Let’s be honest, hockey fans are pretty much one-track minds. We like winter. We like cold. We like ice. We don’t really know what to do with ourselves between June and September. Therefore, I direct you all to the Kings of Summer, Offseason Champs, our very own Washington Redskins.
Since we as hockey fans don’t really know all of the details of the complex alternate universe that is the Redskins organization, I have put together a quick guide to get to know the characters of Wonderland. Welcome down the Rabbit Hole. We have cookies.
Dan Snyder = Glen Sather
We begin at the top of the Burgundy and Gold food chain with the owner and Mister Moneybags himself. Not unlike Mr. Sather, Snyder is known for frugality in his business practices. He enjoys long baths in his cash and over paying sub-par players who have passed their prime. When he’s not too busy instituting a dictatorship at FedEx Field, Danny plays with his toys…er, football operations staff…making sure the revolving door hits them hard on the butt on their way out. Plus, he essentially gave himself Glen Sather’s GM job for life. I mean, Snyder would even support Sather offering Wade Redden a nearly 7 mil per year deal…wait, what?
Bruce Allen = Dale Tallon
It would be hard to find teams in bigger messes than the Washington Redskins and the Florida Panthers before these two showed up. Allen uprooted the
cause of all known evil former VP in charge of Football Operations Vinny Cerrato and instantly brought in his own people. He hired Mike Shanahan as head coach and gave him free reign to assemble his coaching staff. Allen has been given the big boy pants and permission from Puppet Master Snyder to have actual control over the football operations, a responsibility his predecessor was not burdened with (Vinny and Danny would have slumber parties and Danny would convince him to do something silly or there would be no s’mores next time).
Mike Shanahan = Lindy Ruff/John Tortorella
This one was more difficult, because there isn’t a coach in the NHL quite like Shanahan. He has the audacity, fire, and water bottle aim of John Tortorella, but also the establishment, seasoning, and decency of Lindy Ruff. A well-respected veteran coach, Shanahan forces his players to actually play. He has disposed of many once-great veterans who he felt didn’t measure up anymore. He was going to start Haynesworth on the second string defense yesterday, and it left and after-taste of Tortorella benching Sean Avery on any number of occasions. He lays down the law and those who don’t fall in line are tossed.
Donovan McNabb = Jarome Iginla
A veteran leader, McNabb says all of the right things on and off the field. He handled his trade last spring with grace and dignity. Like our fine Iginla, the former Pro-Bowl quarterback is now burdened with the success of the team. He must make them into winners with little help from the supporting cast carefully crafted for the 2001 Pro-Bowl. Both are/will be judged by their team’s record, even if it’s not entirely fair. They are also both at the top of their respective positions, in addition to their superb acting skills. (McNabb, Iginla)
Albert Haynesworth = Dany Heatley
Disgruntled. Selfish. Fat. All these words (ok, maybe not the last one for Heatley) have been used to describe both of these talented players. Heatley signs big contract (by NHL standards) then demands trade. Haynesworth signs a 100 million dollar contract, accepts 21 mil bonus, demands trade. Heatley throws a hissy fit over where he is traded to, Haynesworth throws a hissy fit about which 5 ft patch of grass he will have to run over before he hauls himself to the bench for oxygen. These are both players who have had incredible seasons in the past and get paid like they still have those incredible seasons. Last summer was Heatley’s saga, while this summer belongs to the 2007 Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Fat Albert.
Santana Moss = Sergei Fedorov
Every team needs a veteran presence to bring along the rookies, and at the wide receiver position for the Washington Redskins, that player is Santana Moss. The 2005 Pro Bowler has been helping players like Malcolm Kelly develop now that he is in the latter stage of his career, not unlike how Fedorov helped bring along Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich. Though Sergei Fedorov was never involved in a steroids scandal.
Clinton Poris = Sean Avery
Because so much of this offseason has revolved around Fat Al, we’ve gotten a bit of a respite from Portis’ usual antics. Both Portis and Avery enjoy candlelit dinners and making inappropriate, stirring comments to the press. They love the media game and crave attention, though unlike Avery, Portis actually has the on-field running back skills to back up his mouth. No reports yet as to whether former Jason Campbell has tried to pick up Portis’ sloppy seconds.
London Fletcher = Brooks Laich
The worker. The grinder. The underappreciated. These players have dirty jobs and do them well. Fletcher is a linebacker who shows up to every practice, gets behind every workout, and provides quotes to the media while doing it. He is the ultimate team player, and has earned the respect of the football community because of it. While Letcher doesn’t quite have Laich’s smoldering stare into your soul and wears more than one t-shirt, their hearts are in the same place. And that place is on the field/ice, with their team.
Chris Cooley = Alex Ovechkin
Is this really a surprise to anyone? There is no doubt these guys are the superstars. They are colorful and goofy, and they are the media faces of their franchises. Chris Cooley has won the hearts of fans not only with his Pro Bowl tight end play, but also with his videos and website, where he records himself doing everything from making breakfast to commissioning a Redskins Fantasy Football league.. He even made videos in the hospital after he had surgery to repair his broken ankle last season. Fittingly, these two athletes are friends as Cooley can frequently be seen at Caps games. Also, Ovechkin has taken in more than a couple of Redskins games.
See hockey fans? Football is fun! Who doesn’t love egos and hundreds of millions of dollars clashing like one of Sean Avery’s bad fashion decisions? This is the low down on the main players in this never-ending story, so I hope you feel fully equipped for training camp. Take your newfound knowledge and use it wisely!
If you have any other comparisons that I missed, feel free to add them in the comments section!