Inter-sport Trading: The Dream of the Hometown Fan

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Published on : May 19, 2017

 

While there certainly are some exceptions, for the most part I think sports fans grow up rooting for their local teams, riding out the highs and lows while sticking with those teams no matter how bad the tough times can get. I mean, take it from me, I’ll devote every season to my Detroit Lions even after their disastrous 0-16 season.

 

I would venture to guess that most fans are like me in that sense. Growing up here in the Metro Detroit area, we are fortunate to have a franchise in all of the four major sports, and each one is the team I stand behind. If it’s the fall you can spot me wearing that Matt Stafford #9 jersey, in the winter months there I am hoping for the return of the glory days for my Red Wings and Pistons, and come summer you can find me enjoying a cold one while sitting behind home plate looking at a re-surging Detroit skyline while rooting for arguably the greatest hitter of my generation, Miguel Cabrera and the Detroit Tigers.

 

 

Being a Detroit sports fan has blessed me with a lot of great memories as I have been able to witness and celebrate multiple championships courtesy of the Red Wings and Pistons, and have been along for the ride on some close calls with the Detroit Tigers in recent years. However, I think the dream for any sports fan is for all of their teams to be at the top of their game every season, or at the same time, and with that wish came an idea that I envisioned many years ago — the idea of inter-sport trading.

 

Now, understand this about the idea, I do realize it is essentially impossible given the fact that these teams don’t in fact belong to the cities they represent. Owning a sports franchise is a business and all businesses of course are in the business of making a profit. Therefore, even though Detroit has four franchises, they are not owned by the same individual and therefore they would more than likely never be interested in my idea. However, we all can dream right? So here is my dream, the dream of the hometown fan.

 

With the NBA Lottery complete, the Boston Celtics are on the clock with the #1 pick and are in a prime position to remain a contender for years to come. Currently, the Boston Celtics are heading into the Eastern Conference Finals as the #1 seed and therefore in a great place going forward building around guys like Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Also in the Boston area, you have a perennial power in the New England Patriots, and even the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins have enjoyed recent success. All four franchises have won the championship in their respective sports in the past decade which is something to be really excited about if you are a Boston fan, and something that fans of other cities may wish to experience themselves.

 

 

In this example, seeing as how the Celtics are in a great spot contending for an NBA Championship, the Patriots are coming off a Super Bowl season and look to be ready to contend for another this season, and the Red Sox early on are hoping to be in the World Series conversation come October but currently find themselves in 3rd place in the AL East. If inter-sport trading were a thing, I would bet many Red Sox fans would definitely entertain the idea of being able to dangle that #1 pick that the Boston Celtics may not have much use for and trade it to another NBA franchise who could desperately use that #1 pick. Now the question is what’s the return for a Boston fan in this deal? Well, suppose the NBA team that receives the #1 pick is the Chicago Bulls. Chicago is rumored to be possibly facing a scenario where they move Jimmy Butler looking to shake their roster up and therefore a #1 pick would help that process. In return, coming off a World Series title, the Chicago Cubs are loaded with talent and perhaps could afford to lose a spare part in their rotation or lineup to give to the Boston Red Sox.

 

So in this scenario, you have the Boston Celtics still playing at a high level with salary cap space and perhaps not much need for a high draft pick at this time and the Red Sox would boost their roster via the return from the Cubs. If you’re a Chicago fan, you just gained a #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft and potentially still have a very deep roster where such a move wouldn’t affect the World Series chances for the Cubs.

 

 

However, this scenario does pose a difficult issue considering Chicago is one of many cities or states where two or more franchises reside in the same city or state. For example, South siders and North siders may both love their Bulls but will have very different opinions of the Cubs with the White Sox also having loyal fanbases in the area. Therefore, half of the city would not be in support of inter-sport trading.

 

In another scenario that ultimately inspired the idea for me, we have to go back to 2003. My beloved Detroit Pistons were on the cusp of greatness vying for an NBA Championship with a core group that featured Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and Tayshaun Prince. The lottery balls that year fell in Detroit’s favor landing them the #2 overall pick. However, with LeBron James going #1, the Pistons faced a dilemma of who to take with that pick. Hindsight is of course 20/20 but they definitely struck out with their selection in the long run, but in the short run it may not have been the worst thing in the world.

 

The Pistons went on to select Darko Milicic, and he rarely saw the court during his tenure in Detroit but during his rookie campaign, that may not have been the worst thing. The Pistons had a great starting five and a good group of role players off the bench that seemed to form a perfect team, and it’s possible that even with future superstars in Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony available in that draft, their best chance to win an NBA title in 2004 was with a guy like Darko who didn’t get in the way by stealing minutes from the other Pistons.

 

Darko-2003-NBA-Draft

 

In the short run therefore, drafting Darko may have not been a horrible option, while in the long run it of course looks like one of the worst draft picks in this history of the NBA as Darko Milicic went on to retire from basketball at age 27. However, I think the best scenario would have been to trade the pick because quite frankly, the Pistons just didn’t need it. This is where I drew the inspiration for my idea of inter-sport trading. The Pistons could have found a suitor in the NBA who would have jumped at the opportunity to get guys like Wade, Bosh or Melo and in return another franchise in Detroit could have reaped the benefits from it.

 

Prime example being the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons went on to beat Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals that year thanks in part to the block heard round the world when Tayshaun Prince ran down Reggie Miller swatting him at the rim. With Reggie set to retire, Dwyane Wade would have been a perfect replacement in Indiana had they traded for our #2 pick. Or imagine the frontcourt of Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal with Ron Artest at the small forward position. Just down the road in Indiana, the Indianapolis Colts were riding high with Peyton Manning winning 3 straight NFL MVP’s from 2003-2005 and went on to win 12+ games in seven straight years beginning in 2003. The Colts went on to win the Super Bowl in 2006 and perhaps back when the Pistons could have traded that #2 pick the Colts would have been willing to ship their #1 and #2 or a pro bowl quality player to the Detroit Lions.

