Can Kevin Smith make an Oscar-worthy hockey movie?

We've long admired writer/director Kevin Smith's passion for hockey, whether it's been the litany of references to the Game in his flicks or his humorous observations on the Stanley Cup playoffs or the fact that he's the second most famous New Jersey Devils fan behind Joe Piscopo.

Lately, Smith had an essay published by TIME Magazine in support of Jim Balsillie's bid for the Phoenix Coyotes, writing that "hockey isn't woven into the fabric of the American quilt the way it is woven into the Canadian toque." He's also scheduled to tend goal in the Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament in Brantford next month.

The man who gave the world Jay, Silent Bob, Dante, Randal, Buddy Christ and "37" is clearly in the midst of a hockey renaissance; and the bittersweet story of a hockey goon appears to be Smith's new dream project.

In an interview with MTV, Smith said he plans to adapt the late Warren Zevon's song "Hit Somebody" -- lyrics by Detroit Free Press columnist and schmaltzy author Mitch Albom, no less -- for the big screen. (Listen to the studio version here; the guy screaming "Hit Somebody!" is, in fact, your old pal Dave Letterman.) From MTV, where the following video can also be found:

Smith is gunning to get the project going in 2010 or 2011, singling out the film from all his other projects as "the one I really want to do in a big, bad way." It will be set in the late 1970s within the World Hockey Association, before those teams were absorbed into the National Hockey League. "It takes place during the last gasp of the goon era of hockey when it was all about fighting," Smith said. While there will certainly be humor in the script, he envisions the film as being more dramatic in nature, and possibly entering into awards season chatter down the road.

Is there any actor from the Smith repertory players that could pull off a hockey goon in an Oscar-bait film inspired by Mitch Albom's prose? Besides Jason Mewes?

Or if you were going to see "The Wrestler" for hockey, what actor could pull it off?

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