1. Their Lasting Effects On The Franchises

Gretzky 2

Much like the second trilogy which is really the first, there is a mess of conflicting signals of who or what is running the NHL. With the dwindling influences of a humble superstar like Wayne Gretzky, the New Empire has its new puppet emperor in Gary Bettman who does the bidding of the High Lords/Board of Governors. Gone is most of the unpredictability of hockey, as well as actual fights and bench-clearing brawls, leaving their older fans nothing to do but link clips of Paul Newman’s Slapshot to a new generation of hockey fans and weep silently into their pillows at night.

Hockey, like Star Wars, is in need of a new hero. Recent years have placed that marketing mantle on another kid from Canada known as Sid ‘The Kid’ Crosby. However, due to the speed, defense-oriented team play and rock-hard armoring that players wear today concussion problems have already taken their toll on Sid’s ability to live up to the Gretzky-like comparisons.

The role of a designated team Chewbacca is an endangered norm and any unpredictable players that display Han Solo-like qualities are quickly marginalized and become fodder for suspensions and early retirement, many having difficulties in adjusting to this return to normal life. In the summer of 2011, there were three suicides of team enforcers, bringing to bear the difficulties of an evolving sport that required an extreme amount of toughness and/or skill to make it to the big time.

Much like any new characters that entered the new NHL and Star Wars universe since its inception, it is going to be hard to live up to the expectations that Luke, Wayne and George Lucas introduced to us decades ago. While the Star Wars and NHL universes will live on in new forms, new characters and new marketing techniques, nothing will beat the old ways when all it took was one kid, some friends and the willingness to shoot first to truly upset the order of things.

 

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This article was first posted on February 27, 2013