Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

One Ring to Rule Them All

I had noble ambitions for this holiday season, like exercise, sleep, eating from the four food groups and finally starting the first draft of my self-published novel. All of which would have happened, until I tuned into the annual holiday showing of all three Lord of the Rings movies on TNT (Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King) and the World Juniors on the NHL Network. And that is how I came to realize that Peter Jackson’s epics and hockey have a lot in common.

Frodo. Like the Hobbit who takes on the mammoth task of destroying the ring of power and saving the world, the hockey equivalent is a star rookie on whom a franchise hangs its dreams of rebuilding and regaining its championship status. 

Gandalf. A wizard and member of the Fellowship who would make a very good head coach in the NHL. 

Gollum. A power-hungry former Hobbit who has gone mad with desire for the ring; otherwise known to hockey players and fans the world over as Gary Bettman.

Aragorn.  Blessed with unusually long life and a royal bloodline, Aragorn leaves behind life as a ranger and leads the Fellowship on their journey to restore restore peace, prosperity and hope to Middle Earth before taking his rightful place as King. Sounds like the job description for NHL Captains. 

One ring to rule them all. The championship ring that players receive when their team wins the Stanley Cup. 

“You will suffer me.” What Brendan Shanahan says to every player at the start of a Player Safety hearing. Alternatively, what Gary Bettman tells the NHLPA at the start of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

“That was good, let’s get another one!” What every player says immediately after winning their first Stanley Cup.

“Send these foul beasts into the abyss!” What a coach tells players at the end of the pre-game pep talk.

“What’s this, a ranger caught off his guard?” This expression could be used by play-by-play analysts when Henrik Lundqvist makes a mistake.   

“There are older and fouler things in the deep, dark places of the world.” Like used jerseys waiting to be washed after a double-overtime playoff game.

“They have taken two of our friends captive.” In the Two Towers, Merry and Pippin are mistaken for Frodo and kidnapped by the Uruk-hai. The hockey equivalent occurs when an official puts one of the home team's players in the box for a penalty that the player, his coach and hometown fans disagree with.    

“Come Gimli, we are gaining on them.” The Middle Earth version of a penalty kill, in which Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas search for their pint-sized friends.

“Looks like meat’s back on the menu boys.”  Declared by players right before they start a line brawl.

The battle at Helm’s Deep. Game 7 of a Stanley Cup semi-final.

“The great battle of our time” at Minas Tirith.  Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals.

“Come Frodo, it is time.” In the Return of the King, several years after destroying the ring Frodo finally must leave his mortal life in Middle Earth and board the ship to the undying lands with his uncle, Gandalf,  Lord Elrond, Celeborn and Galadriel. In hockey, the equivalent occurs when players who have been saving the hockey world for the better part of 20 years retire to the relatively uninjured lands of TV broadcasting or coaching.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com