Welcome back to this week’s edition of The L&F Starting Line Up series! Every week the co-hosts of the Life & Fantasy Podcast, Spence Plamondon and Kaveh Gihdy will face off against Hot Sauce Blogger Jon Eamon in a battle for your votes and affection! We will be drafting weekly line ups based on a specific criteria that pulls inspiration from sports, pop culture and life in general!
As we mentioned in last week’s article, this week’s draft will be based on the cultural phenomenon, Mortal Kombat! Just like the cover picture would suggest, all three of us are fans of the video game/movie franchise so why not have some fun with this and get some pop culture involved.
- Only characters from the first three video games
- Must fill out a standard NHL line up
Simple right?! Without further ado here is the resulting draft board.
PICK 1 – TEAM SPENCE
LW – Reptile
C – Sub-Zero
RW – Noob Saibot
LD – Nightwolf
RD – Sonya Blade
G – Goro
So once again, I burned Jon on goalies. We were trying to decide who would go first overall and I was like “I’ll do it, I’ve got a controversial pick in mind” thinking that going with Goro as my goalie would be just that. Turns out he had the exact same plan.
And for good reason – Goro is a generational talent in net here. I know, it’s bold. Wait until you see the contract I’m about to sign him to. But seriously, with Goro in nets, what’s getting by him? With a Hextall-like temper, you could get him off his game – but you’d likely end up being thrown into the nosebleeds by four arms attached to the same body.
With my next three picks, I built my forward line. This is my Mortal Kombat version of Boston’s top line. You’ve got Reptile at left wing being a slick, sh*t disturbing SOB with plenty of finesse (Brad Marchand), you’ve got an all-time warrior in Sub-Zero at centre, as smart as he is skilled (Patrice Bergeron), and you’ve got Noob Saibot on the right wing. Saibot was actually the OG Sub-Zero before being killed and having his soul sent to the undead body of Noob Saibot. Saibot’s brother would then take on the Sub-Zero mantle, so they’re actually brothers, which makes my Boston comparison fall apart a bit. Regardless, he’s my David Pastrnak. A ruthless SOB that initially used Scorpions dagger, you better believe he can pick his corners.
The draft actually got away from me a bit when Jon took Jax – I had actually intended to go back-to-back with Jax and Sonya Blade as my Pronger-Niedermayer duo on the back end. The Jax pick forced me to rethink that though, which led to my to to going Saibot and Nightwolf.
Nightwolf is just awesome. He’s always been underrated and under appreciated, he was the only character capable of redirecting projectile attacks back at their opponent in the original trilogy, he’s a shaman, and he’s deeply committed to good. Oh yeah, he’s a fierce warrior as well. That’s the kinda leadership you look for.
With my last pick, I decided that Niedermayer without Pronger is still a whole hell of a lot better than having neither. Sonya Blade lines up at right defence here, making for some very interesting matchups against Jon – who has Jax as his left wing.
PICK 2 – TEAM JON
LW – Jax
C – Raiden
RW – Liu Kang
LD – Smoke
RD – Shao Khan
G – Sheeva
Spence dropped the Goalie dagger on me two weeks in a row! I really wanted the four armed goalie so I still got my girl in Sheeva who will look to channel her inner Carey Price for the team. Outside of this small adjustment on the fly my top 3 picks went exactly how I wanted them to. I have my big, strong, stay at home Right Shot defender in Shao Khan à la Shea Weber. The haters are sure to hate this pick but I would be careful, you really don’t want to make Shao Khan mad.
Raiden was a must for me a center. the god of Thunder is on of the most powerful and wise characters in the game in my opinion. He is a natural leader and isn’t afraid to literally lay his life on the line for others just like he did when he gave up his immortality.
I wanted to make sure to insulate Raiden with two players that have complimentary skill sets. Liu Kang was the original champ and just like Shao Khan, you don’t want to see him mad and transform! Kang’s skill set makes him the perfect well rounded player with great hands, incredible feet and he can literally shot fireballs at the other team’s goalie. On the opposite wing we have power shooter Jax who is literally afraid of no one and is quite possibly one of the pound for pound strongest characters in MK.
With my last pick I needed to address one major issue with this team, speed. As a cyborg, Smoke’s stealth and speed were his calling card and he can literally turn himself invisible. Despite comparing Shao Khan to Weber, I wanted a pairing to replicate my favourite pairing ever; Niedermayer and Stevens. I think I did that. My original D pairing in my head was Shao Khan and Scorpion, because well good luck getting around that. Even if you somehow manage to do that, Scorpion will spear you and you will hate your life. Smoke has that same spear ability, however you will not hear him scream: “GET OVER HERE!”.
PICK 3 – TEAM KAVEH
LW – Kabal
C – Shang Tsung
RW – Scorpion
LD – Sektor
RD – Baraka
G – Cyrax
No matter how this fell, I was gonna be happy with my team. If Spence and Jon decided to go in different directions, I would’ve loved getting some of their guys, their teams are just wicked. I started off not knowing what to expect, but by the third pick I was able to see what I was going for. Saw Spence going with size in net and realized I didn’t particularly wanna go that route.
So I started with Shang Tsung, the shapeshifting bugger, your perfect jack of all trades centermen, gonna play as well in the offensive zone as he does in the defensive zone. Exactly why I picked a high scoring Leon Draisaitl-type in Scorpion as my second pick, he should compliment Shang Tsung just fine.
I completed the front trio with Kabal, a quick winger to play with my two-way center, and one that can keep up with Scorpion’s elite talent. After that, it was time to solidify my back end with a big, nasty top end defensemen in Baraka. I wouldn’t wanna see that guy on my way down the ice. Oh, did I mention he has a hell of an offensive upside too with those sharp blades? I love the way I finished the draft with a couple of robotic fighters. Told ya I wouldn’t go with size in nets, instead I went with speed and technique: Cyrax is my Juuse Saros, that small little guys that gets the job done and punches above his weight class. I just had to pick his robot counterpart in Sektor to help him clear out the front of the net no problem.
As a quick side bar, here are the updated standings from last week’s draft!
Be sure to let us know who’s team you think is the best, as well as what Mortal Kombat characters you would use to create your ultimate NHL starting line up! Be sure to check back in next week as we will be drafting either a line up of players ONLY from the 1997-98 season, or possibly Round 2 of our playoff pool (depending on scheduling)!
As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check out our Youtube channel for all our podcasts and videos! In this week’s episode of Healthy Skratch Spence, Tyler and Kris jump head first into the NHL playoffs and take a deep dive into the Habs and Leafs series which great breakdowns and insights on both sides!