 

Again, the idea of inter-sport trading would never work, I get it. Unless teams became property of the cities themselves or owners bought the rights to every pro franchise in that particular city, no owner would sacrifice his own business by helping another business. But a sports fan can still dream right?

 

 


The Red Wings need to bring Steve Yzerman home

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Published on : April 24, 2017

 

 

“Come Home Stevie! Come Home Stevie!”

 

That’s what a packed house at Joe Louis Arena was screaming as Steve Yzerman walked away from the podium during the closing ceremony for the Detroit Red Wings home for the last 38 years. Yzerman is a hall of famer who wore the winged wheel across his chest for 22 years. His #19 jersey will hang in the rafters of whatever home the Red Wings have from now until eternity, never to be worn by another player on that team. He was the captain for 19 seasons and he’s still known simply as “The Captain.” He is Hockeytown and it’s time for him to come back home and lead the team he loves.

 

 

This is a scenario that makes too much sense to not happen. Following his retirement from playing in the NHL in 2006, the Red Wings made Yzerman team vice president. In that position and through his stint running team Canada, he was groomed for the position of general manager. Under Ken Holland, the Red Wings current general manager, he learned the tricks of the trade and was part of another Stanley Cup championship. There was even an attempt to make Yzerman the GM before he eventually departed for Tampa Bay, but Ken Holland declined a promotion that would have made room for Stevie Y in the front office.

 

In the time since Holland obstructed Yzerman’s path to his rightful place at the helm of the organization, the Captain’s Lightning have won 1 Stanley Cup and the Wings have none. This isn’t to insinuate that Yzerman is necessarily a better GM than Holland, but after some bad contracts and steadily declining performance of the team in recent years, Holland seems to be on his way out after an illustrious career in Detroit. The time is now to get the band back together. Holland has two years left on his contract and Yzerman only has one, that seems like a deal that is more than doable.

 

 

There are whispers that perhaps Steve Yzerman and Chris Ilitch, son of former owner Mike Ilitch and the guy currently signing the checks, don’t have the same type of relationship. Mike Ilitch only ever cared about giving the people of Detroit a winner and because of that, he will always be remembered fondly by fans in the Motor City. Rumor has it that his son is much more concerned with the bottom line and is not as willing to spend endless amounts of money just for the chance to win big. With a reputation for being tighter with the money, it’s also said that he is a much more hands-on owner and because of that Stevie Y might want to avoid giving up the good thing he has in Tampa Bay. I call bullshit.

 

Steve Yzerman and the Detroit Red Wings go together like peanut butter and jelly. He belongs in Detroit where he made a career and turned the Red Wings into a dynasty. He laid the bricks that built Hockeytown and it’s hard for me believe that he hasn’t simply been waiting for his chance to return. The fans in Detroit should be forever grateful to Ken Holland for the teams that he built but it’s becoming clear that he doesn’t have the same success in the salary cap era as he did before it. Holland’s time is ending and that will leave the door open for Stevie to come home, just like the fans want. Chris Ilitch should make sure he doesn’t let this opportunity slip away. His dad sure wouldn’t have.

 

 


Joe Louis Arena was more than just a building

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Published on : April 13, 2017

 

 

On Sunday April 9th, 2017 the Detroit Red Wings played their last game at Joe Louis Arena, signaling the end of an era. For 38 years Joe Louis was the heart and soul of Hockeytown, and the list of players who graced the ice in that building is a who’s who of hall of famers. It is one of the most iconic places in hockey, even for those who don’t support the winged wheel. Everyone respects the history but for some of us, Joe Louis Arena is more than just a building where our favorite team played, it’s hallowed ground. It’s like a part of the family, a piece of our sports culture. A piece of Detroit’s culture.

 

JLA is a monument to a time before corporate sponsorship of stadiums. When places that represented a people were named in honor of the greatest champions among those people. The Red Wings new home, Little Caesars Arena, inspires considerably less Motor City pride. Joe Louis Arena was too old, too small, too ill-equipped to handle the needs and desires of today’s sports fan. Because of that, it was time to move on, but damned if it wasn’t a great place to see the game. That place was always rocking and the atmosphere was always electric. Four Stanley Cups were won by the Red Wings during their time in that building. The team was built into a dynasty during that era; they were royalty, and Joe Louis Arena was their castle.

 

 One of 31 octopi that were thrown on to the ice during the Red Wings last game at Joe Louis Arena.

 

The Red Wings are missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years and it almost seems fitting that in the same year we all said goodbye to beloved owner, Mike Ilitch, and Joe Louis Arena. This is the beginning of a new era for the franchise and all of its fans. What makes this franchise so special is that even though they are planning for the future they know they had to honor their past.

 

The Illitch family has always had a deep love for the city of Detroit and they know what that building and the team mean to the city. The organization recognized the meaning of that moment, and they knew that the fans in Detroit needed a chance to pay their respect to a place that means so much to them. In a ceremony that involved over 90 current and former players and coaches, the city and the team had a chance to process the moment and reflect on everything that had happened under that roof.

 

 Current and former players salute the crowd following the closing ceremony at Joe Louis Arena.

 

Steve Yzerman was in the house and was greeted by adoring fans who begged him to come back home to Detroit. Bob Probert’s widow spread his ashes in the penalty box, a place where he spent a considerable amount of time during his career. Guys that couldn’t attend, like Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, sent in video messages. Hell, Wayne Gretzky did a video message, and he didn’t even play for the team but he wanted to be part of saying goodbye to a piece of history.

 

Joe Louis Arena was more than just a building. For some people, it was their earliest memory of going to a game. For some people, it was where they fell in love with the game. For some people, it was where they saw champions made. For some people, it was sports Mecca. For some people, it was home. As for me, it is the place where some of my fondest memories happened, and the best place to watch a hockey game on the entire planet.

