(The nerd train is now departing the station. All aboard!)
"What if you found a portal to a parallel National Hockey League? What if you could Slide into a thousand different hockey worlds? Where it's the same year, and you're the same person, and the Maple Leafs are still terrible, but everything else is different. And what if you can't find your way home?"
No, wait, fuck...
There we go! NHL SLIDERS!
I'll be Professor Maximillian Arturo, blustering physics genius, Rudy can be Rembrant Lee "Crying Man" Brown, racist caricature extraordinaire, and Earl can be Quinn Mallory, the effeminate nerd who spends all his time playing video games. The part of the girl is up for grabs - I vote for Spade.
A full list of exciting episodes can be found after the jump!
Episode 1: The world where Joe Thornton never came to the Sharks.
Instead of coming to the Sharks, Joe Thornton was traded to the Maple Leafs, where he was hated and blamed for everything even more than in Boston. Then he was sent to Philadelphia for more of the same shitty treatment, before finally retiring at age 30 to do ventriloquism and commercials full time.
In this bleak universe the Sharks are a bottom-of-the-barrel team, with 20-goal scorer Marco Sturm as their best player. Patrick Marleau signed with the Los Angeles Kings for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. No one in the world has heard of Jonathan Cheechoo - not even his mom. Meg nearly breaks the Sliding timer trying to get to the next world as fast as possible.
Episode 2: The world where hockey is the most popular sport in the United States.
In this joyous alternate-Earth, the NHL finally gets the respect and attention it deserves. Everyone gets two weeks of vacation during the Stanley Cup Finals, free roller and ice rinks are more common than Starbucks, and stupid boring baseball is relegated to some BS TV network you have to special order from your cable company.
The four Sliders debate staying in this world forever, but Meg confesses feeling "totally creeped out" by a world where everyone loves hockey, so they leave.
Episode 3: The world where Wayne Gretzky never came to the Los Angeles Kings
Without Wayne, the Kings spiraled downward into irrelevance and were eventually contracted. Hockey never caught on in California and thus the NHL never again attempted to expand into non-traditional markets. Today the league is a tiny afterthought in the U.S. confined to the Northeast.
Faced with a world without the Kings, Sharks, or Ducks, our heroes huddle in a pile of garbage and cry until it's time for the next slide.
Episode 4: The world where the Nazis won World War II.
In this obligatory episode the NHL only exists as a grim mockery of itself. The last five Stanley Cup Champions have been the Detroit Red Wings.
Right before sliding to the next world, Rudy takes a piss on a propaganda poster of Hitler.
Episode 5: The world where the Kovalchuk contract is the norm.
Mediocre players are signed to massive 27 year deals in this bizarre world, and advanced calculus is often required to figure out a player's salary-cap hit. The Sharks sign a 40 year old Rob Blake to an 18 year deal paying him 1 million the first year and one shiny nickel for each year afterward.
Rudy meets his parallel self in this universe, and within five minutes the two are having sex. Rudy says this is the only way to "avert paradoxes" but Meg is pretty sure Sliding doesn't work that way.
Episode 6: The world where the Kings didn't lose in five games to the Canadiens in the 93 finals
...and instead were swept. Upon discovering this heartbreaking bit of history, Rudy nearly takes his own life, but settles for just getting really drunk on alternate universe beers.
Episode 7: The world where Chris Pronger was killed in 1998 by a slapshot to the chest
This world is a paradise. Colors seem brighter and everyone smiles more. Old people walk the streets at night unafraid and all children know how to read. It's basically a reverse It's a Wonderful Life.
As a consequence of Pronger not existing, the 2010 Flyers didn't even make the playoffs, and the Bruins were able to avoid their epic collapse in the Conference semi-finals. Boston then trounced the Canadiens before getting the hell beaten out of them by Chicago. It was even funnier than what happened in our universe.
Episode 8: The world where Native Americans control the United States
"Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2010 Stanley Cup Champions...The Chicago Italians!"
The gang almost leaves Earl behind on this world after he gets his hands on a copy of Red Eagle Redemption, the cowboy-killing video game.
Episode 9: The world with annoying plot twists that ruin the series
In a terribly misguided effort to boost ratings, the network forces NHL Sliders to introduce a recurring villain into the series. Brokenyard, Niesy, and a parallel version of Gary Bettman with muttonchops are all considered for the role, but the producers finally settle on Evil Darren Pang.
At this point in the series Earl's younger brother joins the cast. He looks and acts exactly like Earl only he's a big(ger) doofus.
Episode 10: The world where the Ducks never won the Stanley Cup.
The series ends here, as Meg and Rudy instantly smash the Sliding device into a million pieces so they never have to leave. Both die of joyful heart attacks five minutes later. Earl and Spade-girl get married.
Special Blog-O-Thanks to Rudy for help with the jokes that didn't make you laugh.
Please leave your own ideas for future episodes of NHL Sliders in the comments. Wondering what the world would be like if Wild Wing had died in that fire? Or if the New York Islanders weren't run by an escaped mental patient? Let us know!