In 2011, a young boy named Ryan knelt before his majesty Kevin Lowe, Duke of the 6 Rings and pledged eternal loyalty while at the same time getting a big dump of cash. After buying a new wardrobe from Old Navy, young Nugey did what any hot blooded, testosterone fuelled, teenage male would do. He bought a pony.
Her name was Zenya, and every day that summer after training, young Ryan would wait in the parking lot of the YMCA for his mom to pick him up. She would drive him to the stable where he would run out of the minivan, and into the barn. Zenya would whinny and Ryan would wrap his scrawny little arms around her. He would lovingly brush her and sing to her until the summer sun set. The two would walk together down to the dugout, swimming and splashing together, but at the sound of the horn from his mom’s 2007 honda odyssey, RNH would kiss his pony goodbye and with a heavy heart he would hop in the van, and go home and eat his chicken nuggets and chocolate milk. As summer turned into fall, Ryan would spend less time with his beloved filly and as losing hockey games took up more and more of his time, the young horse and boy were separated, with Ryan stuck in Edmonton not winning hockey games, and the horse in vancouver, also not winning hockey games.
In summer of 2014, an older RNH and his pony were able to spend a little more time together after a surprisingly short NHL season. DVD, reportedly a writer for the Edmonton Sunshine Girl Magazine, did up a quick story on the horse which got some attention, but like most writers, he never bothered to follow up. Luckily, I’m a better writer so i dug up the records for Zenya in her rookie 2014 race season and for comparison’s sake, i looked at her performance vs. Ryan Nugent-Hopkin’s rookie year. The results are below.
Well, both of these athletes had an acceptable rookie campaign, each with their own strengths in certain areas. For example,Zenya fell well short of RNH in terms of goals and assists, while Ryan did not compete in as many thoroughbred races as the filly.
However, Zenya definitely outperformed RNH in terms of what she was able to accomplish in her off-season workouts. Under trainer Barbara Heads and jockey Amadeo Perez, Zenya was able to enter the season in great shape. Her 1200 lbs was over 6 times RNH’s weight despite being close to the same height. This continues to be a major weakness of Ryan’s. If i were Coach Nelson, I would be talking to Barbara and trying to see what elements of her training program I could incorporate into Ryan’s regime. It is likely that if RNH is serious about gaining weight, he will need to increase his oats intake and likely switch to a higher nutrition, alfalfa-based hay.
In a large surprise, Zenya actually outperformed RNH in one hockey stat, +/-. Either this indicates that that stat is largely useless, or perhaps Zenya should be looked at as a replacement to Luke Gazdic on the 4th line.
It is also important to remember that Nugent-Hopkins is now in his 4th professional season, while Zenya is just coming off her first. However the horse racing industry is different than hockey. If a horse went 4 years without finishing anywhere near the top half of any race, she’d be sent to the glue factory. In hockey however, repeated failures are ok, and justify increased ticket prices. A tank in the horse racing industry would be the equivalent of shooting your horse, claiming horse insurance and then buying another horse which would have to be fed and trained for another 3 years before it could be expected to race competitively.
Though the two athletes are pretty similar as shown above, RNH continues to be surrounded by far more horseshit than, ironically, an actual horse.