 

 

 


A new chapter for the Red Wings

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Published on : February 28, 2017

 

 

It’s been a very different kind of year for fans of the Detroit Red Wings. Right now, the team is among the worst in the NHL and the chances of them making it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs are dwindling with each passing day and each loss. It’s a sinking feeling that people in Detroit aren’t used to and missing the playoffs is something that hasn’t happened in decades. To many of us, it’s a tragedy for a franchise that is so accustomed to excellence to be in such a poor state. But it also seems like a fitting cap to what has been a trying year for the Red Wings. A year when the Wings have lost some very important people and will be leaving their home of the last 38 years.

 

The hits started coming last summer, less than two months after the Red Wings first round playoff exit at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightening. On June 10th, one of the most legendary players in the history of the game of hockey, Gordie Howe, passed away at the age of 88 and the entire sports world mourned. He was an old man who had lived a full life and for that, all of us who loved him can be grateful. But that doesn’t lessen the impact of his passing.

 

 You are missed, Gordie.

 

Then a couple of weeks ago, on February 10th, 2017, longtime team owner, Mike Illitch, passed away. He too lived to a ripe, old age and at 87-years-old the man who made his fortune off the Little Caesars pizza chain and bought the Red Wings in 1982 for $8 million had lived to see his team win 4 Stanley Cups during his time as owner. He truly loved the Red Wings and his other team the Tigers, as well as the city of Detroit. As a fan, you couldn’t ask for a more passionate and caring owner. All he ever wanted was to win and though his Tigers were never able to bring him a championship he was overjoyed every time the Wings were able to hoist the Cup.

 

 Mike Iliitch loved his team and his city.

 

So with two of the biggest icons in the history of Detroit hockey gone, isn’t it fitting that the team would miss out on the postseason for the first time in 25 years? The passing of Howe and Illitch, along with this year’s abysmal performance by the team and their departure from Joe Louis Arena, point to a shift in the world of Detroit Hockey. That might not be a bad thing and it seems like it could be a jumping off point for the next generation of Detroit Red Wings.

 

New arena. New owner. New Red Wings. The team has been coasting on “just making the playoffs” for years now and the decade anniversary of the last Stanley Cup championship is rapidly approaching. Fans are getting tired of simply making it to the dance and getting tossed in the first or second round. It’s time for a rebuild and a year away from the playoffs might be what the franchise needs to turn the corner and get back to the mountain top. It’s been tough losing Gordie and Mr I, and it will be tough leaving Joe Louis Arena behind but the only constant in this world is change. These changes might be hard but they are necessary. Likely, it will be a bumpy road but with some luck there will be a new, improved Red Wings team rising from the ashes of the 2016-17 season.

 

 


All I want for Christmas

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Published on : December 23, 2016

 

I already have two front teeth but there is plenty I still want. Mostly I want less credit card debt. Or clothes, I can always use clothes. I won’t leave a link to an amazon wish list because I’m not a stripper on twitter. Now, let’s turn to the world of pro athletics and I’ll go through my Christmas wish list, sport by sport. Get ready to have your stocking stuffed. With sports!

 

Baseball

For the Cleveland Indians to retire their racist mascot, Chief Wahoo. They are already removing him from all their hats for the upcoming season but he will still be featured on their sleeves. Baby steps aren’t good enough anymore. Just ditch the insanely racist cartoon completely. Please and thank you. I understand that fans in Cleveland may have fond memories of the mascot but their franchise was just in the World Series so they have that to think about it. It’s a perfect time to bury that bigot of an image.

wahoo

 

Football

Let’s keep the Christmas righteousness rolling. I wish that the Washington “Redskins” would change their name. I’ve said this many times and I’ll keep saying it. They can keep the logo for now but the name has to go. If they want to keep the Native American theme then they can pick something less offensive (maybe the Washington Warriors) or could rebrand completely. The Washington Wallabies. Or the Washington Washing Machines. I like that, not the toughest animal but it’s universally respected.

 

Oh, and quick side note. Dear Santa, if you aren’t too busy, please let the Lions win the Super Bowl. Love, Bruno.

P.S. I left you cookies and bourbon.

 

Hockey

All I want for hockey Christmas is for the Red Wings to make the playoffs again this year. That would make it 26 straight years with a postseason appearance. Which is nuts, because I’m 31, so most of my active memory includes the Wings being good. It’s already the longest active streak in any major sport but the real reason I want the playoffs this year is because it’s the last season the Wings play at Joe Louis Arena, the building where that streak started. Let’s see the stadium out with a bang, one last cup run. Let’s go Red Wings! #LGRW

 

redwings spirit 2002

                                                  Spirit of Detroit statue dressed for the playoffs

 

Basketball

I wish for Russell Westbrook to stay healthy all year. So he can get the most triple doubles ever and play the Golden State Warriors in the postseason. And If I’m being honest, I want for at least one moment, for Russ to drive and KD is the help defense that rolls over. Then, that moment will slow down as Batman guards Robin. I’m not saying who is better but I bet Westbrook either scores or get’s fouled. Just like if KD had the ball. But please let me have this moment. We all want to see that go down.

 

P.P.S.

Santa, there is a roast beef sandwich for you in the fridge. And if you make the Lions win the Super Bowl then you can also take a few beers. Hell, take the whole case. I’ll just buy more with my credit card. Love Bruno.

 

Eggnog.

 

 


Halloween Costume Ideas

Written by :
Published on : October 30, 2016

 

 

Halloween is right around the corner and I bet most of you lazy bones still don’t have a costume yet. No worries, let SBS scare up some ideas for you. All Hallows’ Eve is a wonderful holiday where you get to shock and delight your friends and neighbors with a spooky getup while stuffing your face with candy. What’s not to love? Here are a few sports related Halloween costume concepts that are easy to pull off and are sure to be a hit where ever you go.

