Oct 14, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; General view of the opening faceoff of a NHL game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The NHL hockey season is upon us! Which drivers from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series would make the ultimate starting lineup?
There is no better time of year than right now for a sports fan. The NASCAR Chase is in full swing, we’re in the middle of football season, the MLB playoffs, and now the NHL hockey season is underway.
One of the most challenge aspects of hockey for a coach is taking their team of players and creating the most effective lines. The players on these lines must work well together and produce results on the ice. This made me think, which NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers would put together the best line on the ice?
Without further ado, here’s NASCAR’s ultimate hockey starting lineup for the 2016-2017 season.
Nov 6, 2015; Ft. Worth, TX, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) crew chief Chad Knaus walks on to the track during qualifying for the AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Knaus is a six-time champion at NASCAR’s highest level. Nobody in the garage area performs the job of crew chief better than Chad Knaus. He may push the envelope from time to time but that’s alright. He’s focused on getting his team wins. Many times that means venturing into the grey area when it comes to rules and technique.
When it’s all said and done Knaus will be remembered as one of the greatest crew chiefs of all time. 76 wins, 211 top fives, and six championships put him in the realm of the greats. Many will even argue that Knaus will claim championship number seven later this year.
Oct 9, 2016; Concord, NC, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) celebrates winning the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmie Johnson (Captain)
Who better to lead the charge of our NASCAR hockey team than Jimmie Johnson? The six-time champion is methodical and keeps a cool head taking each situation as it comes. That’s just what a team needs out of their leader on the track. In this case on the ice. Not to mention the captain needs to be on the same page as the head coach. That isn’t a problem with Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus.
The younger Busch brother is nothing short of phenomenal. He puts his car in positions where any other driver would lose control. Thus, gaining him an all important edge over the competition. He also leads a lot of laps and wins consistently in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the Xfinity Series. This builds confidence which is a great trait for any player on the ice. Busch will be relentless when it comes to scoring goals and winning games.
Martin Truex Jr.
Speaking of winning and leading laps, how about Martin Truex Jr. His Coca Cola 600 performances was one of the most dominant races in recent history. Four wins and over 8,000 laps led in 2016 are stats that are hard to argue with. With each passing year his stock goes up and I don’t see any reason that will change in the near future.
Oct 16, 2016; Kansas City, KS, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) celebrates after winning the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
Harvick fits the mold of a defensemen. He’s tough, brash, and never quits making sure no one puts anything over on his team. He’ll rough up competitors if needed and even start a conflict to further his team’s cause. Just take a look at Texas 2014. He’ll close the deal in even the most adverse situation and has never been eliminated from the chase. Call him what you want, “Happy Harvick,” “The Closer,” “El Toro,” or “The Bull.” It doesn’t matter. He gets the job done.
The elder Busch brother has many of the same traits as Harvick. As he’s grown older his temper is more easily restrained and he makes much better decisions on the racetrack. Busch doesn’t give anything to his competitors that they don’t earn. That’s all you can ask for. He’s been through his share of adversity but always comes out on top. Kurt Busch is a must have on the defensive side of the puck.
Sep 18, 2016; Joliet, IL, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart (14) before the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
We’ll close out the defensive players with the leader over at Stewart-Haas Racing. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to stand between the pipes than Tony Stewart.
A team counts on their goalie to be solid and not let in any unnecessary goals. Stewart is intense when it comes to racing and will do anything to get the job done. That’s exactly what a goalie needs to do. Not to mention it’s important that a goalie be able to shrug off a bad game or controversy and get on with their job. If you’ve learned anything in the past few years that’s Tony Stewart.