The stoic leader. The party boy. The thinker. The hot head. These personality arch-types can be found in any group dynamic, whether it’s four lads from Liverpool or inside an NHL dressing room.
Or in a sewer.
With a mutated rat that knows ninjutsu as a sensei.
Since 1984, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have symbolized those four disparate traits in comics, cartoons and movies:
Leonardo (blue mask): The measured, valiant leader of the group. Strong and fearless.
Donatello (purple mask): The scientist who prefers to use intellect rather than his bo staff to solve conflicts. A bit shy.
Michelangelo (orange mask): The pizza-gobbling free spirit of the group whose “Cowabunga” launched a million T-shirts.
Raphael (red mask): The temperamental bad boy of the group. And he speaks with a New York accent!
On a recent Marek Vs. Wyshynski podcast, there was a spontaneous discussion about the TMNT template being applied to NHL teams. For example, we all know Jonathan Toews is the Leonardo and Patrick Kane is the Michelangelo of the Chicago Blackhawks – but who is their Raphael?
We asked the Puck Daddy readership to check in with their choices for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles proxies for all 30 NHL teams. Here are the Eastern Conference choices for hockey heroes on a half shell. The West will follow on Wednesday.
We received more submissions for some teams than others, so we’ve limited the entries to two for each team. Enjoy, dudes:
Boston Bruins
Leonardo: Zdeno Chara
Donatello: Patrice Bergeron
Michelangelo: Brad Marchand - I mean, really. No other player in the NHL can even come close.
Raphael: Shawn Thornton
- Andrine Belliveau
Buffalo Sabres
Leonardo:Thomas Vanek. Wikipedia: “Leonardo is depicted as the eldest brother and the calmest of the four. Throughout the various media, he is depicted as the leader of the four turtles and the most disciplined.” Coincidentally, TV is my favorite Sabre and Leonardo was my favorite turtle.
Donatello: Ryan Miller. Wikipedia: “In all media, he is depicted as the most intelligent of the four turtles, often speaking in technobabble with a natural aptitude for science and technology.” Yup.
Michelangelo:Steve Ott. Do I even have to? Wikipedia:” In the original comic books, Michelangelo was initially depicted as fun-loving, carefree, and, while not as aggressive as Raphael, always ready to fight…most of the traits that have become synonymous with the character, such as his playfulness, empathy, and easygoing nature.
Raphael: Patrick Kaleta. Wikipedia: “He is generally the most likely to experience extremes of emotion, and is usually depicted as being aggressive, sullen, maddened, and rebellious.” That about sums it up.
Bonus Characters!
April O’Neil: Either Erica Halbrook or Noureen DeWulf
Casey Jones: John Scott – Wikipedia: “Casey wears a hockey mask and cut-off biking gloves and carries his weapons in a golf bag over his shoulder. His weapons include baseball bats, golf clubs, cricket bats, and hockey sticks. He is a master of stealth, as he has never been caught by the NYPDdespite his bizarre appearance.” Too easy.
Master Splinter: Darcy Regier. He even looks rat-like!
Bebop and Rocksteady: Chris Neil and Milan Lucic. Hulking, lumbering idiots - you always want the Turtles to beat them.
Baxter Stockman: Brad Marchand. He created the Mousers to kill rats, Brad Marchand looks and acts like a rat.
Shredder: Daniel Alfredsson. A compliment really, he tends to shred the Sabres D.
Krang: Gary Bettman. An evil brain that tries to take over Earth. Pretty close.
- Jim Durolek
Leonardo: Thomas Vanek. Easily the most skilled, But also the one that tends to disappear in entire episodes leaving the rest of the team to try and figure it out on their own.
Donatello: Ryan Miller. The elder Statesmen, The smart intellectual force on the team who's unafraid to say it like it is, but in ways you may not understand because you're not on his level. Also he loves the color Purple.
Michelangelo: I had a toss up between Steve Ott, for being a party dude on the ice, and Drew Stafford for being a party dude off the ice. I'm going to lean towards Steve Ott though because Michaelangelo actually helped the team where as Stafford isn't even sure he's playing hockey during a game.
Raphael: Patrick Kaleta, He gets angry, everyone blames him for everything whether it's his fault or not and he tends to run around on his own and get into trouble with the Shanabanner (Master Splinter).
- Gregory Kashmanian
Montreal Canadiens
Leonardo: Brian Gionta (Leader = Captain)
Donatello: Carey Price (Very Analytical approach to goaltending, Uses his brain power to keep calm and get the job done)
Michelangelo: P.K. Subban (Looks good in Orange and a Party Dude)
Raphael: Brandon Prust (Angry, Cool but Rude)
- Tony Healey, Jr.
Leonardo: Brian Gionta leads the pack.
Donatello: The brains of the operation is Harvard alum Donatello Louis Leblanc, missing right now in the AHL dungeon.
Michelangelo: Colby Armstrong and there is no way you can convince me otherwise.
Raphael: Of course there's PK "Raphael" Subban; the coolest one
Michael Therrien is Splinter, while the Shredder is of course Pierre Gauthier
- Ash Slaughter
Ottawa Senators
Leonardo: Daniel Alfredsson (fearless leader)
Donatello: Colin Greening (smart, Greening is a Cornell grad)
Michelangelo: Jason Spezza (carefree)
Raphael: Robin Lehner (bad boy, aggressive)
Master Splinter: Coach MacLean
Shredder: Matt Cooke (literally)
- Amy Bell
Leonardo: Milan Michalek - Something about this goal/celebration makes me think of him as Leo. Also, Milo rhymes with Leo.
Donatello: Erik Karlsson - Smartest guy on the ice. I mean, he'd have to be to invent whatever it is that lets him come back 2 months after severing his Achilles (Time machine, robotic tendon, cloning, etc).
Michelangelo: Matt Kassian - From his twitter feed, acts like a fun-loving goofball. Seems like he'd enjoy wacky pizza toppings. Pretty sure he yells Cowabunga when he drops the gloves with someone.
Raphael: Chris Neil - Kind of a jerk, but most people like him anyway (at least in Ottawa). Kind of a hot-head and goes off to do his own thing (and get into trouble) at times.
Splinter: Daniel Alfredsson - Wise old player, taught the young'uns in the ways of Hockey. When the going gets tough, they all look to him to guide them and kick ass.
- Murray Robb
Toronto Maple Leafs
Leonardo: Gonna have to go with Dion Phaneuf for Leo. He's older than many of his teammates and despite his haters, I'd say he still qualifies as a decent leader.
Donatello: I wish I could say Carlyle fits here because he 'uses his knowledge' to solve conflicts. But I'm still not sure how I feel about him. Can't say Grabo because, well, he bit someone. My final answer is Jake Gardiner because he doesn't particularly like to play physical - see 4 hits in 8 GP - which is, I imagine, partly why the "I