 

Zom Brady

zom brady

 

All you need for this one is a New England Patriots jersey or shirt. Preferably something with number 12 on it. Doesn’t need to be official merch, head to the thrift store and find something that fits. You can borrow from a friend but there is a chance it may get stained so be careful. Next, get some corpse makeup and do your best to look undead. Maybe splatter fake blood across the jersey. This can also be modified as a couple’s costume. The Gisele or Gizombie costume is the same: Pat’s gear, corpse paint, hair down. When it doubt, add names to the back of the shirts. Also, group costume idea, get a third person to rock the Belichick hoodie.

 

Steph Curry

stepth MOUTHGUARDS

 

You don’t need insane handles and an unstoppable three to dress up as Steph Curry. It’s actually quite easy to imitate the Golden State Warriors star. All you need is a clear mouthguard which is available at any sporting goods store. Then, wait for someone to ask you what your costume is then put the mouthguard in then starting chewing on one end and see how quick your buds guess the answer.

 

Gordie Howl-at-the-moon

First step is simple. Some Red Wings attire (jersey or t-shirt). Unlike clam chowder, we prefer the red over the white. But if it’s available, by all means. Next, you need either a wolf mask (full rubber or plastic face with elastic band) or some decent fur and makeup. A hockey stick is a nice accessory but lugging it around can be a pain. Remember, you are going as a play-on-words. And no ones plays harder than Gordie Howe. So really sell it. Practice your howl and do it like Gordie would have.

 

Steve Bartman

bartman

 

The Cubs finally made it to a World Series, so we can all finally laugh about the Bartman incident. To pull this one off you need some eyeglasses, a solid blue Cubs hat, a black crew neck sweatshirt, a green turtle neck (for underneath the sweatshirt) and walkman with shitty 90’s style headphones. Any Chicago fan or serious sports nut will dig this look. But be carful, dress this way and Mike Bridenstine may take a swing at you.

 

All jokes aside, what could be scarier than being the quarterback for the Cleveland Browns? They are on their 6th QB in 7 games. Injury has taken them all out. Enough tricks already, these guys could use some treats. If you have a great costume idea then please leave it in the comments for everyone to enjoy. Send us all your sports Halloween costume photos and we will post them to our instagram.

 

Boo!

 

 


Best Moments in the History of Joe Louis Arena

Written by :
Published on : October 12, 2016

 

As the NHL season approaches, so does the final season for the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. It has been the home of hockey in Detroit since 1979 and is one of the most fabled venues in all of sports. With the end rapidly approaching, we take a minute to review some of the best moments in the history of Joe Louis Arena.

 

Red Wings/ Avalanche Brawl (March 26, 1997)

Not only is this one of the greatest moments in the history of Joe Louis Arena, this may be my favorite moment in the history of the sport of hockey. Roger Pretzel has already given you his perspective on the affair. As an 11-year-old whipper snapper, I was just coming into my own as a sports fan in the Detroit area when this shit went down. But I remember watching it on tv in real time and falling in love with the Red Wings, the rivalry and the sport of hockey.

 

Hockey is one of the few sports where teams have a long memory and will retaliate for past offenses, even if it isn’t until next season. Baseball is probably the only other sport where this is an accepted (more or less) practice. That’s exactly what happened with this brawl. This ass kicking that the Avalanche received at the hands of the Red Wings was payback for Claude Lemieux’s dirty hit on Kris Draper in the ’96 playoffs. That hit ended Drapers season and he ended up needing reconstructive surgery.

 

When the two teams met at Joe Louis Arena the following season, it didn’t take long for things to get scrappy. A scuffle turned into complete and utter mayhem and Darren McCarty took the opportunity to pay back the debt owed to Claude Lemieux by beating the shit out of him. It was glorious. Another highlight was goalies Mike Vernon and Patrick Roy duking it out at center ice. This remains my favorite moment ever to occur at Joe Louis Arena.

 

See for yourself:

 

Red Wings end 42 year cup drought (June 7, 1997)

This was such a big deal when it happened. 42 years since Hockeytown had last seen the Stanley Cup, the Red Wings complete a 4-game sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers on their home ice. This is another moment that I vividly remember witnessing live on tv. It really makes me realize that 1997 was a great year to be a Red Wings fan.

 

The Red Wings won game 4 by a score of 2-1. Mike Vernon, who had been benched for the final 10 playoff games in the previous season, redeemed himself by winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. He finished the playoffs with a 16-4 record and a .927 save percentage, and was integral in bringing Lord Stanley’s Cup back to Detroit.

 

Then it was party time. The arena immediately went ape shit when the clock expired, and so did the players. Joe Louis Arena was so electric that you could feel the joy pouring out of the television set. All around Southeast Michigan, the drinks were flowing and the people were celebrating. Of all the Red Wings and Pistons championships I have been alive to witness, I remember this one as having the most raucous celebration. LET’S GO RED WINGS!

 

Here is the best of the Red Wings 1997 Stanley Cup run:

 

Steve Austin and the zamboni (September 28, 1998)

This is another event that has been covered in some capacity here at ScoreBoredSports. But I was physically there for this one so I have to touch on it. And it remains one of the coolest moments in WWF (WWE) history. With the Detroit Red Wings in the middle of a dominating run, pro wrestling decided to come to town and found a way to incorporate some of Detroit’s hockey culture into the spectacle. Monday Night Raw was at the Joe and as usual there was no shortage of controversy and excitement.

 

In usual fashion during that era, Vince McMahon was being a total asshole. He screwed over Stone Cold Steve Austin by setting him up to get beat by the Undertaker and Kane and lose the belt. The only problem was that they both pinned Steve, so there was no clear cut winner. McMahon was having some stupid ceremony to present the belt to one of them. As usual, Steve Austin wasn’t having it. Punk ass McMahon surrounded himself with police in order to protect himself from Stone Cold’s white trash wrath, but Steve Austin had other ideas.

