If you’re anything like me, you know that heart matters more than Corsi in the NHL. There’s a problem, though — when you’re having a civil shouting match with a fireman, there’s no definitive proof that you can throw in their face.
Ever since the Leafs hired that guy from the Doobie Brothers, I’ve been searching high and low for a way to tear down Big Corsi once and for all. Finally, after a largely futile effort, I finally realized the answer was right in front of me — NHL14.
What follows is my account of designing and building two teams shaped around the heart and Corsi identities, and squaring them off against one another. The goal was to see which team, in this super accurate hockey simulator, would emerge victorious.
Everyone knows that the most important part of any hockey team is how it presents itself aesthetically. I had to make sure that the essence of each team was captured by how it looked on the ice.
For Team Corsi, I chose to make the primary color brown, because that is the color of poop. The secondary color is yellow because not only is it the color of pee, but it is also the color most commonly associated with cowards.
Team Heart obviously had to have a better looking jersey, especially considering that supporters of Corsi think that only the stats matter and tend to shun anything else. The primary color is red because, well, it is Team Heart after all. For the logo, I chose this badass demon dude with a huge bicep because this team was going to beat the shit out of the opposition. I also opted for the old Minnesota Wild number font, because it’s sharp and also totally rad.
With the jersey’s set, I moved on to the next logical step…
Building Team Heart was quite the task — there are so many players with so much truculence and grit in the league, it was hard to narrow it down. I counseled with a few other master hot takists, who helped me build the following lineup:
Dan Carcillo – Dave Bolland – Shawn Thornton
Zac Rinaldo – Mike Brown – Tanner Glass
Krys Barch – Tom Sestito – Colton Orr
Luke Gazdic – John Scott – Cam Janssen
Brooks Orpik – Douglas Murray
Matt Carkner – Deryk Engelland
Jay Rosehill – Sheldon Brookbank
Pretty amazing, huh? The compete level of this team is through the fucking roof, and each forward line has at least three guys who will throw punches if necessary. I decided to designate Dave Bolland as the captain for obvious reasons, with Zac Rinaldo and Dan Carcillo as alternate captains. But honestly, any of these guys would be worthy of the “C.”
In net I went with the obvious choice — Ray Emery. Just in case all five skaters were fighting on the ice at the same time, I wanted to make sure there was an extra man willing to skate down the ice and beat the shit out of an unwilling opponent. Emery is the only goaltender willing to do that.
By the end of building the roster, I was confident that I had a team that could win. And with a little wiggle room in cap space (~$40 million), I would be able to pick up some free agents if necessary.
I initially intended to build Team Corsi by just assembling the top 18 players in terms of Corsi Rel from last season. The problem is that these players are so selfish and have such a lack of respect for the game that I couldn’t do this and stay cap compliant. But I did my best, and this is what I came up with:
Max Pacioretty – Patrice Bergeron – Jakub Voracek
Brad Marchand – Mikko Koivu – Jaromir Jagr
Brendan Gallagher – Mikael Backlund – Vladimir Tarasenko
Tomas Tatar – Jussi Jokinen – Reilly Smith
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Mark Giordano
Kimmo Timonen – Matt Niskanen
T.J. Brodie – Jake Muzzin
Ick. The fact that a guy like Jake Muzzin made this team is a testament to how flawed Corsi really is. I didn’t even bother to designate captains because quite frankly, none of these players has enough leadership qualities to fill the role. Just a bunch of low compete level Corsi padders.
Apparently goaltenders don’t have Corsi stats, so I randomly just threw Tuuka Rask in net. He kind of looks like an elf so you know he lacks truculence, and I bet if he were a skater his Corsi would be sky high.
With the jerseys and lineups all set, it was time to take to the ice. I set the game to its highest difficulty level and played as Team Heart against the computer, who represented Team Corsi.
I decided that the venue would be Team Heart’s barn as I knew none of Team Corsi’s fans would show up if the game were played at theirs — after all, their fans don’t watch the game.
Shortly after the puck dropped, I knew the gloves were going to go flying. About three minutes in, Dave Bolland checked one of the wimps into the boards like the leader he is, and Mark Giordano came over to challenge him to some fisticuffs. Unfortunately this game is a rigged piece of shit because somehow Giordano won. I reacted appropriately, though, by throwing the controller across the room.
Team Corsi unfortunately got on the board first, which was also bullshit that resulted in me breaking the second controller of the evening. And if that wasn’t frustrating enough, by the end of the first, Team Heart was trailing in goals AND hits. I was starting to believe that maybe I had a defective version of the game, but I soldiered on.
Team captain Dave Bolland really turned up the leadership and grit at the beginning of the second, rocketing past loser Marc-Edouard Vlasic to beat Rask one on one.
Bolland doubled down on the leadership shortly thereafter by beating the shit out of Matt Niskanen. Dave Bolland is amazing.
Unfortunately, sometimes momentum goes the other way, because Patrice Bergeron somehow slipped one past the truculent Emery just a few minutes later. That didn’t matter though — Bolland’s leadership roused his teammates to score, with both Zac Rinaldo and Tom Sestito getting tallies at the end of the second.
Team Corsi really fell off the rails in the third period. They looked absolutely awful, and it’s probably because they truly are. Team Heart, however, got the blood flowing big time. Two of the other leaders on the team — Dan Carcillo and Shawn Thornton — were able to score, with Thornton’s being an empty netter.
All told, Team Heart was the clear winner here. Not only did they beat Team Corsi 5-2, but they also led in shots, hits, and time on attack. You read that right — Team Corsi couldn’t even win the possession game. HA!
Of course, the most exciting part of any game is when the three stars are awarded, and I think NHL14 chose some real winners:
The only change I’d make to that is that Dave Bolland probably should have been the 0th star, because, yeah, he really is that good.
So take that Big Corsi! When you’re matched up against guys who have real grit, character, and leadership, you have absolutely no chance.