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Tim Benz: Recasting 'Star Wars' from the Penguins' galaxy

| Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, 11:00 a.m.
The Penguins ice crew sports Star Wars masks as they clean the ice during the Islanders game in the first period Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins ice crew sports Star Wars masks as they clean the ice during the Islanders game in the first period Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena.

It's not often that someone besides Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin is the biggest star in the building on a Penguins game night at PPG Paints Arena.

But on Thursday, C-3PO was in the house, for crying out loud!

Not much rivals my geeky passion for sports. My geeky passion for Star Wars is pretty close, though.

The new Star Wars movie, "The Last Jedi," will be released Dec.15. As a promotional tie-in Thursday night, the Penguins hosted Star Wars Night for the team's game against the New York Islanders.

Anthony Daniels, the actor who played C-3PO, was in attendance. He is the only man to have appeared in all of the series' film. Thus making him a movie "god.''

Not to overstate or anything.

So Star Wars Night at PPG got me thinking. What if we were to recast Star Wars from a list of recent members of the Penguins' galaxy?

After all, the likes of Crosby, Malkin and Kris Letang have won three Stanley Cups already. May the *fourth* be with them!

Sidney Crosby as Luke Skywalker

Straight out of central casting. Protagonist. Leader. Hero. Jedi. Also wields that stick near the net like it's a lightsaber. Let's just hope he never needs major hand surgery like Luke did. But with Derian Hatcher out of the game now, the chances are less likely.

Evgeni Malkin as Han Solo

The perfect sidekick to Sid Skywalker. Second on the marquee, but perfectly capable of stealing the movie. Perhaps occasionally prone to "delusions of grandeur" at the blue lines. But the Pens never would've vanquished the evil Empire from the Detroit system without him in 2009. He has overcome many injuries but never carbon blindness. The fans scream, "We love you Geno!" He simply replies, "I know."

The Philadelphia Flyers as Stormtroopers

Robotic. Mean. Evil. Underachieving. Easily outsmarted. Woefully inaccurate shots. Haven't won anything since the mid 1970s. #TheseArentTheCupsYouAreLookingFor

Phil Kessel as Chewbacca

Fuzzy, funny comic relief. His dialogue is usually in short indiscernible soundbites. Yells back at his teammates on the bench when they yell at him. Pairs well with Evgeni Solo. His wrist shot is as deadly as Chewie's crossbow. Does his best work in the most crucial situations. During his downtime, plays poker as seriously as Chewbacca plays intergalactic chess. #LetTheWookieWin

Mario Lemieux as Obi-Wan Kenobi

The Jedi master brought young Skywalker under his wing and showed him the ways of The Force. Obi-Wan also had back trouble later in his career or else he totally would've kicked Darth Vader's butt in Episode IV.

Jaromir Jagr as Kylo Ren

Brooding. Petulant. Moody. But remarkably skilled. And great hair. Also, both went with the Dark Side instead of returning home when they had the chance. Jagr went to Philadelphia. Kylo Ren killed Han. Clearly what Jagr did was worse.

Jim Rutherford as Yoda

Both are old and wise and best known for their accomplishments later in life. But we forget how acrobatic ...

... they were in their younger days.

Ryan Reaves as The Rancor

He's big. Angry. He'll eat you alive in a fight. And they both get about five minutes of action.

Jake Guentzel as Rey

Both are fast (you saw her run across Jakku in "The Force Awakens," right?). They've each got great natural instinct and skills that they just need to hone. But The Force is strong with these two.

Bryan Rust as Wicket

I say this only because of that mustache he grew in November . It definitely had an Ewok look by the end.

Mike Sullian as Admiral Ackbar

Mike Sullivan. A tremendous game planner. A master of organizing his troops. And the man knows how to beat a trap.

Scott Hartnell as Boba Fett

Nothing but a dirty bounty hunter.

Alexander Ovechkin as Darth Vader

The biggest rival of the Jedi. Dangerous. Scary. Dark powers. Would choke you just by looking at you. But he never wins at the end.

Tim Benz hosts the Steelers pregame show on WDVE and ESPN Pittsburgh. He is a regular host/contributor on KDKA-TV and 105.9 FM.

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