 

Stone Cold drove a zamboni up to the ring and proceeded to circumvent the police and security in order to open up a quick can of whoop ass all over McMahon. 12-year-old me was going absolutely nuts out there in the crowd. Steve Austin then got arrested and taken out of the arena, but the damage was done and the whole world knew that McMahon was bitch made.

 

I know it’s all staged but it was still pretty sweet. Check it out:

 

Gordie Howe’s last/Gretzky’s first All Star Game (February 5, 1980)

This one took place before my time but that doesn’t make me think that it’s any less fucking awesome. Two of the most legendary players in the history of the hockey sharing the ice for the 32nd NHL All Star Game. A 19-year-old phenom in the making, Wayne Gretzky, and a 51-year-old titan, Gordie Howe, playing in their first and last All Star games, respectively.

 

It was Howe’s 23rd appearance. Gretzky would go on to appear in every single All Star Game during his 20 year career, trailing only his childhood idol, Gordie Howe in total appearances. These two would combine for six decades as the face of the NHL and to see them both on the ice had to be very special for the sold out crowd in Joe Louis Arena.

 

This passing of the torch from Howe to Gretzky signified a changing of the guard in professional hockey. From toothless maniacs who didn’t even wear helmets to toothless maniacs who wore helmets. Gretzky was fast and flashy and incredibly talented, but he didn’t come up with any goals or assists that night in 1980. The old grizzled vet, Gordie wound up with 1 assist, however, and though I couldn’t find a video of the game, I did find one of that assist.

 

Way to go old man:

 

As the sun sets on Joe Louis Arena, we bid farewell to one of the most legendary venues in hockey. You can’t stop progress, and I suppose this moment was inevitable. A top notch team needs to have top notch facilities. When the crew moves up Woodward to their new home, Little Caesars Arena, near Ford Field and Comerica Park, they will take the banners down at the Joe and all that will remain is memories of the great times that came to pass on that hallowed ground. But until 2017, there is still one more season of hockey and some more memories to be made at the Joe.

 

 


Why Do the Red Wings Need a Lead Defenseman?

Written by :
Published on : July 11, 2016

 

 

Say what you will about General Manager Kenneth Mark Holland, but the man will do things. Inaction has never been a criticism of a Detroit Red Wings front office that was once feared and revered by NHL general managers and players alike. There was a time when, with a fell swoop, the likes of Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, Brian Rafalski, and Marian Hossa would join the already-legendary Wings locker room. These days, Hockeytown’s faithful are happy when that activity just turns out to be neutral, scarred by (among other ill-fated transactions) a Stephen Weiss debacle that remains one of the great disasters in the history of Red Wings free agency.

 

Dealt a poor hand at this summer’s outset when my father, Pavel Datsyuk, announced his retirement, King Kenny sat upon his Westeros-style carbon fiber and aluminum stick throne and somehow maneuvered an escape from the awful cap recapture penalty that would have sapped millions of dollars in flexibility. He showed the world he still had some juju by way of that draft-day deal in which he traded back a few spots in the draft for an extra pick and the right not to have an empty cap-hit on the books. Not bad, but for some reason Wings fans used this as a springboard to prime themselves for a gilded entrance into “The Stamkos Race,” as if there wasn’t an enormous problem in the back end to address first.

 

 

Quickly missing out on one of the game’s elite players is forgivable considering nobody else got a sniff, either. The door was closed before Holland could get a foot in. However, the velocity with which it slammed shut begs the important question of why any “star” would want to join a team without a best defender in the first place. Having the space without the structure will never appeal to the mega-stars; ask Kevin Durant about that one.

 

Niklas Kronwall Is Not A First-Pairing NHL Defenseman

It’s somewhat surprising that the once-vaunted Red Wings defense has actually put up great numbers over the past few years. Since 2014, the Wings have the lowest defensive zone start percentage in the NHL, indicating that the puck just isn’t near the Wings’ goal all that much. Similarly, the Wings rank 9th in overall goals against in that span. That’s pretty solid!

 

Last year, however, the deeply ineffective power-play, with its affinity for allowing short-handed goals, shone light through a key crack in the wall: Niklas Kronwall is simply no longer equipped to be more than a second-pairing defender. His personal numbers are awful. He was minus-21 last year, and hasn’t had a plus-season since 2011. He scored 26 points in 64 games, looked sluggish and more than a step behind, and almost never deployed the once-beloved bone-crushing hits that used to be a trademark. The advanced numbers are astonishingly bad:

 

Kronwall Decline
Courtesy of http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/

 

Kronwall has become a possession liability on a team that has dominated possession numbers in the NHL for years. His Corsi For%, a metric that aims to measure a player’s impact upon how many shots are directed towards the opponent’s net, has fallen dramatically for four years, to the point that Kronner’s numbers were net-negative last year. He’s not effective on the power play, and it could be argued that the yearly wear-and-tear of being asked to embody the twin-archetypes of the Red Wings Ideal Defenseman has taken its toll. He never possessed the composed offensive genius of Nicklas Lidstrom, nor the terrifying physical presence of Vladimir Konstantinov.

