By Connor Farrell of Purple Row
With the NHL set to take over Coors Field this month, I've been asked a question: "What if the Colorado Rockies forget to take out the hockey rink and are forced to play all 81 of their home games as a hockey team?"
Well, folks, don't you worry. I am here to answer this question and more as we run down what position the Rockies would play if they played hockey.
First things first, let's start with the goalie. Now, a less clever or knowledgeable man may just pick the fattest or biggest guy on the team and say, "this is our goalie!"
But not me. No, I will not fall into such a trap. See, goalies need to be quick and agile. Pucks are coming their way at around, I believe, forty eight thousand miles an hour so they can't be slow or those things would just fly into the net no matter how big they are.
This is tough for fat players, because from my experience fat people are generally slow. Have you ever seen a fat guy with lightning quick reflexes? I don't think I have. Your reflexes are the first to go when you gain weight. Slowed down by the cream of the Oreos and the cheese of the pizzas.
So I would choose a quick player, one with good reflexes and a hardwired blocking ability.
Oh wow! Luckily, baseball has its own version of a goalie in a catcher. I guess I didn't need to write that whole thing about chubby guys. Sorry.
Goalie: Nick Hundley
Now let's pick our defensemen. D guys are coveted in the game of hockey for a few reasons, most importantly in that they stop the other team from scoring. But in the modern game, defensemen are also key to holding a balanced offense, running the blue line and helping maintain possession. In a lot of ways, the defense is the quarterback of most offensive plays.
So I had to look at a few things when deciding defenders: they had to be big so they could stop the other team from scoring, they'd have to be good leaders and orchestrators to establish the offense, and they'd need to be a good shot but not necessarily prolific at scoring. (We can't take away from the forwards.)
I picked the Rockies' current second baseman DJ LeMahieu as one defender, and third baseman Nolan Arenado as the other. Both were two of the best hitters on the team last year, but more importantly the two were likely the best in the field at preventing the other team from scoring. Their range is unparalleled by any other rostered Rockie, and there is a legitimate argument that they're the best second base-third base combination in all of baseball.
They're both also big guys. Nolan's got that giant chin that you KNOW can take a bump and DJ is a Georgia boy and if there's one thing I know, it's that southerners are really good at blocking people from something they'd really love to do.
Defense: Nolan Arenado, DJ LeMahieu
So now I have to pick my forward line. We need to score goals. Tons of them, preferably. Like when you're 17 and the only thing you think about is scoring, that's where I'm at. The best shooters, the fastest skaters, the best hands... That's what we need.
I'm going to take Charlie Blackmon on my right wing, he led the Rockies in steals last year and is very clearly the fastest guy we can put on skates. Throwing him on the right means we can get him shooting out wide and attacking the other team's net.
Right wing: Charlie Blackmon
This next one's pretty simple. Throw CarGo at center; he's big and can win face offs with his quick bat speed and terrific stance. As long as the ref doesn't throw a two-strike slider in the dirt, CarGo should be solid on the dots. Let him crash the net and pop in a few rebounds. I bet he's got a nice Joe Sakic wrister in the arsenal, too.
Center: Carlos Gonzalez
Finally, I need a left wing. I need a sniper, someone who can pop above the faceoff dots and just light the lamp from 20 feet away. This guy has to get open and be available for any pass at any time. He has to be one of the guys that just always seems to be around.
Boom. Daniel Descalso. Yeah, look, I know. If you look him up you'll see a bunch of stuff on him not actually being any good at baseball. But maybe that's why he'd be perfect at hockey.
He's always just around when you least expect him, he's small enough that he can sneak through and he's got that grit and hustle you want in a scorer who's going to get down and dirty and put the biscuit in the basket.
I want Descalso on my top line. I want him on the left wing.
Left wing: Daniel Descalso
Didn't see your favorite Rockies star listed? Here's where some other guys would play on the ice:
Defense: Ben Paulsen, Cristhian Adames, Adam Ottavino, Jason Motte
Center: Jon Gray
Wings: Gerardo Parra
Goalie: Walt Weiss
The guy at the beer stand that's way too strict about the end of the second period rule and shuts down the taps with like a minute left in the period like a jerk: Dick Monfort
Hopefully the Rockies remember to remove the rink, and we don't ever have to see this come to fruition. But at least we know in a worst case scenario, the Rockies are prepared.