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Driving to the net

Cars for our new stars

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/6/2011 (3394 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Dustin Byfuglien could easily battle a Winnipeg winter behind the wheel of a massive International CXT truck.

Dustin Byfuglien could easily battle a Winnipeg winter behind the wheel of a massive International CXT truck.

You try being an auto writer in this town lately. I'm reasonably certain we could publish an article about free cars being given away and no one would notice.

Let's face it, for the past few weeks if the story doesn't concern the return of the NHL to Winnipeg it's pretty much guaranteed you're going to turn the page.

Dustin Byfuglien

Dustin Byfuglien

So, in a shameless attempt to jump on the NHL bandwagon, I've found a way to write about our new hockey team in the AUTOS section.

If you look at the big picture it's really not that much of a stretch. In addition to our new, yet-to-be-named hockey club being managed by a guy nicknamed "Chevy", Marc Chipman (of Birchwood Auto Group fame) played prominently in the acquisition of the Atlanta Thrashers.

I may be a bit out of my element here. The truth is that before last week I couldn't have named more than three players from the Atlanta Thrashers. I'm a hockey fan to be sure, but I'm a Maple Leafs guy so no other team really matters.

Laugh all you want. People are always telling me how the Leafs haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967. That's simply not true. Just last night, right before I turned off my Playstation, the Leafs were hoisting the cup for the 127th consecutive night.

That said, thanks to the crackerjack sports department here at the Free Press, notably sports columnist and longtime Lincoln driver Gary Lawless, I've learned a few things about this new team of ours and have resurrected a little service I like to call CarHarmony.

My goal is to help our new players find deep, meaningful relationships with their vehicles.

Odds are good that the parking-lot at the Philips Arena in Atlanta was loaded with luxury cars, sports cars and the odd ultra-rare muscle car. The roads down there are as smooth as billiard tables. But it's going to be tough to get to the MTS Centre on time in a Lamborghini in the dead of a Winnipeg winter.

It might be a bit of a stretch for Evander Kane to ride a Harley-Davidson Fatboy in winter, but it’s the perfect mean machine for a future NHL tough guy.

It might be a bit of a stretch for Evander Kane to ride a Harley-Davidson Fatboy in winter, but it’s the perfect mean machine for a future NHL tough guy.

So, the big question that's surely on the tip of everyone's free Canadian Tire hockey stick is, "What the boys are going to drive when they get to Winnipeg?"

Dustin Byfuglien: Big Buff is a defenceman who can play wing. You might think a hybrid would be a good fit, but you'd be wrong in so many ways. He's built like an NFL linebacker and he's from Minnesota.

So what's the perfect ride for the Buff? He likes to go fishing, so he's going to need a big rig to tow his boat around to our great lakes. And since they don't make Hummers anymore, I'm going to go even bigger and suggest that Buff buy himself an International CXT.

In case you've never seen one of these beasts, it's basically a semi with a pickup truck bed in the back. Every time Buff scores a goal or steamrolls some hapless Oiler, a massive air horn just like the one found on his new truck has to blow at high dough. Come to think of it, we should name the team after him. The Manitoba Buffalos ... Go BUFFS GO!

Andrew Ladd: This veteran still needs to be re-signed, but he's a fine captain, a two-time Stanley Cup winner and a good Canadian boy from Maple Ridge B.C., which means he probably already knows how to drive in the snow. He also likes country music and wishes he could play the guitar. Our captain needs a classy ride that pays homage to his good-old-boy roots.

Evander Kane

Evander Kane

My vote is for a fully loaded Chevrolet Suburban, and yep, his new boss sells those too.

Evander Kane: The kid on the team had 19 goals as a 19-year-old last season. According to Lawless he's a big winger with a nose for the net and the drive to go to the hard places. Winnipeggers will love watching him play. He was also named after boxing champ Evander Holyfield and has dropped the gloves a few times in his short NHL career.

Kane already got a new Camaro, which is bad-ass enough in our books, but the way I see it if he's poised to be our tough guy he should be riding a Harley, even in winter.

My vote is for the Harley Fat Boy, I'm sure our friends at Winnipeg Harley-Davidson will outfit his new hog with snow tires free of charge, and I have a leather bomber jacket he can borrow.

Tobias Enstrom: According to Lawless, Enstrom is a fine player able to move the puck quickly and with care. He may be a touch small, but he's a useful player on any NHL roster. Sounds like we need to keep him safe and sound, so it's a no-brainer that the Swede gets a Volvo. He'll also get a sweet deal, as the Birchwood Auto Group sells those too. I'd suggest the Volvo S80; it's sleek, fast and safe.

Blake Wheeler: Another Minnesota boy and, at 6-foot-5 he's a monster of a man, so he needs a monster truck. Although we were pumped to learn that Wheeler's dream car is a '71 Dodge Challenger, even with snow tires on his Mopar dream car he'd be in big trouble in these parts with those Poly tires. That doesn't mean he can't have a Hemi though.

I'm going to' suggest a blinged-out, jacked-up Dodge Ram with massive tires. He loves his dogs too, and dogs love pickup trucks.

Ondrej Pavelec: Our top goalie was born in Czechoslovakia and, while Skoda Auto may be one of the largest automakers in central Europe, there's no way our netminder is driving one of those. My vote is for a BMW 730 Li. It's a premium sedan for a premium puck-stopper. Sure, they are crazy expensive, but Birchwood sells those too, so he should be eligible for the family discount. With a V12 engine under the hood and a set of snow tires Pavelec is guaranteed to be the first guy at the rink. Here's to hoping he never has to leave early!

willy@freepress.mb.ca

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