gait. Plus, he's a lot of meat on the hoof, so the zombies will be tied down with a big meal. Either way, Joe gives us the best chance for a fast start.
F Brent Burns
A converted blueliner, Burns brings versatility to the team. He's got a quick release on the wrist shot, able to push the action, and he's not afraid to lean on foes against the boards. Bonus: He already looks like a post-apocalyptic Grizzly Adams. He might not have the same survival skills and ability to live off the land, but at least he has the looks. Plus, we can hide all sorts of zombie contraband in his hair and beard.
F Adam Burish
Burish is the ultimate gamer, a Swiss Army Knife of a player who brings multiple utility to the rink, from taking faceoffs in the defensive zone on penalty kills to fore-checking and applying pressure at the other end.
The downside is, he's not going to light the lamp with lots of goals -- just 26 in 343 career NHL games. However, he's good with a quip and a practical joke, and the Zombie Apocalypse will need occasions of levity and laughter between scrums.
D Dan Boyle
Boyle gets the starting nod for his laser-like slap shot and his power-play leadership. With Boyle commanding from the point and slapping rubber at near 100 mph, the flanks will be covered and action will be pressed deeply in the opponent's zone, keeping the pressure high and wearing them out. Boyle also has the quicks to get back should the action swing the other way. An offensive-minded defenseman keeps the zombies off-balanced.
D Matt Tennyson
Tennyson breaks into the lineup as a hometown boy as he's from Pleasanton, 20 miles up the road. Tennyson brings a native's in-depth knowledge of the lay of the local land. With just four NHL games under his skates, he flies under the radar of the zombie's advance scouts. It's Tennyson's golden opportunity for a breakout performance.
G Alex Stalock
Surprised you by not taking stud goalie Antti Niemi, didn't I? There's good reason. Who am I to lead a counter-offensive against the Zombie Apocalypse? If it wasn't for spell check, I could not spell "apocalypse." So, let's face it, the whole band of us are likely doomed. But, if Brad Pitt does save civilization, at least the Sharks will have a rock like Niemi and his career 2.34 GAA left to tend the goal. And that leaves them in good hands.
Now here's hoping the apocalypse wipes out the entire Western Conference. Post-apocalyptic Stanley Cup, here we come!
@RayHartjen is a longtime rink rat who's been on a decades-long quest to get the stink of hockey gloves off his hands.
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