How to win

The Democratic presidential candidates – now 24 of them and possibly more to come – need to meet in a closed room somewhere and agree to operate their campaigns like a professional hockey team, say, the Bruins.

True, there is one more candidate than a hockey team is allowed to have on its roster, so someone is for the chop right away, and that someone should be New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and not because he was last in but because his candidacy is patently absurd.

If they don’t do something to make it easier for the voters of New Hampshire to make a reasonable decision, our first-in-the-nation primary might be a big ball of confusion.

Here is what we propose:

Take the top six contenders and put them on the ice to start with the other 17 on the bench just in case they’re needed.

The starting lineup, then, might look like this:

In goal: Joe Biden. He’s the stopper. When everything else breaks down, he’s the last line of defense.

On defense: Rep. Seth Moulton and Sen. Amy Klobucher. Moulton is a former Marine who did four tours in Afghanistan. He understands defense and when pucks are being fired at him, he’s not going to flinch. Klobuchar would be a Bobby Orr type of defender, good also on the attack who warms up for the game by throwing things at her teammates.

At center: She’s not big, but she’s quick and she’s very smart – Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Centers have to see both sides of the rink and Warren seems to have that quality. Plus, she can feed ideas to her wingers.

At left wing: Sen. Bernie Sanders. No one can get down the left side faster or more surely than he.

At right wing: It’s a position no one wants to play but somebody must, and that somebody is Sen. Kamala Harris. She can prosecute on offense as well as come back to defend.

A lot of fans want South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to start but he’s the team’s youngest player and will eventually get his chance when, say, Sanders decides to hang up his skates.

Think about it: If the Bruins put all of their 23 players on the ice at once, it would be a mess. They’d get in one another’s way and their opponent would need to field only a single skater who could take advantage of this confusing mess to score and probably win over the crowd.

Winning the game is what counts and you can’t win if you can’t figure out the best way to play.