With the newest Star Wars movie opening around the country tonight, today we decided to take a break from the norm and try to re-cast the Star Wars series using players and executives from the Buffalo Sabres. We won't spoil anything from the new movie (and nobody else should either!) but let's see which Sabres players fit nicely into George and JJ's ever-growing universe.
Ryan O'Reilly as young Obi-Wan Kenobi
The Obi-Wan of the prequels is portrayed as a man who can do everything and do it well. Diplomacy, lightsaber duels, dogfights in space, and some light detective work are all par for the course for this Jedi, who would eventually be given the rank of General. General O'Reilly sounds about right for the man who's been the main driving force behind pretty much everything the Sabres have done this year. Plus they both grow some killer beards.
Jack Eichel as Anakin Skywalker
What, not Luke? Eichel fits the role of Anakin more appropriately because for Buffalo he represents The Chosen One, the man prophesied to bring balance to the Force/McDavid. Oh, and also because the Sabres organization did slightly evil things to get him. In the beginning of the series, Anakin is simply a walking ball of talent that has yet to be fully realized, and that's what we're seeing this year with Eichel. Will he ever be as feared around the league as Vader was accross the galaxy? We hope so, but this youngling still has a ways to go.
Sam Reinhart as Luke Skywalker
Pure of heart, tons of potential, and often overshadowed by his cooler friends, Reinhart fits the bill of Luke to a T. He may not be your favorite character, but he always gets the job done thanks to his wide-reaching and powerful group of comrades as well as his own considerable talents. And after getting knocked down (to juniors/the Cloud City basement) they both came back stronger the second time.
Brian Gionta as Yoda
Brian Gionta is a physically diminutive leader who did incredible things in the past (remember his 48 goal season in 2005?) but has now become a shadow of his former self. Yoda spends much of the prequels getting into acrobatic lightsaber battles, then in his old age he can't keep Luke from running off to face Vader before his training is complete, all while hiding important, game-changing truths for dubious reasons. Much like Yoda went in to hibernation on Dagobah, soon should Brian Gionta hibernate on the third line.
Evander Kane as Han Solo
Talented, handsome, and cocky with a heart of gold, Kane is Solo on skates. Plus they both have the coolest cars around - I heard Kane's ride can make the (Phil) Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.
Zach Bogosian as Chewbacca
He was a package deal with Kane/Solo, grows a phenomenal beard, and everyone knows that the co-pilot always chooses the music, just like DJ Zach does for the pregame warmups. Wish the Sabres could trade for Brent Burns on this one, though.
Mark Pysyk as Wedge Antilles
Full disclosure here, Wedge is maybe my favorite Star Wars character thanks to his recently retconned history in the SW expanded universe (the stories set after Episode VI). He's the guy who pulls out of the Death Star trench run in Episode IV ("Get clear Wedge, you can't do any more good back there"), he gets excited about blowing up an AT-AT on Hoth ("WAH! That got him!") and is the only person to survive the runs on both the first and second Death Star. Mark Pysyk shares many qualities with the man who would go on to command both Rogue and Wraith Squadron. Like Wedge, Pysyk is often unassuming on the ice, but is really, really good at what he does. Like a good commander, he makes his teammates better, and is always there to bail his friends out of trouble. They each have a good sense of humor and boyish charm, and both have an underrated role in their respective workplaces.
Rasmus Ristolainen as C-3PO
Ristolainen's primary function is etiquette and protocol, which explains why he has yet to take a minor penalty this season.
Dan Bylsma as General Jan Dodonna
For those who aren't well versed in the minor characters of the Star Wars Universe, General Dodonna is the bearded guy explaining how the attack on the Death Star will work in Episode IV. He was a decorated Star Destroyer captain with the Empire, but defected from their evil organization to help lead a ragtag group of young upstarts known as the Rebellion. Dan Bylsma was a celebrated coach who defected/was fired from from the Penguins empire and now leads a ragtag group of young upstarts known as the Buffalo Sabres.
Tim Murray as Senator Palpatine
No, he's not the evil emperor yet, but Senator Palpatine is the kindly, public face of the man who's secretly manipulating everyone else in order to achieve his master plan. Isn't it obvious that the only way Murray pulled off the O'Reilly/McGinn trade is by using some "These aren't the players you're looking for" Jedi mind tricks? And I cant wait for the Old Republic Draft where Palpatine shocks the world by walking up to the podium and simply stating, "The Empire selects Anakin Skywalker".
Gary Bettman as the Trade Federation
Those two inept alien guys you hated from the prequels who sided with the bad guys, were only in it for the money, constantly screwed everything up, and talked with weird accents? Sounds about right.
How'd we do? Have any better Sabres/Star Wars crossovers for us? Let us know in the comments.