 

The Wings Don’t Have A Best Defenseman

Detroit is a long ways away from the time when its defense was a certainty. Arguably the greatest modern defenseman there ever was, Lidstrom’s soothing, angelic aura guaranteed stability even when he wasn’t on the ice. The Red Wings have never hurt for talent, but I was surprised while scanning rosters from the Red Wings dominant era from ‘97-09 to find that the defense wasn’t actually all that impressive in 2002, Scotty Bowman’s final, Stanley Cup-winning year:

 

Red Wings D 2002
Courtesy of http://www.hockey-reference.com/

 

Despite that core’s limitations (it probably didn’t hurt to have Dominik Hasek between the pipes), the presence of competent puck-moving defensemen to complement Lidstrom’s perfection, with Chelios’ experience and Dandenault’s speed, served as an invaluable way to ensure that there was talent on more than one line to get the puck out of the zone and into productive areas. This stood out even more so in other championship years:

 

1997-98: Lidstrom, Larry Murphy, Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov
2002: Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Matthieu Dandenault
2009: Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Kronwall, DEREK MEECH*

*May not have served an important role in any way

 

One thing that we know for sure is that The God Lidstrom is not lacing up those skates again. Looking to the Red Wings current roster, just a bit past the heinous bog vapors of Kronwall and frequent line-mate Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith actually posts some very good Corsi numbers, and has been a fan favorite for his grit, bravery, and willingness to not try and fight Zdeno Chara and embarrass us all. His improved ability to forcefully carry the puck out of the zone, and the reduction of his abysmal turnover habit, might make him a neat fit for that 1-B defender role, which is a sign of hope on a roster stocked with capable but flawed 2nd and 3rd-liners like Mike Green, Danny Dekeyser, and Alexey Marchenko. But there’s nothing to indicate that anyone on the Red Wings as they are currently composed can fulfill the role of a number-one defenseman.

 

The market remains foggy as to what it will take to get that rare, competent first-pairing defender. Showing a bit more swag, Holland made it clear that he wouldn’t be fleeced for teenage star Dylan Larkin in trade discussions with the St. Louis Blues for standout Kevin Shattenkirk, as was the case when Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli recently traded 24 year-old human bullet Taylor Hall for pretty okay guy Adam Larsson. At this point, if they want a real lead defender, Wings fans might have to steel themselves for an “anyone but Larkin” package and count on saying goodbye to a favorite like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, a youngster like Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou, or even more.

 

Stats Courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference.com

 

 


2016 NHL Draft: Winners And Losers

Written by :
Published on : June 30, 2016

 

 

 

For many teams and fans alike, the NHL Draft can be a very exciting time. It can bring promising new talent to an organization or reinvigorate a struggling team. In addition to drafting new players, NHL Draft weekend is usually the kickoff to the blockbuster trades of the summer. But every player drafted and traded is a game of high risk, high reward and it doesn’t always work out. On that note, here are my winners and losers of the 2016 NHL Draft.

 

 

Winners

 

Buffalo Sabres

 

There’s no two ways about it, the Sabres had a very good draft. Alex Nylander will eventually become the winger that Jack Eichel sets up the most and they’ll eventually become the Batman and Robin of Buffalo. Rasmus Asplund was a solid pick and Cliff Pu came on strong at the end of the year. Brett Murray is a big, young project forward. The defender Budik, and first year WHL forward Hagel all have promise. The Kulikov trade felt a lot like a wash although he eats up big 2nd pairing minutes which is sure to help the Sabres.

 

Calgary Flames

 

To me they are one of the two big winners of this year’s draft. The trade for Elliot shores up their goaltending issue and didn’t cost that much. Their first 6 picks were nearly perfect. Tkachuk falling to them was a blessing. Dube as a mid to late 2nd rounder was not quite a steal but a very solid pick up there. Adam Fox is a hit or miss small blueliner. Tyler Parsons had an incredible run at the end of the season, proving to be the fastest rising goaltender. Lindstrom is a big time scorer in Swedish Juniors and showed well on the international stage. Some had Mitchell Mattson as a 2nd or 3rd round project pick; Flames got him in the 5th. Tuulola is another big Finn with soft hands and a big appetite. Tiny Matt Phillips was a 37 goal scoring, point per game player. Falkovsky is as big as Logan Stanley and it didn’t cost a pick to select him.

 

Detroit Red Wings

 

I really liked what these guys did overall. But we all know the Datsyuk “trade” made it all worthwhile. Even though they didn’t pick up any real blue-chip players, they did pick up 4 defensemen who will all likely play in the NHL. Cholowski was a particularly fast riser at the end of the season. They also were able to sandwich Givani Smith in between, another good, big bodied forward pick.

 

New Jersey Devils

 

I hate to say it, but The Devils are another team that crushed this draft. Starting out nicely with McLeod, both Bastian and Joey Anderson followed, one a big bodied net-front presence and the other the 3rd member of the high scoring Keller/Bellow/Anderson line for the USNTDP team. They then followed it up with 4 other solid prospects: Gignac, Maltsev, Cormier, and Rykov. The Bratt pick might prove to be a late round gift.

 

Philadelphia Flyers

 

The Flyers had 10 picks in this draft and hit on at least 8 of them. German Rubtsov is a perfect fit for what they need and what they are building. Pascal Laberge is going to surprise folks with his savvy offensive ability and the Flyers were lucky to get him at this point in the 2nd round. They then selected what was probably the best goalie prospect in the draft, Carter Hart. Wade Allison and Carter Twarynski both were late season fast risers and they project as hard working power forwards. Late picks, Tanner Laczynski and David Bernhardt both could be steals in a few years.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Some people didn’t like the Bolts’ draft as it didn’t take enough risks. I disagree. Instead of being flashy they picked the smart, safe selections with some talent mixed in. Howden is a solid 3C with 2C upside. Libor Hajek was the best blueliner on the board when they picked. Katchouk is scrappy and skilled. Raddysh was the forgotten man in Erie, but were his numbers all about Dylan Strome? Ingram, Colton, and Somppi were all good to great picks at where they were made.

 

 

Losers

 

Boston Bruins


Poor Boston. I just feel sorry for them given the Bruins’ front offices struggles as of late. That said I really like the Charlie McAvoy pick (NCAA, RHD) almost as much as I hated the Trent Frederic pick. The latter almost certainly would have been there at least into the 2nd round, likely the 3rd. Ryan Lindgren is a solid if not very sexy pick. Joona Koppanen might turn out to be something but they picked him right where he should have gone. Oskar Steen was a nice late round get.

