With the Vice Presidential debate taking place tonight, election season in the U.S. is beginning to enter its last phase. Meanwhile, NHL Exhibition season is just getting under way, beginning the Sharks' quest for the Cup in 2008-2009.
In that spirit, here is a comparison between two major players in their respective contests: Gov. Sarah Palin and Jonathan Cheechoo.
(Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be political in any way, or to make any political statement whatsoever. Misrepresentation of the positions of either person on any issue is purely accidental.)
Palin - Governor of Alaska, Vice Presidential candidate.
Cheechoo - Right-Winger for the Sharks
Palin - Presumably, become President of the United States.
Cheechoo - Win the Stanley Cup.
Advantage: Depends on how much of a hockey fan you are.
Career Highlight So Far:
Palin - Either: Election as governor or appointment to national ticket as VP (a first for a Republican woman).
Cheechoo - Receipt of 2005-2006 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, becoming the first (and only) Shark to lead the NHL in goals.
Advantage: Palin, until Cheechoo helps get the Sharks their first Cup.
History/ Personal Life:
Connection to Mean Aquatic Predator:
Plain - Nickname in high school was "Sarah Barracuda."
Cheechoo - Has been known to hang out with Sharkie.
Advantage: Cheechoo. Palin's nickname was earned on a basketball court.
Connection to Hockey:
Palin - Is a self-described "Hockey Mom." Worked as a sportscaster.
Cheechoo - Is an actual hockey player.
Connection to Native Tribes:
Palin: Husband is part Yuk'ip.
Cheechoo: A Cree, is the first of his tribe to join the NHL.
Connection to Moose:
Palin - Has hunted moose, can dress a moose, and has eaten moose burgers.
Cheechoo - Was born in Moose Factory, ON.
Rating From Job:
Palin: Had a 80 percent approval rating as Alaska's Governor.
Palin - Touts her experience negotiating with Canada and other countries interested in Alaska's oil.
Cheechoo - Is from Canada. Played in Sweden during the lockout.
Palin - Position unknown. Publicly supports McCain's health plan.
Cheechoo - Was frequently injured early in career. Supports broader access to health care, especially expanded dental coverage for Mike Ricci.
Palin - Opposing earmarks and waste is arguably Palin's signature issue.
Cheechoo - Signed a 5-year, $15 million contract in 2006.
Advantage: Depends on your position on Cheechoo's contract.
Plain - Sees Alaska as first line of defense against a potential Russian invasion.
Cheechoo - Is working on improving puck possession along the boards.
Advantage - Cheechoo. He fights off Russians (and Czechs, and Swedes, and Canadians) for the puck all the time. Palin has never actually engaged in a battle with them.
Palin - TrooperGate.
Cheechoo - AnthemGate.
Advantage - Even
Palin - Acknowledges existence of global warming. Supports culling of wolf population.
Cheechoo - What exactly does a Moose Factory produce, anyway? And are they careful about their carbon footprint?
Palin - Supports platform that gun control would lead to increased crime.
Cheechoo - Recorded 102 minutes in penalty box in 66 games with the Bellvue Bulls of the OHL in 99-00.
Palin - Ticket is trailing in the polls, but there's still plenty of time to make a comeback.
Cheechoo - Goals and points have declined for past two seasons, but at 28, there's still plenty of time for Jonathan to bounce back.
Would Cheechoo have been a better running mate for John McCain? Unlikely. But hopefully his partnership with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau will help the Sharks go to the White House next year—as NHL Champions.