So I like metal and I like hockey. I mentioned this to Connors and Cornelius one time and they figured I should come back to Chowder and write about it and I obliged. When I get bored I play this game of which album represents each player. Sometimes it goes swimmingly and others it turns into a jumbled mess that makes me wonder whether I should be doing something more constructive. Try it sometime! Maybe even in the comments!
Zdeno Chara - Master of Puppets
This one is easy, Puppets is far and away THE Metallica album and anybody who tells you otherwise is just being overly pretentious (I would know, I've done it). Both withstand the test of time and succeed on a combination of brute force and smart composition. I mean, go listen to "Disposable Heroes" and try and tell me that doesn't want to make you hit something. In the same vein, Chara broke a dude's neck. Hard to argue with that logic.
That's before mentioning Chara is an absolute master of his craft. Facing top competition he maintains a 55.7% Corsi for with heavy defensive zone usage, all the while contributing 5.33 P/60 on the power play. He's versatile, and deadly, kind of like "Orion" which is the best Metallica song ever and I'm willing to fight you over it.
Johnny Boychuk - Kill ‘Em All
Boychuk is a throwback, and a fun as hell one at that. Like the 1983 debut album, Boychuk's game is hard, fast, and loud. If Johnny Boychuk was a Metallica song he'd be "Jump in the Fire," or "Seek & Destroy," maybe a little "Whiplash" while we're at it.
Boychuk has made a bit of name for himself by being that kind of explosive player. As a defenseman he's pretty serviceable, not really capable of anchoring a top himself pairing but excelling when placed with someone who can (see: Zdeno Chara). Boychuk has a knack for going unnoticed for a spell then making that one big hit, or unleashing that bomb of a shot that loudly reminds you he's there.
Dougie Hamilton - ...And Justice For All
This right here, this is the next one. Justice is the album you argue with people over because it took what Metallica did on Puppets and expanded on it. It's easily their most technical and interesting album.
The Dougie comparison comes in when you realize that he doesn't quite get the recognition it deserves. The hard cores know what's up; they realize how well a player Hamilton's age has played without getting the advantage of heavy sheltering. It takes a little deeper understanding to fully appreciate it, but the skill that is there is evident. They're not without it's faults, a lot of the songs go on a wee bit too long while Dougie has been caught making a rookie mistake that, unfortunately, creates some bias in his observation. Mistakes, aside anybody who tells you he isn't living up to the hype is insane.
One more hilariously accurate comparison while we're here. Justice is kind of infamous for having almost no bass track anywhere on the album. It's there but it's heavily toned down in the mix because, as the story goes, the band was conducting some sort of strange hazing ritual with then new bass player Jason Newstead. Compare that to Dougie, who some high-profile (and dumb) writers claim needed some time in Providence and, well, the jokes write themselves.
Dennis Seidenberg - Garage Inc.
Yeah, I called Seidenberg a cover album. Seidenberg was a relative unknown until being traded to the Bruins in 2010. He was a league leader in blocked shots and racked up hits, the kind of things that sound good but don't exactly contribute all that much.
That's not to say he's bad, or that the album is bad, it's just stuff we've heard before. Seidenberg can definitely have his moments the same way "Whiskey in the Jar" was a brilliant cover but when not paired with Chara he doesn't have that one distinctive attribute that sets him apart. He's a solid player, and it's a solid album, but there's better to be heard.
Torey Krug - Metallica (The Black Album)
This was actually a pretty easy call to make. Krug is the man right now. The rookie has got talent, wheels, and a shot and has quickly made him the darling of Bruins fans. Everybody loves Krug right now, and rightfully so because who doesn't get jacked whenever "Enter Sandman" comes on?
But like the massively popular self-titled album, popularity doesn't always mean the best quality. Krug has excelled in his role because he's is heavily sheltered, over the course of his rookie season he has started at least half of his shifts in the offensive zone against weak competition while getting ample power play time. It's not a bad thing when your bottom-pairing defenseman can prey on weaker competition but it doesn't quite make him the next Bobby Orr. Much like the Rick Rubin produced album, Krug's contributions are the loud and flashy ones (like OT winners against the Penguins). He gives you the good while avoiding situations that would flesh out the bad.
All in all it's a damn good guy to have around but sometimes you wonder why he gets all the accolades when a technically superior player/album came out right before it.
Matt Bartkowski - Death Magnetic
You know when you first heard this one and thought "aw man, this is cool it's back to their roots a bit" and then you heard "Cyanide" and were like "wait, what the hell was that?" That's kind of what I think when I see Bartkowski.
The rookie has finally played his way into a solid job in Boston after hanging out in Providence to season a bit. He's a solid bottom-paring guy so far who's benefitted from some sheltering while being paired with Krug. He's certainly got some upside and has filled in well in Adam McQuaid's absence but it's still tough to pin point where exactly he fits in.
Which reminds me, McQuaid wasn't in this because he's hurt. He has that inexplicable ability to hurt himself which makes me think of St. Anger for some reason. Like, you just think to yourself "how do you even let that happen?" at least McQuaid has the benefit of just being unlucky while Metallica was just being stupid. Let's just all go ahead and forget about it.
BONUS: Tuukka Rask - Children of Bodom
Simply because he's Finnish, they're Finnish, and Finns stick together. That and Tuukka is a well-documented metalhead who loves Bodom. And can you blame him? No, didn't think so.