Guess who’s back, back again?
Brownie’s back, tell a friend.
That’s right boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, I’m back with the companion piece to the Heroes Squad. You lucky motherfuckers, it’s finally time for the (cue dramatic entrance music) Villains Roster. I was waiting for the
inevitable possible maybe? please big splash that Don Sweeney and Co were going to make in free agency with some kind of trade… or signing… or news about Bergy… or news about Krejci… but still we wait. Collectively the lonely eyes of the Black and Gold Faithful turn to me: for entertainment? Sure. For information? Maybe. For a completely useless exercise that involves hockey? Abso-fucking-lutely.
Just to refresh your memory on how this game works, I took all the rosters of the 2022 playoff teams (minus the Bruins) and picked squads of Heroes and Villains. The teams are comprised of 2 players from each of those teams and not only did I construct rosters, but I made lines and Black Aces too. I mean where else will you get this kind of dedication to something so absolutely ridiculous?
So to recap, these are the teams that made the playoffs this past season:
Pittsburgh Florida Washington Tampa Bay
Toronto Carolina NY Rangers St. Louis
Colorado Calgary Dallas Los Angeles
Minnesota Nashville Edmonton (Boston)
Now when I assembled the Hero Squad, there were some questionable submissions (I mean outside of his family who else calls Corey Perry a hero?), but overall, it was fairly easy to stack that roster. Two guys per team that I could actually root for and/or respect the way they play. For a few teams, I could have had 4 or 6 players that I would put on the Hero Squad, so I was anticipating the same dynamic in building the Villain Roster. Oh, how I was wrong. The hard part of this squad was LIMITING it to only 2 players per team. You could put the entire roster of the Lightning or the Maple Leafs on here and I wouldn’t complain. Which made me realize that there are too many players in today’s NHL that don’t play a complete game. Too many 100-foot studs out there. I guess you can’t all be Patrice Bergeron, but goddamit you should all try to be.
Ok, enough jibber-jabber. Let’s get into it:
(and yes, I know a lot of these players have moved to diff teams, this was based on rosters at the start of the playoffs)
LW C RW
Alex Ovechkin WAS Leon Draisitl EDM Nikita Kucherov TBL
Mika Zibanejad NYR Evgeni Malkin PGH Austin Matthews TOR
Nazem Kadri COL Sebastian Aho CAR Joe Pavelski DAL
Filip Forsberg NSH Blake Coleman CGY Tom Wilson WAS
Tony DeAngelo CAR Kris Letang PGH
John Klingberg DAL Ryan Lindgren NYR
Morgan Reilly TOR Ben Chariot FLA
Andrei Vasilevskiy TBL
Darcy Kuemper COL
Sergei Bobrovsky FLA
Jordan Binnington STL
Alexander Edler LAK
Tyson Barrie EDM
Jordie Benn MIN
Brendan Lemieux LAK
Alex Gologoski MIN
Mikael Granlund NSH
David Perron STL
Brett Ritchie CGY
Ok, let the haters hate. As we’ve discussed here many times in the past, this is my blog so if you don’t like it hit the big X in the top right. I mean if you made it this far, we got the click so too bad, so sad. Per usual, feel free to sound off with how much you agree with me @abrow28
The top line is only going as far as Draisitl can carry those 2 floaters, and the 2nd line is made up of such 10ply head cases it makes me nauseous. All 6 of these guys can play, no argument there, but holy fuck do they whine up and down the ice. Palms up hockey, always looking to the refs for the call and Ovechkin and Kucherov might be 2 of the low-key dirtiest players in the game. We all saw Kucherov’s hissy fit as the time wound down in the Finals, maybe the softest minute I’ve seen outside of a kid’s soccer game. An absolute mental midget.
The 2nd line would be dominant in the regular season and then disappear in the playoffs. Holy fuck does Zibanejad float out there (shades of Jake DeBrusk), but at least he knows where his own defensive zone is. As for Matthews, how are you supposed to be the “face of US Hockey” and you get taken off the ice for defensive zone draws in close games? I mean Tomas Nosek gets put ON for those faceoffs here in the Hub of Hockey. And Geno? All pouty that PGH was (rightly) going to move on for a frequently injured, constant head case of a player? GTFOH. I would have let him walk to free agency. Good thing Sid stuck up for him.
(Editor’s Note: We attempted to put a picture of either Matthews or Malkin in their own defensive zone and after combing the interwebs we were unable to find proof that such an image actually exists. Once again, Brownie was right.)
The bottom 6 have some redeemable characters in Kadri and Coleman (I know, that felt odd to type), I like both their games (now) but it’s tough to wash off that Toronto and Tampa stink respectfully. Pavelski is “great at everything he does”, except win when it counts. And you can keep Aho and Forsberg, couple of Stay-Puft marshmallow softies right there. Of course, no roster of shitbags is complete without the master of the blind side: Tom Wilson. Can’t wait to see Matthew Tkachuk get under his skin this upcoming season.
On the back end, you have DeAngelo and Letang. A racist and a prima donna, should be a perfect pair. They can both play, but I wouldn’t want to have beers with either of them. Klingberg is on here because I’m so tired of hearing about him getting traded without him actually getting traded, and Lindgren is only on here because he should still be a Bruin. Imagine trading this stud for the ghost of Rick Nash? Morgan Reilly and Ben Chariot will always be a Leaf and a Hab and for that you get on the Villains Squad.
In net, you got Vasilevskiy and Kuemper. At times Vasi looked very ordinary in this year’s playoffs and that’s refreshing for the rest of the East. I put Kuemper on here because he was outplayed by his backup Pavel Francouz, for good chunks of this year’s campaign.
For the Black Aces, there’s nothing too egregious, just things that I’d like to see. Jamie Benn vs. Jordie Benn is always fun to watch, so Jordie’s on this squad. Binnington is the definition of what we used to call a “telephone tough guy”, talk about someone who needs his ass kicked. Perron is on my list of biggest scumbags in the league and the absolute poster boy of crying to the refs after he slew foot someone else. Lemieux – do I need to explain? And for the love of God, can we please be done with the brothers Ritchie?
So there you have it Dear Reader, my list of the Villains Squad. A fun exercise that I hope bridges the gap between the frenzy of free agency (except for here in Boston) and the start of training camp (still no word on 37 or 46). Check out the podcast and as always, thanks for reading.