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Golden Knights dream of Hollywood ending for Stanley Cup Final run

Vegas players draw up wish list of actors to portray historic inaugural season

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

LAS VEGAS -- The story of the Vegas Golden Knights sounds like a too-good-to-be-true Hollywood pitch: A band of self-described hockey misfits comes together and beats the odds to reach the Stanley Cup Final in their first season.

But this real-life hockey epic is happening and would make a great movie someday.

Game 1 of the best-of-7 Cup Final against the Washington Capitals is at T-Mobile Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVAS).

 

[RELATED: Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

So who would play the Golden Knights in the screen adaptation? The players say the film would have to feature a star-studded ensemble cast in the tradition of another Vegas blockbuster, "Ocean's 11," the 2001 movie starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts as part of a team of casino thieves.

Golden Knights players suggest Mark Wahlberg would be a good choice to play Erik Haula if a movie about their season was ever made. 

A-listers like Ben Affleck (playing forward James Neal), Mark Wahlberg (forward Erik Haula), Denzel Washington (backup goalie Malcom Subban), Johnny Depp (goalie Marc-Andre Fleury) and Will Ferrell (defenseman Nate Schmidt) are among the suggestions made by Golden Knights players.

Forward Jonathan Marchessault unwittingly provided the tagline during the Western Conference Final.

"We're just a bunch of hockey players [who] wanted to find a home, and we did," he said.

Almost everyone in the Golden Knights locker room had an opinion on who should play Fleury, the foundation of their success.

"Maybe Adam Sandler," Neal said.

Forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare vehemently disagreed, making two other suggestions.

"You know the [actor] that was married to Angelina Jolie? Billy Bob Thornton," he said. "Or maybe 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Johnny Depp; always acting. That would be nice."

Fleury had a different idea.

"Wasn't it Jean-Claude Van Damme that played a goalie?" he said. "It's good, he's flexible, maybe has a little French accent. He speaks French, right?"

In the 1991 movie "Sudden Death," Van Damme played a fire marshal trying to stop bad guys from blowing up Civic Arena in Pittsburgh and at one point had to jump in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. 

As for who should play Schmidt, the unquestioned comedian of the locker room, there were plenty of suggestions. 

Vince Vaughn as Luca Sbisa? The Golden Knights defenseman thinks so.  

"I'm trying to think of the goofiest guy out there; Adam Sandler if you were to dye his hair blond," said defenseman Luca Sbisa, who believes he should be played by Vince Vaughn.

Fleury asked, "Who has a big funny face? Will Ferrell. Oh, I'd love that! Get him the same haircut, it will be good."

Schmidt, if he had his way, would be played by Seann William Scott, who plays Steve Stifler in the "American Pie" movies and Doug Glatt in the hockey movie "Goon."

"I feel like he's a great actor, pretty goofy guy, I like him," Schmidt said. "Think he kind of fits my personality."

Some players were happy to cast others on the team.

Tom Cruise would be perfect to play Jonathan Marchessault, according to Golden Knights forward William Karlsson. 

"We'd need someone short to play Marchessault; Tom Cruise maybe," forward William Karlsson said.

As for Karlsson, the high-scoring Sweden-born player with the long-flowing blond locks, he said Chris Hemsworth, the Australian actor who plays Thor in the Avengers franchise is perfect. 

"He's a very good-looking dude and he's blond, so he could play me," Karlsson said, laughing. 

General manager George McPhee wants to be played by Joe Pesci, his favorite actor. Gerard Gallant, the coach, opted for Clint Eastwood, his favorite actor.

Forward Alex Tuch figured Liam Neeson should play the coach, then figured Gallant could play himself in the movie.

Who would play coach Gerard Gallant? Liam Neeson would be perfect, says forward Alex Tuch, but he also thinks Gallant could pull it off himself. 

When pressed, Tuch decided Adrian Grenier, who played Vincent Chase on HBO's "Entourage" would be a good stand-in for him because several people have mentioned the resemblance.

But who would be in Tuch's entourage?

"Well, 450 people in Buffalo," Tuch said of his fans from his hometown. "I guess you could say that was an entourage."

***

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