This is “Fear the Five,” a recurring series where we present a lighthearted list of five things somehow related to hockey. The lists aren’t presented in any particular order.
23-time Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps did not race a great white shark to kick off the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” on Sunday, but instead raced and lost to a computer simulation of a shark. Because, you know, it would be entirely unfeasible for him to race a predatory fish in open water.
Racing a human, hockey-playing Shark, however, is much more probable! You’d have to find a way to set up a sheet of ice next to a pool and vice versa, but you wouldn’t have to worry about the “bloodthirsty animal” thing.
With that in mind, here are five San Jose Sharks that would beat Michael Phelps in a race.
Perhaps the fastest player on the team following the departure of Patrick Marleau, Boedker is best-known for his speed. It wasn’t always on full display during his first year in teal, but his jets were on full display against the Jets in March, when the Danish forward sped away for a breakaway goal.
Phelps can catch another swimmer at the wall, but there’s no way he’s catching that.
Burns is one of the most fleet-of-foot defensemen in the league, and boasts great quickness for a player of his size. He may not have the most straightaway speed, but there’s no stopping Burns when he’s got a full head of steam. The Ottawa Senators learned that firsthand in December, just as Phelps would if the two raced.
Much like Boedker, the Sharks acquired Hansen to inject some speed into the lineup. He didn’t get too many chances to showcase it in 21 regular season and playoff games with the Sharks, but did skate with Boedker at times. The Danish duo posted a 56.8 corsi-for percentage in a little over 84 minutes together, according to Puckalytics. They may even make up two thirds of a line moving forward, especially if Hansen turn on the after-burners like he did against Columbus in December.
That’d be Great Danes 2, Phelps 0.
The 20-year-old Swiss winger has not spent all that much time in the NHL, but showed speed in spurts this past season. We got a taste of that, plus his skill and smarts last season, but those flashes must become far more regular in the 2017-18 campaign if Meier is to establish himself in a regular role. Struggles aside, he’d still absolutely beat Phelps in a race.
Literally any Sharks skater
Let’s cut to the chase: Michael Phelps would not be able to swim faster than any player on the Sharks could skate, except for maybe the goaltenders. According to the San Francisco Exploratorium, NHL players can reach “top speeds in excess of 20 miles per hour.” Phelps, according to a Vanity Fair piece in the lead-up to his “race,” clocked his top speed at five to five-and-a-half miles per hour. The better race would be to see a San Jose Shark race a great white, or Phelps race against Martin Jones or Aaron Dell.
Yeah, I just dedicated over 500 words to the subject, but let’s not be that ridiculous, people.