Schultz: Who do you work for? Ponikarovski: What are you talking about? (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Hey everyone! Have you ever watched a Wild game and thought ''This player's reminding me of a James Bond movie''? Of course you haven't! What am I going on about?
Some of you may have heard about this, but until recently, I was studying to become a math teacher. Entering my 5th year of studies in that program, I was to be an intern for a semester, teaching full-time. This is something that I had always wanted do to until on one fateful day, Nathan asked me if I wanted to join the Hockey Wilderness writing team. I accepted with excitement and discovered a love of writing. The internship only helped me realize that I'm not made to be a teacher, so I resign from the internship and the program. I have chosen to begin my studies anew in the field of translation, starting January. It's a big move that took a lot of guts to make, but I don't regret it at all. I can't wait to start fresh into something I know will be satisfying for me.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, now that I have to wait until January to go back to University, I have TONS of free time on my hands, so I decided to watch the entire James Bond movie collection in order. Bryan jokingly said that he expected me to write a post each day relating the action to the Wild, and I thought ''Why not?'' Basically, I'm going to talk about each of the 22 movies and compare the main villain of each movie to a villain to the Wild and I will compare the general aspects of each movie to a Wild player, past or present!
For part 1, I will analyze the first three movies in the collection: Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger.
Make the jump for the briefing.
(WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)
The gist of all Bond movies is Secret Agent 007, part of and trained by the British MI6 organization, comes into office for briefing from MI6 leader ''M'' to on a dangerous mission, gets some cool gadgets from the organization's lead researcher ''Q'', travels all over the world, meets a villian, a love interest, commonly known as a ''Bond Girl'', who is sometimes friend, sometimes foe but often turned into friend. He then defeats the baddies, gets the girl and it's happily ever after until the next mission.
The gist of all Wild games is the roster receives training from the Wild's trainers and coaches, receives briefing on their next game by their coach, gets some cool equipment from the equipment manager, travel all over North America, meet an opposing team and a fanbase who'll love or hate them. They'll try to defeat the enemy, get some points and rest until the next game.
So you see, ''M'' is Mike Yeo, ''Q'' is equipment manager Tony DaCosta, and the secret agent are the Wild players.
You get to think of those things when you have way too much free time on your hands.
Now, on to the movies.
1. Dr. No
The very first movie in the series. The James Bond character was born from novels written by Ian Fleming, but for most people, this was the very first they had seen from the iconic secret agent. He is introduced playing cards and throwing the famous line '' Bond, James Bond'' when asked to introduce himself by the pretty lady he was beating at the card game. The story takes place in Jamaica when 2 murders prompt Bond to investigate. He would discover a receipt for some shady radioactive stones sold by a professor, whom he later found worked for Dr. No. Bond then meets Dr. No after being brought to his lair and the mad scientist shares his plot to interfere with a space shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral.
The first movie is quite well received by critics nowadays, but at the time, opinions varied from good, to bad, to downright horrible. Even Fleming, James Bond's creator, disliked Sean Connery's portrayal of 007. However, Fleming warmed up to Connery as the movies rolled along. Sean Connery, who looks quite different 50 years younger, introduced James Bond to the world quite nicely as a debonair, smooth killer. The thing is though, views differed back then, as Bond was seen as evil by the Vatican. The scene in which the very first Bond Girl, Honey Rider, played by Ursula Andress, is introduced is still considered one of the sexiest scenes in cinema history.
So who, among past or present Wild players best fits this description? Well, I can think of someone who put the Wild on the map at the very beginning. For a long time, he was the sexiest Wild pick in fantasy hockey, despite being a very high-risk player. He is both loved and maligned, considered evil by some for his greed and refusal to watch his team play while he was injured for the millionth time, but there's no doubt he was a big part of the birth of the Wild, like it or not.
Dr. No the movie is: Marian Gaborik
Villiain: Dr. Julius No: A brilliant scientist born from a Chinese mother and a German father, he was a treasurer for the Tongs, a Chinese crime syndicate, but then stole 10 million dollars from them and went to America to conduct his scientific research. He wanted to work for the Americans and the Soviets, but was turned down by both, so he joined SPECTRE, the Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion, an organization Bond will battle quite a few times throughout the movies, to exact revenge on his rejectors. His plan was to atomically intercept Project Mercury, a space shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral. As a result of him working with radioactive substances, Dr. No lost both his hands and had them replaced by super-strong bionic hands. Those hands would prove to be his undoing, as he lacked the dexterity to hang on to a bar and he drowned in a boiling nuclear pool.
Now, I doubt that there are many German-Chinese hybrids skating in the NHL, but if we overlook that, we have someone who betrayed the Chinese, was rejected by the Americans and Soviets and was killed because of his faulty hands. Well, I don't know about betrayal, but I can think of someone who was rejected by two teams and saw his failing hands land him on the pressbox.
Dr. No the villain is: Benoit Pouliot.
2. From Russia With Love
The second Bond movie has our hero fly to Istanbul to retreive the Lektor crytographic device, which CIA has been after for years. To meet him in Istanbul with the device is Russian cipher clerk Tatiana Romanova. He suspects it to be a trap, and he is right. The girl was hired by SPECTRE (unbeknownst to her) to act as a lure so that SPECTRE assassin Red Grant could steal the device from Bond and sell it back to the Russians.
From Russia with Love is widely considered to be the best in the collection. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 96%, second only to Dr. No's 98%. Of course, at the time, it was again getting mixed reviews, saying that the Bond movies were unrealistic and shallow. Others raved at the good, dark fun to be had with these movies. Personally, I've watched 4 of the movies so far and this one seems to be one of the most complex and deep so far. I give it my seal of approval.
