Sunday night brought the return of HBO's wildly popular series Game of Thrones for its second season's premier. For the NHL, the battle for the Stanley Cup throne is just about to begin.
The series is based on George R.R. Martin's fantasy series and depicts the struggle for the Iron Throne in the fictional land of Westeros. Filled with rich characters that are beloved and loathed, the series never ceases to entertain.
It entertains in the same way the NHL does. Both feature gutty performances, players willing to sacrifice and bleed to achieve their goal. For the NHL player, it's the cup; for the houses of Stark, Lannister and Targaryen, it is the Iron Throne and the rule of the Seven Kingdoms.
With the playoff races in full burn, why not take a moment for a fun look at how the main characters from Game of Thrones compare to their NHL counterparts?
Here is a list of 15 main characters and who in the NHL most resembles them.
Who did we miss? Which player do you think resembles Game of Thrones characters?
Winter is coming!
Jon Snow is the bastard son of Eddard Stark, and in the first season of Game of Thrones, decides to take the black of the Night's Watch. He is young, talented with a sword and very, very serious. The over-under on Snow smiling in any episode is about 1.5.
For his part, Toews is also very young, talented and very serious. He has been given the nickname "Captain Serious" and rarely is seen smiling, on the ice and off.
Both Snow and Toews are leaders of their respective "families." The young Night's Watchmen look up to Snow during training much the way Toews sets the tone for the Blackhawks.
There is little doubt that Jon Snow would wear the captain's "C" if one were given out at the wall.
Robert Baratheon was the King during the first season of Game of Thrones, but was lost near the end when he was killed by a boar during a hunting trip. Baratheon was a great warrior who took the throne by force and then got fat sitting on it.
At one point, he was unable to get into his armor, as his belly was too big.
Does that sound like anyone in the NHL?
Dustin Byfuglien is a big man as well, and there has always been scrutiny about his work ethic and weight during his playing career. He means well, as did King Robert, and luckily, we're pretty sure that Byfuglien won't be hunting boars with a spear anytime soon.
The series doesn't mention any boats owned by King Robert, but if anyone in Westeros would get out of control on one, it would be him.
Like King Robert, Eddard (Ned) Stark won't be joining us for season two, as he lost his head, literally, in season one. While alive, Ned Stark was well respected, warden of the North and an aging great warrior.
Iginla plays hockey up North and could be considered the warden of the North. He too has had a long and great career and is respected by everyone.
Both Stark and Iginla are honorable men who mean well, only to have those around them betray him. For Stark, it was the Lannisters; for Iginla, his teammates and team management.
As another playoff-less season ends for Iginla and the Flames, your heart goes out to him, just as it did seeing Ned Stark get his head lopped off.
When King Robert was killed, his young son, Joffrey, became the King of Westeros. While he seemed small, young and somewhat wimpy, it turns out that he is quite the rat.
Despite saying he would show mercy to Ned Stark, he preceded to have him beheaded. The second season promises more Joffrey cruelty as well.
While Marchand hasn't taken anyone's head off, yet, he is a self-proclaimed rat. Like Joffrey, he is small in stature but makes up for it with play that often crosses the line.
Joffrey's main protector was The Hound, an imposing figure that makes sure nobody touches the boy king. This is very similar to Zdeno Chara, Shawn Thornton and the rest of the Bruins, who always seem to have Marchand's back.
Marchand won the Cup last year; Joffrey took the throne, making them both royalty for now.
Jamie Lannister is known as one of the best swordsmen in all of the Seven Kingdoms and is a member of one of the most hated families. He is brash beyond belief and not above playing dirty, as witnessed when he pushed a young Bran Stark out of a window in season one.
Ryan Kesler is also one of the best two-way centres in the NHL and has been known from time to time to not only be brash, but perhaps bend the rules a bit. Like the Lannister family, the Canucks are hated, and a bit feared, by most of the league.
Kesler posed naked for Sports Illustrated last summer, and it is not hard to imagine Lannister doing the same if there were such a thing in Westeros.
Robb Stark is Ned Stark's son, and after his father's death, proclaims himself King of the North and heads out to wage war against King Joffrey and the Lannisters. He is young, talented, a leader and has a strong desire to win at all costs.
Crosby did not declare himself king; Pierre McGuire did, but he was given that title before he had accomplished anything in the league. He is still the King in many ways, and as the league's most popular player, he too shows that drive and leadership it takes to win it all.
Robb Stark followed in his father's footsteps, applying the lessons Ned had taught him. This is much the same way that Crosby followed Mario Lemiuex's footsteps with the Penguins. He lived with Mario for a few years, learning as much as he could.
