At this point, we’re deep into the offseason and the news cycle has dried up. As we await Dylan Larkin’s contract extension, I asked the Twitterverse for suggestions on what they want to read. Our friends at The Fourth Line Podcast submitted the following question:
If members of the Red Wings were compared to chicken wing flavors, what would they be?
— The 4th Line Hockey Podcast (@4thLinePodcast) August 6, 2018
You can always count on Carl and Joel, the creators behind the infamous NHL Royal Rumble episode, to come up with good offseason #content. So I decided to embrace their challenge and tackle it with the serious journalistic integrity required to uncover the answers to such an existential question.
It proved to be quite difficult, drawing comparisons between human Wings and chicken wings. I began and ended my research with Google, pulling ten of the top-15 Buffalo Wild Wing Sauces from this blog post from Thrillist.com. So without further ado, if the Red Wings were chicken wings, here’s what they’d be:
PLAIN – NICK JENSEN
I think the name of this flavour says it all, but Detroit has a few players that could be classified as “plain”. I chose Nick Jensen because Thrillist described this wing flavour as “good, and probably one of the better plain wings you can snag at a fast-food chain. It shouldn’t be as good as it is, and that is what makes it wild”. Jensen was one of Detroit’s best D-men last year, but he wasn’t supposed to be. He’s good, but not great. He’s plain.
HOT BBQ – MIKE GREEN
Hot BBQ is a good sauce from Buffalo Wild Wing, but it’s two key flavours, “Hot” and “BBQ” don’t really mesh as well as they could, according to Thrillist. This inconsistency is why I chose Mike Green here. There are parts of Green’s game that are really good (power play), parts that are just good (offense) and parts that are bad (defense). He can get hot offensively, but his defensive deficiencies fail to provide true balance to his overall game.
Plus, he looks like he’d make a mean grillmaster.
SWEET BBQ – DANNY DEKEYSER
Sweet BBQ is much milder than Hot BBQ and will leave a true hot wing connoisseur disappointed. Thrillist describes them as “not quite rounded out. It’s a bit watery and overly sweet”. “Not quite rounded out”. Sounds like a mid-pairing, underperforming defenseman who’s probably not worth the price (unless it’s pint-and-a-pound night). Danny DeKeyser, anyone?
BLAZIN’ – ANDREAS ATHANASIOU
Once Andreas Athanasiou gets going, you could say he’s “Blazin’ hot”. These wings will leave your taste buds scorched and your stomach in knots. Kind of like how when Athanasiou gets a breakaway after a horrid shift defensively. It’s good, but it’s bad, and it leaves your head spinning.
HOT – DYLAN LARKIN
“Hot” is the standard that all other wings are compared to. It’s a well-balanced blend of sweetness, spiciness, and flavour. You might even say it’s the “Boss” of wings. What more apt comparison do we have for this wing than Dylan Larkin? He’s a well-rounded player, easily accessible for fans and media, and will always be on the menu.
WILD – LUKE WITKOWSKI
Look at this man. There’s nobody else on the Wings roster who can be described as “Wild”.
MILD – FRANS NIELSEN
Thrillist writes: “Think Hot but stripped of any sort of spiciness”. So if Larkin is “Hot”, it makes perfect sense that Frans Nielsen comes in as “Mild”. He’s a hard working, middle-6 centreman who can be played in any situation. He isn’t a game breaker on either end of the ice and can be counted on to maintain the status quo. He’s basically the wing sauce that works well for anyone.
MEDIUM – ANTHONY MANTHA
Some of you may disagree with this one. You may say that Anthony Mantha deserves better than “Medium”. To that I say: don’t underestimate the quality of medium wings. This is a chicken wing flavour that is the perfect blend of hot and sweet. It’s saucy, messy, and always a home run. Sometimes, it doesn’t really satisfy, but more often than not, it leaves you wanting Mo.
THAI CURRY – JUSTIN ABDELKADER
Thrillist describes Thai Curry as “extremely flavourful, spicy, and pleasantly gritty”. I couldn’t think of a better match than Justin Abdelkader whose passion and determination make him one of the spiciest and grittiest players on this team.
PARMESAN GARLIC – JIMMY HOWARD
Jimmy Howard is kinda average – not too spicy, not too sweet, a little inconsistent and unable to carry the team on his own. That’s kind of what Parmesan Garlic delivers. It’s a fine mix of parmesan cheese and garlic sauce, isn’t the best thing on the menu, but it gets its job done of making you feel full and mostly satisfied with the taste.
This concludes the wild (wing) offseason content for today. Writing this piece gave me a mad hankering for a pound of medium wings from my local pub. Guess I should tell Bartender Bob to warm my seat at the bar. Thanks to our friends at The Fourth Line Podcast for their hard-hitting question. Go follow them on Twitter and listen to their podcast. They are great.
Do you agree with my human Wing vs. chicken wing assessments? What’s your favorite flavor on the ice and at the bar?