 

Chicago Blackhawks

 

Their 1st pick was in the 2nd round and they snagged Alex DeBrincat who, despite his size, is likely an NHL scorer in the future. Chad Krys, while rated highly by some,  isn’t all that in my book and he was falling consistently over the last few months. The Kayumov pick was too early in my estimation. Lucas Carlsson is a mediocre “can’t hurt you” selection. The Peters selection has promise. However the rest are questionable at best and throw-aways at worst.

 

Dallas Stars

 

Riley Tufte is a boom or bust pick but has loads of talent. I think he’ll tend more to the boom side of the equation. The Stars didn’t pick again until late in the 3rd round and did something of a reach with Karlstrom. He’s a nice prospect but would have likely been there when they came around again at 116. The rest of the picks are non-factors for me.

 

Los Angeles Kings

 

A lot of people like Kale Clague but I’m not impressed. I like their 4th rounder, Moverare as much if not more. Eyssimont might turn into something but it’s a long shot. They didn’t really do anything to help the team or the prospect pool.

 

New York Rangers

 

They might as well have sat this one out. Starting with the raw, immensely talented Sean Day as their 1st pick (which happened to be in the 3rd round), the Rangers drifted from bad to, well, bad some more. There is the smaller offensive defenseman, Tarmo Reunanen. Tim Gettinger might prove to be a useful 3rd or 4th liner some day given his hulking size. But only if he improves his skating, his strength, and his hockey sense….is that all? Their best pick might have been the fortunate faller Ty Ronning who landed in their lap in the seventh round.

 

 

Well those are my winners and losers of the 2016 NHL Draft, let us know in the comment section below who you think had a good or bad draft.


Gordie Howe Arena or Bust!

Written by :
Published on : June 12, 2016

 

 

It seems like every other day we are losing legends. Last week we lost Muhammad Ali, a recognizable and influential figure the world over. Two days ago, it was hockey legend, Gordie Howe. The man known as Mr. Hockey is one of the most prolific players ever to play in the NHL. He is the only person ever to play in five different decades, appearing in his first game in 1946 and ending his storied career in 1980.

 

Fellow Hockey Mt. Rushmore faces like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr consider Howe to be the greatest player ever. He won four Stanley Cups, six scoring titles and six MVP awards. When his career ended he was 52 years old, making him the oldest player in the history of the league. With his 22 seasons of 20 goals or more, he is the kind of player that could do it all. He could score on you and beat the hell out of you. There’s even something called the Gordie Howe hat trick, which occurs when a player scores 3 goals, gets an assist and gets into a fight.

 

 

Aside from his much-recognized greatness on the ice, Gordie Howe was a great man whose humility should be an example to anyone with that kind of fame. Growing up in the Detroit area, there were always stories of people meeting Gordie at a bowling alley or at the mall. The stories were always the same. He was nothing other than humble, gracious and eager to meet his adoring fans. He is perhaps the most legendary figure in the long history of Detroit sports.

 

It’s because of that fact that Mike Ilitch and the other big wigs at the Detroit Red Wings must name team’s new home Gordie Howe Arena.

 

 

When it was announced earlier this year that the Motor City’s new pro hockey venue would be named Little Caesars Arena, I was less than thrilled. After moving from a place that was named after such a historic figure as Joe Louis, it felt like a cheapening of a franchise with so much prestige. Even so, it made sense because the owner of the Red Wings made his fortune through his nationwide pizza chain, Little Caesars. But with the passing of Gordie Howe, and with everything he has meant to the city of Detroit, it would be a crime to not name this arena in his honor.

 

To refrain from giving the Red Wings’ arena corporate naming rights, even if the team and that company do have the same owner, would be a nod to the prestigious place that the Red Wings hold in the dogma of hockey. To name the arena after the one of the greatest in the history of the game and most legendary figures in sports history of the city of Detroit would show that Mike Ilitch cares about the city and its return to greatness.

 

I’ve already signed the petition to make sure that the Red Wings new home will be called Gordie Howe Arena. At that time there was almost 13,000 other signees. If you care about hockey, you should add your name to the petition and do your part to make sure that Gordie Howe is honored in a fashion befitting his contributions to the great sport of hockey.

 

 


SBS Remembers: All Out War – The Turtling of Lemieux

Written by :
Published on : May 9, 2016

 

 

“I can’t believe I shook that guy’s friggin’ hand…” – Dino Ciccarelli

 

 

In the mid-nineties, Kris Draper was the epitome of a blue-collar hockey player, all scrum and speed, which lead him to being the Red Wing’s go-to-guy on the penalty kill, with a particular talent for scoring shorthanded goals.

 

In the ’96 cup campaign, Draper’s postseason ended when Colorado Avalanche player, Claude Lemieux, put his entire upper body into Draper’s face. Crushing it against the boards in what is certainly one of the most malicious and the dirty plays in NHL history.

 

 

Reconstructive surgery was necessary. But true to his nature, Draper came back the following season as if having his face scrambled was just another day at the office. The Avalanche won the Stanley cup that year, while Draper was in the hospital, and the Detroit Red Wings, known for their Lady Byng-like poise and finesse, quietly bided their time.

 

“Hockey players have long memories.” –Darren McCarty

 

When these two met at the Joe the following year, it was a different situation entirely. Near the end of the first, the least likely of scrappers, Igor Larionov, got involved with Peter Forsberg and glorious bedlam ensued.

 

mccarteylemieux_flat copy

 

Big number 25, Darren McCarty, was the closest thing Detroit had to a goon at the time. McCarty was a physical presence on the ice but he also scored his fair share at the right wing position. Seeing his chance, McCarty ripped into Lemieux and tore his helmet off in one of Hockeytown’s greatest spectacles. I remember watching this happening live as a kid and couldn’t understand why Lemieux didn’t fight back. The big bad wolf crumpled to the ice in a pathetic effort to protect his head while McCarty’s bare fists tore skin and drew blood. From that day on, Lemieux was less than a paper tiger. He was a man who openly displayed his spineless cowardice to all of hockeydom on local television.

