It is the time of year when there is not much going on in the hockey world other than CBA negotiations. I would like to know the details of the new labour agreement when it is reached and am not interested in hearing about the posturing that takes place while each side negotiates their way to a conclusion and reporters speculate on the potential for doom and gloom. As a result, it can be a little difficult to come up with interesting ideas to write about at right now.
At the same time, a sporting event is going on that I do have great interest in. I love watching the Olympics and letting my blind patriotism loose every two years. So I started to think about how I could mix a post combining the Winnipeg Jets and the Olympics. NHL players are world class athletes that surely would excel in other venues if given the opportunity. So I have bravely decided to answer the question that the local beat writers refuse to discuss, which Olympic event is each Winnipeg player best suited for?
Note: The criteria I have used to select an event for each player varies widely and may at times defy logic. To add to the degree of difficulty for this post, I allowed myself to use an event only once and to consider field hockey off limits.
Nik Antropov - Beach Volleyball
- Antropov is tall, has decent reflexes and he is more athletic than he looks which makes him an ideal man to put at the net. Plus, he often looks like he is daydreaming about relaxing on a beach.
Zach Bogosian - Fencing
- Bogo has a killer instinct while avoiding the label of a dirty player. A gentlemanly sport that mimics a duel to the death seems ideal.
Dustin Byfuglien - Equestrian
- Buff loves to take risks, but does not have the energy to make up for situations where he makes mistakes. Equestrian is perfect, because the horse does most of the work. I do not mean to belittle equestrian riders, but Ian Millar is 65 years old and about to compete in his tenth Olympics, energy and stamina are not the keys to this sport. Imagine how much more effective Byfuglien would be if he could catch a ride back to the defensive zone. Due to his size the horse may object to this pairing.
Alexander Burmistrov - Badminton
- Burmi is quick, has good reflexes and coordination and his puckhandling skills should translate to good racket skills.
Grant Clitsome - Synchronized swimming
- It would have been a travesty to not pair a player with this sport, and aside from his name Clitsome does not stand out in any way. If he needs pointers he can always consult Martin Short.
Tobias Enstrom - Football
- Enstrom's solid positioning skills would transfer easily to a non-contact sport. And I bet that Enstrom's ability to calmly advance the puck up the ice would translate very well to the footie pitch where he could hit a winger in stride with a pinpoint pass. The only drawback is that there are probably managers out there hoping to get bigger and more physical.
Ron Hainsey - Sailing
- This is a tough one. Hainsey is from Connecticut which has a bit of an elitist feel. Other than dressage, sailing is about as elite a sport as you can get. Plus, Hainsey looks like he could handle himself on a sailboat.
Olli Jokinen - Riflery
- Jokinen has been referred to as a sniper at times, making the only event to include firearms a good fit.
Evander Kane - Boxing
- This was probably the easiest pairing to make. His parents named him after Evander Holyfield and his biggest claim to fame in the league up to this point is his knockout of Matt Cooke.
Andrew Ladd - Decathlon
- Ladd is a well rounded player that does a lot of stuff well but he does not have one individual skill that makes him elite. Thus the ten event test of overall athleticism is the choice.
Bryan Little - Track Cycling
- Little is fast and has great leg strength but does not have the typical size of a track sprinter. His floppy hair could remind people of Curt Harnett, making him right at home on a bike.
Antti Miettinen - Race Walking
- Mittens does some things kind of well, but he does not do anything well enough to stand out. I assume that these are the same traits of the people who are not quite good enough at traditional sports but whose competitive spirit does not allow them to fade away to a sedentary lifestyle so they keep trying new things until one day they wake up and find themselves at the start line of a race walk.
Al Montoya - Steeplechase
- Montoya and this event have some things in common. Montoya was considered a marquee prospect when he was selected sixth overall in the draft and the steeplechase was one of the marquee events in the early Olympics. Now, it would not be a surprise if both of them were cut by the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Ondrej Pavelec - Trampolining
- With all of Pavs' acrobatic bouncing and flopping in the crease, this sport seems like a perfect fit.
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Handball
- Poni is the type of player who does not get noticed a lot, and if not for his time as a Maple Leaf he would have spent his career in obscurity. Handball is similar. No one can name the reigning Olympic champion of the sport, but at the end of the day competitors still get to say that they are Olympic athletes in the same way that Poni will get to look back and say that he played in the NHL for over twelve years.
Paul Postma - 4x100 Meter Relay
- In 1996 Canada won the gold medal in this event with three world class sprinters (Donovan Bailey, Bruny Surin and Glenroy Gilbert) and one guy that was just happy to be along for the ride (Robert Esmie). At this point in his career, Postma is just happy to be on the Jets' roster.
Jim Slater - Diving (10M platform)
- Slater has said that he would love to go to outer space, so the height of the high dive should not be a problem for him. (Oh boy, we are really reaching now)
Mark Stuart - Canoe (Slalom)
- Stuart has the rugged outdoorsy look of a guy that would grab his canoe and disappear for a week to explore his home state while portaging between several of the 10,000 lakes.
Chris Thorburn - Judo
- Thorburn is a tough guy that likes to mix it up, but his athletic skills are more varied than a player stuck with the goon label. So his combat skills seem best suited to a sport like judo.
Kyle Wellwood - Rhythmic Gymnastics
- Welly is not nearly athletic enough for regular gymnastics, but with his great hands and maneuvarability I bet he could do some really artistic stuff with the ribbon.
Blake Wheeler - Basketball
- When Wheels drives to the net he often tries to put the opposing defenceman on his back in a way that is reminiscent of a power forward making a post move from the block.
Do you think that any of these pairings are off base? Are there advanced statistics that would aid in making the determinations? If so, share in the comments.