During the regular season, I made a promise. Or, I suppose, I predicted I’d write a piece like this. Well, it’s time for me to pay the piper. We’ve got a long offseason ahead of us. Sure, we’ll get a few pieces here and there. After all, Jack Eichel still hasn’t been traded. But what happens while we wait? What do starving hockey fans do when they’re strapped for news? If NHL players were vegetables, what would they be?
Never fear, readers. Jake’s got some fresh content for you.
NHL Players As Vegetables
Yep. That’s right. This is actually happening. This offseason has already shaped up to be one of the most exciting offseasons fans have experienced in years. From the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft to the wild flurry (Fleury?) of trades, many teams look completely different. Fortunately, like vegetables, these players are still around through rain or shine.
What we need more than anything this offseason is content. Words to keep friends, family, and arch enemies alike entertained. Something to sate the appetites of countless fans, chomping at the bit for a crumb of content. Nobly, I will shoulder this burden. With that being said, here you go. Here’s what you asked for. NHL players as vegetables. Are you happy yet? Don’t worry — you will be.
Mark Stone: Onion
Sometimes, it can be easy to forget the onion — but to do so is to invite mediocrity to your dish. You think to yourself “tomato, lettuce, pepper, and — oh yeah, onion!”. Onions add the extra oomph that turns a recipe from good to great. Mark Stone is an onion. He’s a key ingredient to the Vegas Golden Knights. Without their captain, the team simply wouldn’t be the same. He’s treasured by his team for his terrific offense and incredible two-way play. Like the onion, Stone is as versatile as he is integral to any good success story.
Johnny Gaudreau: Brussels Sprout
Brussels sprouts are little but come packed with nutrients. When Gaudreau was drafted, many had doubts about his NHL viability due to his size. Now, the Calgary Flame is a key offensive contributor in the NHL. The 5’9″ forward is a prolific goal-scorer packed with potential when properly utilized. Like Brussels sprouts, he works best when provided a solid supporting cast. Brussels sprouts just need some drizzle and a little time in the oven to come into their own. Similarly, Gaudreau just needs a solid first-line entre to really make the most of his skillset.
Dougie Hamilton: Broccoli
Younger people tend to hate broccoli. It’s got a strange texture and its flavor often deters even the hungriest of children. As you get older, you tend to appreciate the things you may have disliked when you were a kid. Dougie Hamilton is broccoli for that reason. He’s not the flashiest or most eye-catching player. An “eye test” fan may write him off prematurely. But, as the world of analytical hockey evolves, many have begun to acknowledge Dougie’s excellence. Like broccoli, he’s an acquired taste — but one that pays dividends in the long run.
Artemi Panarin: Zucchini
Now we’re getting to the fun veggies. Zucchini can be enjoyed on its own, but it really takes off with a little bit of sizzle. Artemi Panarin is one of the best forwards in the NHL. When paired with a guy like Mika Zibanejad, he becomes the best winger in the NHL. Zucchini, when cooked and served properly, is a top-tier vegetable. It’s a mainstay in countless recipes for its rich flavor and its bounty of nutrients. There’s no questioning that, in a fair fight, zucchini would be a finalist in a Vegetable Free-for-All.
Connor McDavid: Kale
Nutritionists classify kale as a “supergreen”. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. The only problem is that it’s not fun to eat. It’s bitter, crunchy, and not very fun to eat. Connor McDavid is the most electrifying player in the NHL. He’s capable of turning even the most middling forward into a 20-goal scorer. Having said that, his interviews leave a lot to be desired. Even his apartment was the subject of ridicule on Twitter for a short while. Show us some personality, Connor! We love you!
Note: Cale Makar is not kale. Despite his name, he’s spinach; a key ingredient to some of the best recipes in the world.
Alex Ovechkin: Potato
Who doesn’t love potatoes? They’re a delicious centerpiece to any recipe worth its salt. Potatoes can be cooked in 63 different ways, according to Fine Dining Lovers. Funny enough, 63 goals is just two shy of Alex Ovechkin‘s career-high regular-season record of 65 goals. When it comes to enjoying potatoes, you know exactly what kind of flavor you’re going to get. The same can be said of Ovi. He’s going to score a lot of goals from the same spot. It’s hard to be disappointed by potatoes — or a lot of NHL goals, for that matter. Anyone who disagrees is just fundamentally wrong. Or they have no taste.
Brock Nelson: Pumpkin
As far as NHL players and vegetables go, there’s no better fit than Brock Nelson and pumpkins. Both thrive in October and are staples of their reflective holidays (Halloween and Brocktober, respectively). Both are still enjoyed out of their season, but aren’t given the kudos they deserve during the other 11 months. Pumpkin pie is an underrated pie — in fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s the best type of pie. Nelson simply does not get the credit he deserves on the New York Islanders roster. It’s a travesty that both go most of the year without additional recognition. This one goes out to the underrated ones. The Brock Nelsons of the world. Take a bow. You’ve earned it.
Carey Price: Pepper
When peppers are hot, they’re hot. There are times where Carey Price will embark on a tear through the NHL, dominating his competition. These hot streaks are why he’s a pepper. He’s already spectacular on his own, but with a little help from his friends, he can reach new heights. With that said, you can’t just enjoy peppers as a meal. You need multiple ingredients to make a good dish. Peppers can be the centerpiece, sure, but they can’t carry (Carey?) the load on their own. They, like Price, deserved better than the heartbreaking 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
Main Photo:Embed from Getty Images