Crosby, like Stark, has had some early victories already. He seems to have overcome an injury and is marching on King's Landing...um...towards another Cup run.
Theon Greyjoy grew up as warden (hostage) of the Starks in Winterfell. He has always had to play second fiddle to Robb Stark, and in season two, that will eat away at him and he will lash out.
In many ways, Ovechkin has always been second fiddle to Crosby. Crosby has all the titles, trophies and league-wide respect, and Ovechkin is left with nothing.
The Capitals are still waiting for Ovechkin to lash out and take all that away from Crosby, as he has yet been able to step out of his shadow. They have had some chippy encounters on the ice, however.
Greyjoy has a penchant for the ladies, and while we aren't completely sure what Ovechkin's dating status is, we do know that he has been photographed with several young ladies at his side.
On top of all those similarities, they even have similar smiles.
Tyrion Lannister is the younger brother to Jamie and one of the most beloved characters in Game of Thrones. He was born a dwarf and has had to prove himself to people by using his wit and sharp tongue.
He will play a huge role in season two as he takes over as Hand of the King and starts to exert his intellect.
St. Louis, while not a dwarf, is shorter and smaller than your normal NHL hockey player. Over the years, he has proven himself, not with a quick tongue, but with slick moves and a ton of talent. Like Tyrion, he has become a leader for the Lightning and should go down as perhaps their greatest player ever.
Lannister was loved by the ladies in Game of Thrones, and we're willing to bet the ladies in Tampa love Martin St. Louis as well.
Jorah Mormont was once a great knight, but was branded a traitor and banished to exile across the narrow sea. He is older now and has latched onto Dany Targaryen in order to help her reclaim the throne for her family.
While Jagr wasn't banished, he did spend some time over seas in the KHL before heading back to the NHL.
Once here, he betrayed the Pittsburgh Penguins by signing with the Flyers and is helping them try to win the Cup. Once loved in Pittsburgh, he is now hated and has heard boos while playing there.
Both Mormont and Jagr have seen their best days in the past, but they are both still very able and helping mentor younger stars to be.
Bran Stark was destined to be a great knight and possible Lord of Winterfell. Sadly, he was pushed out a window by Jamie Lannister in season one and lost the use of his legs.
His future was altered, and he will never live up to the expectations he had to be a great knight.
This is much like Rick DiPietro. Once signed to a "lifetime" type contract, injuries have kept him from seeing the ice and living up to his potential.
While he has not suffered as serious an injury as the young Stark boy did, his contract and lack of production have, in some ways, paralyzed the Islanders as a whole.
Loras Tyrell is one of the youngest knights in the realm and burst onto the scene to become one of the best. He often has bested older, more experienced knights and saw his popularity rise.
Like Tyrell, Steve Stamkos is still incredibly young and burst on the scene a couple of years ago to become one of the best snipers in the game.
His two 50-goal seasons are comparable to Tyrell's tournament victories, and they both even sport long blonde hair.
Sandor Clegane (The Hound) is a giant man with a disfigured face who has one purpose in life. That is to protect the King with whatever force is needed. His is a simple man with very little to say.
Parros has one purpose in the NHL: to fight and be the enforcer for the Anaheim Ducks. He is not in the league for his deft stick-handling and dangles.
While his face is not disfigured, he does sport a pretty horrible 1970's style mustache, which is pretty much the same thing.
Gregor Clegane is also known as "The Mountain That Rides a Horse" across Westeros. A giant man who stands over eight feet tall, he is fierce and soulless in battle.
Clegane is perhaps the most feared warrior in the realm, and he has earned that reputation.
In many ways, Zdeno Chara is the most feared defenseman in the NHL. He nearly hits seven feet tall and plays a physically-intimidating game. Chara also shows very little emotion on the ice, leaving his opponents to wonder if he too is soulless.
Jeor Mormont is the leader of the Night's Watch at Castle Black. He is an old and grizzled knight who has seen many victories and glories. Even in his old age, he is still a viable leader and can still bring it, as we will see in season two.
Teemu Selanne is probably as old as Mormont and is still currently bringing it for the Ducks. What Selanne has accomplished is pretty astounding, and we all hope he is convinced to stick around another year.
If not, Mormont could use him on the wall to take care of the Wildings.
Bronn is a sellsword who hooks up with Tyrion Lannister when he realizes how rich the Lannisters are. Sellswords are excellent warriors who have allegiances to no house, choosing to go where the gold is instead.
Max Talbot is a pretty talented guy and Stanley Cup hero in Pittsburgh. He seemed to love it there, and the fans loved him back. When his contract was up, the Penguins rivals offered Talbot more gold, and he took his blades across state.
Like Bronn, Talbot went where the pay was best; loyalties be damned.