I once ate an amazing cheeseburger that had grilled cheese sandwiches for buns. Combining two great things often makes for one really, really awesome thing.
While recently pondering my two favorite pastimes, hockey and movies, I realized my pre-season Stanley Cup pick had not changed at the season’s midway point. It was still the St. Louis Blues. I also decided my pick to win the 2013 Oscar for Best Picture was 12 Years a Slave.
That gave me an idea. Why not compare the remaining eight Best Picture noms to my remaining top eight Cup contenders? With that, I present to you a literary grilled cheese sandwich burger, a.k.a. a breakdown of Stanley Cup frontrunners as Oscar-nominated films. It’s go time, in alphabetical order.
ANAHEIM DUCKS: Philomena
What does hockey in Orange County have in common with an elderly woman searching for her long-lost son? Both are targeted to niche markets, neither is a box-office smash and both are excellent entertainment for their few loyal supporters. The Ducks are the NHL’s best team, led by powerhouse seasons from Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Philomena is a charming tale led by powerhouse performances from Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Does any one really expect Anaheim and Philomena to take home the hardware? Probably not, but underestimate them at your own risk.
BOSTON BRUINS: Nebraska
The common theme here is denial. The Bruins need to face the fact they need help for Zdeno Chara. In Nebraska, Bruce Dern’s character needs to face the fact he probably hasn’t won a million dollars.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: The Wolf of Wall Street
Like Leo’s Jordan Belfort, the Hawks are dominant, flashy, money-making machines. All they do is win. And it’s a wild party to watch the process. Sooner or later, though, they may burn out from all the winning and their competition may chase them down. And you get the feeling Patrick Kane and Belfort would get along famously. Both have a history of extracurricular shenanigans and both are dazzlingly good at what they do.
COLORADO AVALANCHE: Her
In the terrifying, not-too-distant future, humans fall in love with hyper-intelligent operating systems and the Colorado Avalanche, led by Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, are a superpower.
LOS ANGELES KINGS: Gravity
Really cool, beloved by Hollywood and terrifying in space. Probably won’t win it all, but wouldn’t surprise anyone if they did.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS: Dallas Buyers Club
Dallas Buyers Club likely won’t win Best Picture, but it’s worth seeing simply for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto’s amazing performances. And the Penguins may flop in the playoffs again, as they have for several seasons in a row, but my goodness, it’s fun to watch Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin play. It seems McConaughey and Sid attract a lot of haters, maybe because so many ladies have crushes on them, but why not can the jealousy and accept that these guys are exceptional at their crafts?
SAN JOSE SHARKS: American Hustle
The Sharks sure look great this season, but let’s remember what they are: a team that fakes a British accent and cons us into believing it’s a contender year after year.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING: Captain Phillips
Tampa miraculously stays afloat, waiting for its leader to return after he suffered an unexpected and violent fate. Sound familiar?
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin