Thursday, August 6, 2009
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Sayonara, Tovarich
This week, our hockey scribe says Later Gator to Sergei Zubov, the only way he knows how.
Greetings, heat-exhausted hockey fans! Last week, we did our part as fans and started a strenuous off-season trash-talking workout; this week, I was planning on writing my tri-annual column on Ways the NHL Could Make Some Extra Bread on the Side (#46: Auction off hits of Steve Ott's adrenaline gland; #72: Specialty Breads), but in light of this week's Terrible, Distressing News -- the re-defection of longtime Dallas Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov to Russia -- it was time for a little historical perspective.
Zubov was far more than a guy in a Stars jersey and a stick: For 12 short years, he was perhaps the most critical part of the team's success. I've covered his importance to the team before; although the current crop of baby-faced young defensemen is impressive, Zubov will be missed. So in honor of Sergei's return to Russia, I've compiled a short, historically accurate timeline of Zubov's life, from eons before he was born and into the distant, glorious future.
5000 B.C.: Og the Grog decides to venture north from the cave, heading to the beautiful snow-capped forests of what is now central Russia.
4999 B.C.: Og the Grog dies a brutal death, cold and alone, the victim of nature's senseless cruelty. History records him as the first-ever True Russian.
1790 A.D.: Platon Zubov, the Empress' illicit lover and the last Russian to bear the title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, sets the bare-minimum Bad-Ass Russian Standard for Zubov DNA.
1823: Valerian Zubov, while serving under Suvorov in Poland, marries Princess Lubomirska, then loses his leg in a toy battle. His DNA, incensed, leaves his body en mass and relocates to a nearby half-man/half-bear vampire lord.
1904: Tsar Nicholas II over-expands the Russian Hockey League to eastern Siberia, watering down the talent and increasing travel times for teams by 14,000%. This leads to a general revolt against the Tsar, who cruelly responds by canceling an entire season just to get his way.
1918: Dangerous precedent is avoided, however, when Russian hockey fans brutally murder the Tsar and his family for his crimes. Russian parents warn their children at night of the dangers of repeating the Tsar's heinous mistakes.
1925: Tensions boil over at a youth hockey game in Petrograd, when Leon Trotsky's kid slashes Joseph Stalin's kid across the wrist and it goes uncalled.
1940: The Soviet Union's first-ever case of Soccer Parent Syndrome is finally, brutally put to rest, as Stalin's NKVD henchmen track down Trotsky in Mexico and slam an ice pick into his skull. Having now slaughtered Trotsky, both referees, the kids on the other team and all witnesses who lived in or around the town when the incident occurred, Stalin announces he is finally at peace with the non-call.
1968: Dmitri Vladimirovich Zubov, the Black Prince of Kiev and Were-Lord of the Abyss, meets with Baba Yaga to combine his powerful Zubov DNA with molten lava from an underground pagan volcano to create the Seed of Ultimate Bad-Assery.
1969: Both Cold War powers' attempts at destroying the potent Zubov hybrid DNA strand are fruitless. In November, James Bond finally snags it, but the DNA strand emerges from its crystal vial and strangles Bond in his sleep. It then impregnates itself into a nearby 6-1 blonde female KGB assassin.
1970: 9 months later, Sergei Zubov is born, surrounded by a half-dozen KGB executioners. Before the doctor can cut the umbilical cord, a young Sergei dekes all six agents out of their boots, causing their frontal lobes to burst from their skulls. Sergei then takes a pair of skates off a nearby wall, cuts his own cord and skates quietly off into the steppe.
1978: A Soviet hockey official discovers Zubov playing in an back-alley, cut-throat league in which the losing team had their organs harvested for the black market. Despite being just eight years of age, Zubov was already feared league-wide, responsible for more involuntary organ transplants than anyone since Rasputin. The nameless official takes the youngster under his wing.
1985: Now a youngster on the Red Army team, Zubov makes Soviet history as the first defenseman to score a goal after turning completely invisible.
1990: After another ho-hum five-goal, ten-assist effort in a playoff game, Zubov is finally noticed by NHL scouts, who fearfully put his name into the entry draft. The NY Rangers select him in the fifth round, hoping he won't notice and thereby bring the Wrath of Gorbachev upon them.
1992: Two years after being drafted, Zubov both wins the Olympic Gold Medal while simultaneously fulfilling the Gogol Prophecy, single-handedly defeating a Soviet tank division and bringing the Communist rule to an abrupt end.
1994: In his first full year in the NHL, a young Zubov leads the veteran-laden New York Rangers in scoring, then delivers them a Stanley Cup. The Rangers, frightened of the possibility of not having enough rafter space for all their impending Cup banners, quickly trade him to Pittsburgh.
1995: Penguins star Mario Lemeiux, tired of being regularly shown up by the upstart Zubov, trades him to the Dallas Stars for first-ballot Hall of Fame defenseman Kevin Hatcher. The Hockey Gods send a Thunderbolt of Suck to punish the Penguins, but accidentally hit the Pirates instead.
1999: Zubov earns the silent hatred of all Canadians when he brings the Stanley Cup to Texas. The Canadian media collectively decides to simply pretend that the best defenseman on the league' top defensive team doesn't exist, putting their fingers in their ears and shouting "LALALALALALA" for the next decade.
2006: After years of obscurity, Zubov momentarily emerges from the shadows to light a cigarette. The resulting fanfare ends up in an inevitable Norris Trophy nomination, although the Swedish Guild of Evil Sorcerers takes the nomination personally and vows revenge.
2007: The Guild's beast-men slaves throw a record number of first-born Finnish infants into a cursed Icelandic volcano, attempting to destroy Zubov with their dark magic. The hideous wailing can be heard as far as the Ural Mountains, and the stench of seared flesh still lingers over Stockholm to this day. The Infernal Halls of Hell are soon brimming with legions of pit demons massing for a full-on assault on a napping Zubov.
Ten Minutes Later: Zubov suffers a minor sports hernia and a hip injury.
2009: His work in this hemisphere done, Zubov returns to St. Petersburg to exact revenge upon the Russian mafia, while also ushering in the age of nation-wide prosperity and peace the Russian people have never once known in their history.
2012: Despite widespread apocalyptic destruction across the globe, Russia escapes unharmed after Zubov dekes the Four Horsemen out of their saddles, then deftly deflects hail the size of Volkswagons harmlessly into Kazakhistan with the blade of his stick. Zubov turns the downpour of searing-hot blood into normal rain with a single icy stare, moments before he and the Anti-Christ enter a room for mano-e-mano combat. History records that the Anti-Christ emerged first with a blank stare and a handful of pro-Mormon pamphlets, while Sergei emerged a few minutes later smoking an unfiltered Turkish cigarette, with some noticeable red marks on his knuckles.
2013: After the earth is devastated by doomsday plagues, Zubov single-handedly brings the world's population to 2011 levels in a single nine-month span.
2025: With a vast majority of humanity the direct descendant of Sergei Zubov, previously-difficult endeavors such as colonizing Jupiter or building a pyramid of highly-advanced alien skulls now seem mundane. The Earth is now on the verge of fulfilling its destiny as the seat of the First Intergalactic Empire.
2031 His work here done, Zubov retires to a tiny hermit's cave on the ice-planet Hoth to contemplate the mysteries of the universe. Fifteen minutes later, God is seen leaving Zubov's cave with a worried look and some hastily-scrawled notes about creating a more "interesting" dimension for Zubov to conquer.
Well, that's it for this week's history lesson. Tune in next week when we discuss whether trading Brian Sutherby straight-up for Danny Heatley was the right move for the Stars' third line.
See more stories in:
- Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Fare Thee Well, GM Joe, We Hardly Knew Ye
- Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Grading the 2013 Dallas Stars
- Thursday Morning Cupcheck - An Open Letter to the Pittsburgh Penguins
- Thursday Morning Cupcheck - 10 Worst Losses in Dallas Stars History
- Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Better Know an Ex-Star: Sergei Zubov