Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | 5:05 p.m.
The details of the Alaska Aces are quite inconsequential. But these evil geniuses – with Mr. Bigglesworth presumably in tow – are bringing their top-seeded collection of sharks with "lasers" attached to the tops of their heads to Las Vegas.
The occasion is the ECHL Western Conference Finals, with the puck dropping on Games 1 and 2 on Thursday and Friday at the Orleans Arena. The best-of-seven series will decide which team represents the west in the ECHL Kelly Cup Championship. In the east, the Florida Everblades and Kalamazoo Wings face off in their party's nominating convention.
Alaska is famed for being located near enough to Russia to see the federal semi-presidential republic from its collective front porch. Russia borders North Korea and that just sounds bad. It makes one wonder with just whom Alaska has been palling around. Does Dr. Evil have some kind of tie to Eurasia, and what exactly is his involvement with professional hockey?
Every super villain carries a competency for success. Number 2 and the rest of the evil henchmen hoisted the Kelly Cup last season.
Some may have reservations in identifying with Austin Powers as the good guy in this desperate reach for an analogy. But let’s not forget that Powers sported a far more colorful wardrobe and sense of humor, and sent the likes of Vanessa Kensington, Felicity Shagwell and Foxxy Cleopatra all into a tither.
The evil plot thickens after Friday’s Game 2 of the series, as the good guys will be lured into Dr. Evil’s secret lair for up to four consecutive road games. It’s a less-than-ideal arrangement that was diplomatically brokered by ECHL brass to navigate around a few scheduling difficulties. The series would return to Las Vegas for Game 7 on Wednesday, May 9, if required.
Dr. Evil’s secret lair inherently features a hefty home advantage. The team is built for their Olympic-sized ice (larger than the others). The air is full of more cow bell clangs than the Texas State Fair.And I’ve heard they have Fembots.
Plus there is the travel. The only way to the lair is by a machine that will bust up the Wranglers’ molecular structure for transport and rebuild it in Anchorage. It will take three flights to carry portions of the team through Portland, Salt Lake and Seattle. The last parts of the team won’t arrive in Alaska until 12:55 a.m. on the morning of Sunday’s Game 3. Has anyone ever seen Jeff Goldblum in "The Fly?"
Sounds like a super villain plot to me.
Dr. Evil and the International Men of Mystery got here by powering through early playoff rounds. After earning a first-round bye Alaska took a 1-1 tie to Stockton to sweep three on the road to advance. Las Vegas swept Utah 3-0, and then took Idaho 4-1 to earn the right to stare Frau Farbissina right in the eyes.
The Wranglers got here thanks, in part, to the bold move by coach Ryan Mougenel to remain unaffiliated to any NHL team. He took on the recruiting and coaching of his professional athletes himself. And so, when the team skates with the city's name on its chests, Las Vegans can know the makeup of this team was decided upon right here in this city, by those who live in this city.
The history between these two teams has more sequels than the actual Austin Powers franchise. The series that launches Thursday night will add another chapter to the good-versus-evil saga that is the Las Vegas and Alaska rivalry.
So, beginning Thursday, the Wranglers look to claim its second Western Conference Championship in history by turning back the son of a narcoleptic baker. And fans that make their way to the Orleans Arena are sure to find themselves in a truly interactive experience.
This will be playoff hockey, and if you’ve been, then you know that it doesn’t mean the Wranglers' best plan to conquer evil is to kidnap Mini-Me and hide the keys to the Big Boy-shaped escape space craft.