So after all these years, From Russia With Love stands out as one of the best. Who has been with the Wild basically since the beginning and has always been a favorite? Well, there aren't any Russians on the roster, but there's Ol' reliable:
From Russia With Love is: Nick Schultz.
Villains: Bond deals with a few villains in this one. We get a better look of the SPECTRE organization in this one. In the opening sequences, we see that SPECTRE operatives are assigned numbers by order of importance. Being someone who's watched the Austin Powers movies before the James Bond movies, I see now that Dr. Evil is meant to be a parody of SPECTRE's #1, whose face is hidden. How do I know? Well, he's petting a white cat, and his #3, Rosa Klebb, the cold female commandant, is obviously the influence behind the Frau Farbissina character from the Austin Powers series. #1 orders #3 to find an ideal man to carry out their evil mission to steal the Lektor and she finds Grant, a perfectly trained assassin. Grant follows Bond around until 007 retrieves the Lektor and gets on a train to escape to London with it.
Now first things first:
#1 is : Gary Bettman.
Leader of an evil organization? Of course it's Bettman, who'll do everything to get his greasy hands on some more money.
Let's look into the Klebb character. She is a severe woman, but also quite prone to nervosity when the situation doesn't go her way. She does most of her work behind the scenes, but takes matters into her own hands when Grant fails.
There's a certain player I can think of who plays behind his team, can get shaken up quite easily, but can take matters into his own hands when absolutely necessary, but in the end, was thwarted...by the Boston Bruins
Rosa Klebb is: Roberto Luongo
Grant the assassin is in perfect shape, blends in everywhere, follows Bond everywhere he goes, has pinpoint accuracy and is very careful. A bit too careful in fact. I won't spoil anything, you'll understand if you watch the movie. He carried out a lengthy battle with Bond and was nearly too much for 007.
A large, fit, deadly sniper who's good enough to have the best of the Wild almost every time? Easy.
Grant is: Rick Nash
The third movie pulls Bond away from vacation in Miami Beach, where he is pitted against the appropriately named Auric Goldfinger, a gold dealer. The British government suspects foul play when they try to figure out how Goldfinger carries his astronomical amounts of gold around. James Bond investigates by meeting Goldfinger whilst playing the part of a potential business partner. 007 discovers Goldfinger's plot to break into Fort Knox and sabotage it's gold supply.
This particular Bond movie has the distinction of having the most well-known villains in Goldfinger, his sidekick Oddjob, and the quite suggestively named Pussy Galore, the movie's Bond Girl. Considered the first blockbuster in the series, it became the fastest-grossing film in America to date and even caused a semi-riot at the grand opening in the UK. For the very first time, the souped up Aston Martin that Bond drives in most of the movies. It also made use of a powerful laser, which was brand new at the time. The character Goldfinger inspired Goldmember, from the Austin Powers series. As for critical response, it was generally favored over the first two films at the time, maybe because people got used to the character and the world in which the movies take place and James Bond became more accepted by the public and the critics. Rotten Tomatoes rates it a 96%, just like From Russia With Love and is my personal favorite so far. Sean Connery was at his best and funnest.
What makes choosing players hard for this feature is I have not yet seen all the Bond movies, and I want to to this feature while everything is fresh in my mind. For this particular choice, I have two players in mind. I will have to pick the one who fits the description better in my opinion. Making use of novel things like the gadget-filled Aston Martin, the huge laser, the excitement this film created, the fact that it is so well-received, James Bond was at the height of his popularity. I may have to pick this player based on the excitement he's given Wild fans, the fact that he's still so new to the organization and the hype that surrounds him.
Goldfinger, the movie, is: Mikael Granlund.
Villains: There is the main villain, Auric Goldfinger, and his trusty sidekick, Oddjob, a bullish Asian man with a tophat. Goldfinger loves gold, naturally. He also hates to lose, as he has shown by cheating at gambling, getting caught cheating by Bond, and losing at cards and golf. His brilliant plan is to sabotage the American Gold supply to make his personal stock's value increase. He thinks things through, but is a bit too trusting. He had Bond at his mercy, but was lured into letting him go when Bond mentionned ''Operation Grand Slam'', which was Goldfinger's plan to get into Fort Knox. Oddjob is a cold-blooded killer, most known for his deadly top-hat, which has a metal rim and is used by Oddjob as a weapon. He also has superhuman toughness and strength. James Bond sure had a rough time fighting this brickhouse.
Now, when I think of Goldfinger, I think of one of the best players playing today. A player who loves gold, as in medals and trophies, hates to lose, and almost single-handedly increased the value of his team many-fold. Actually, there are two players like this, one being Sidney Crosby, but he's not enough of a rival to the Wild to be considered here, so I'll be choosing the Western Conference based player, playing for Chicago, who I know many Wild fans love, but for all intents and purposes, the Blackhawks and the Wild are rivals. As for Oddjob, while this particular player is nowhere near the powerful man Oddjob was, he can be just as deadly and makes for a great one-two punch with the player I consider to be Goldfinger.
Auric Goldfinger is: Jonathan Toews
Oddjob is: Patrick Kane
It could very well have been Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, but like I said, I don't think there's quite the same rivalry level.
That's it for part 1, I hope you enjoyed it. Look out for part 2, where I'll be talking about Thunderball and You Only Live Twice, Connery's last two movies before being temporarily replaced.
End of briefing.