As a society we are obsessed with comparison. Our insecurity is palpable and on display in a very public way. Social media like Twitter and Facebook while marketed as tools of openness and connection provide greater concealment as they are devoid of real intimacy, an essential component of most meaningful relationships. However, while they allow us to hide behind a veil they meet our need to compare and objectify. On Facebook we fret over who has more friends, cooler pictures, or the best online persona. On Twitter we tweet every little thing that comes to mind hoping to sound original, to stand out, often with disastrous consequences for our personal relationships. Being a child of this age I will succumb to my need to compare, to hold objects under the cold light of scientific analyses! Thus, I give you my All-NHL-NFL team...in honor of the Superbowl of course. Enjoy.
Quarterback: Drew Doughty
. He reminds me of Philip Rivers with his size and mobility, strength and awareness. A cerebral athlete who has a down field bomb. Still lacking in maturity, in time he will develop into the prototypical QB and leader. His backup would be the veteran Brian Rafalski. A mobile QB, who while lacking elite size and strength is blessed with exceptional accuracy, mobility, and smarts. His NFL comparison is Doug Flutie. If Doughty continues to struggle, and the whispers about potential character concerns are true, I'll downgrade his comparison to Jay Cutler.
Running Back: Sidney Crosby. This was an easy choice. Crosby has incredible lower body strength, balance and great speed making him the ideal choice. He has the ability to run inside, bouncing off tacklers, fighting for space, but is most dangerous when hitting the gap or bursting outside. In the mold of Ladainian Tomlinson, Crosby can both catch and run and has great vision and leadership skills.
Wide Receiver: Marion Gaborik. Its difficult to cast many NHL players in this role. Most of the players I looked at seemed to be of Russian decent, highly skilled, and of dubious temperament. I decided to go in a different direction than a Kovalchuck or Semin, and instead go with Gaborik. Gabs has elite speed and acceleration, he is also blessed with sublime hands and quick feet. I compare him to Desean Jackson. Both are extremely fast, slight, injury prone and can lack productivity for stretches of the game. Both however are blessed with big play ability down field.
Slot Receiver: Martin St. Louis. Great quickness and exceptional hands. St. Louis would have little trouble catching the ball in traffic, and has the quickness to escape and run after the catch. Fearless and clutch. NFL comparison is Wes Welker.
Tight End: Rick Nash. Great mobility and speed for a big man. Wonderful hands and is physical. I like my tight end to provide some leadership, and he also needs to be an offensive threat. Nash can do both. Blocking, well I trust this guy to learn almost anything to help the team, no difference here. This guy excels in the red zone. NFL comparison THE Tony Gonzalez.
Offensive Tackle: Zdeno Chara. I'll take this giant to protect my QBs blindside. Good mobility for such a big man, and the strongest player in the league. NFL comparison, Jonathan Ogden.
Center: Douglas Murray. I wanted to go with Shane O'Brien because he looks like a center, but your center needs to be your smartest player, as he is typically the captain of the offensive line and makes a lot of the protection calls: Smart O'Brien is not. Douglas Murray is tough as nails, physical, mobile, and a leader. Plus he is Swedish which means he's smart...His NFL comparison is Jeff Saturday...because their both white and squat.
Defensive End: Chris Stewart. Such a tough pick. I take Stewart because of his size, strait line speed, and hustle. The most important skill an end can have is a motor that won't stop. Stewart seems to have that, even if it gets him in trouble or brings him over the edge on occasion. Plus, Stewart has the moves to finish off the Oline and get to the QB. I won't compare him to Jared Allen yet, but perhaps we can look at him as a Robert Mathis or Trent Cole type. Not elite, but productive do to motor and physical skills.
Defensive Tackle: Dustin Byfuglien. A bowling ball in the middle, big Dustin is disruptive and nasty. He can use his size to take on blockers, or he can use his quickness and strength to rip through the line to the QB. The thing I like most about Byfuglien is his versatility. He can play anywhere on the line, and he can play a speed or power game. Don't piss him off, his bite is for real. NFL comparison, Ndamukong Suh.
Pass Rushing Linebacker: Alex Ovechkin. The guy loves to hit and has elite speed and strength for the position. Crazy hair, and exuberant personality will make him beloved by his teammates and feared by the opposition. When Ovi bursts off the edge even a cracked out Lawrence Taylor has to take notice. NFL comparison, Clay Mathews.
Middle Linebacker: Milan Lucic. Couldn't leave this guy off the team with his size, toughness, and ability to hurt guys. I picture him as a traditional backer who stuffs the run, dropping running backs in their tracks. He can also rush the passer, and if he gets to him it will be ugly and likely result in a turnover. As he develops his defensive awareness his ability to drop back into coverage will increase. I like his potential, and he combines with Ovechkin to provide a formidable core at linebacker. He seems like Richard Butkus but because I've never watched him play I'll go with Patrick Willis.
Safety: Mike Richards. Smart and tough, this guy is a play maker through and through. He can lay guys out with a knockout hit, or he can drop back and pick off a pass. He can play in coverage as well as at the line of scrimmage. His greatest trait though is his leadership, he drives the defense to greater heights. His NFL comparison is Ed Reed.
Corner back: Ryan Kesler and Claude Giroux. I had to go with two guys here as I really like their complimentary skills. Kesler has elite speed, strength, and size for the position. He could come up and help in the run game as well as cover the games bigger, more physical wideouts. Without a doubt he would never give up on a play and would contest the opposition for every ball. With his new found maturity and mental toughness Kesler will have the ability to forget about those plays he does give up. Giroux brings a high IQ and incredible ball awareness to the table. Mechanically he has few peers and while he lacks elite size his foot speed and positioning make him a shutdown corner. Combined they are Darrelle Revis, as individuals they are closer to Tramon Williams and Leon Hall.
Special Teams: Alex Burrows. A self made jack of all trades. Enough speed and skill to play in a starting role, but the heart and work ethic to battle covering kicks or even returning them on occasion. A great locker room guy who won't hesitate to get under his opponents skin. If I was a returner I'd be afraid...No comparison.
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