 

McCarty ended up dragging Lemieux around the ice in a two-team brawl that ended up with 18 fighting majors. Lemieux, face bloodied, retreated to the locker room, and was buried forever as far as Wings fans were concerned.

 

 

“They were after Claude and we expected it. McCarty’s a big guy and he should face him at least, stand up and go after Claude if he wants to do something.” – Patrick Roy

 

It was sweet to see McCarty avenge Kris Draper, but the overlooked gem of the night was Patrick Roy and Mike Vernon slugging it out. I think it’s fair to say that Roy was a legendary villain for any Red Wings fan of the 90’s, and as much as I used to hate him, I kind of admire him in hindsight. He came to the aid of Claude Lemieux, streaking past the centerline even while encumbered with all that padding, only to be hammered by Brendan Shanahan in a flying collision that knocked both men to the ice. Roy’s blood was understandably up by the time Vernon got to him and the two ‘tenders went at it. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this, but I have it on good authority that the hockey gods smile every time two goaltenders fight. By the time the blood was scraped off the ice there was more than two whole periods left to play.

 

Darren McCarty scored the game winner in OT. A billion angels got their wings that night. They were all colored red.

 

 


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: NHL Logos

Written by :
Published on : April 2, 2016

 

Unless you’re the Cleveland Browns, chances are your professional sports team has a logo. And while it’s expected of fans to rally around the banner of their chosen club, the sad truth is that not every logo is created equal. Today we bring you, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of those sometimes hallowed, sometimes ludicrous, images proudly worn by NHL players.

 

Detroit Red Wings – Good

Obviously I’m a little biased, but I think it’s hard to say that this isn’t one of the most classic sports logos of all time. The MLB has plenty of good ones too, but when it comes to the NHL even many of the Original Six teams have modified their logos to some extent. The only down side of the Wings logo is that it was damn near impossible to draw accurately on your Trapper-Keeper as an obsessed kid.

 

St. Louis Blues – Bad

The logo is simple and classy, but I fail to see anything tough or inspiring about a musical note. Since when is the blues a thing in St. Louis? I’ve been there twice and I’m pretty sure it’s more well known for its Jnco-pants wearing populace and murderous police force.

 

sbs_nhllogos

 

Edmonton Oilers – Good

It’s cool Alberta, if you wanna burn bonkers amounts of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere of a rapidly warming world and be proud of it, at least you’ve got a logo that makes your team look royally sexy.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning – Bad

Sorry Tampa Bay, I love the simplicity that the ‘bolts are rocking but the minimal blue on white just ends up being boring. The whole “naming your team after a force of nature or natural disaster” thing has always kind of bummed me out too. If teams were really going for local color or geographical correctness we’d have groups like the Boston “Woman Punchers,” the Dallas “Expense Accounts,” and the Ottawa “Polite White Men.”

 

Nashville Predators – Ugly

Nashville_Predators_Logo_(2011).svg

 

It ain’t easy having an abbreviated nickname like “the Preds,” and the in-profile image of Nashville’s banner saber-toothed cat looks more like it’s got a serious case of lockjaw instead of getting ready to dine on any number of NHL teams that have chosen to name themselves after an animal lower down the food chain. Pro tip: If you’re rooting against Nashville at the game make a shirt with Chris Hansen on it that says “To Catch a Predator.” Hilarity (and fistfights) will ensue.

 

New York Rangers – Good

I want to say that the Rangers logo is bad with every fiber in my being because I hate the club (I have a Pavlovian response to any footage of Messier lifting the cup that makes me punch a child), but I just can’t. Classic and classy, this one’s got that same level of Original Six cool. At least Tortorella’s not the coach anymore… Breathe, Roger, breathe.

 

Dallas Stars – Bad

Dallas has always kind of had a middle of the road logo, but what’s going on with that quasi-mint green they’re rocking now? The standard black and white, gold trim always seemed to suit them so well as a team. The whole combination with the new silver “D” over the star along with that weird green, makes them look more like a tech startup or a Canadian football team than anything else.

 

Carolina Hurricanes – Bad

1280px-Carolina_Hurricanes.svg

 

I get it, but this one’s a little too abstract to fully appreciate. It reminds me more of a decal that would be featured on a Japanese robot’s chest than on a grown man playing a professional sport. I’d make a joke about the robots being called “Spinjas” but I can’t because that was already a thing. It was awesome.

 

Philadelphia Flyers – Good

Philly might not have been an Original Six team but that logo is arguably the best in the league. As a kid I only played spring season once (that was for the hardcore kids), and it was two towns over. Our team had Flyers colored jerseys and some kid on another team called us the “creamsicles.” I told him I was the ghost of Bobby Clark and then boarded the tar out of him, then blew a kiss to his mama from the penalty box.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets – Bad

Here’s another one that looks more like a farm team logo than a proper NHL one. I can kind of dig on the esoteric team name, but the lack of symmetry in the star gives me fits, and the whoosing swoop of the flag is hard to take serious. If the ‘Canes logo belongs on a Japanese toy robot, this is the logo for the latest G.I. Joe Saturday morning cartoon reboot.

 

Buffalo Sabers – Good

Buffalo_Sabres_Logo.svg

 

See, this is what the Blue Jackets logo should be like! It’s got a military crest vibe that looks legit instead of being intended for the Fisher Price brightly-colored-teething-ring set. It’s great that those hosers up in Buffalo have a logo they can be proud of, especially when the blue and gold do a fantastic job of drawing attention away from Jack Eichel’s teenage acne. Don’t hurt ‘em hammer!

 

Pittsburgh Penguins – Ugly

It’s kind of hard for me to believe that the top brass in the Penguins’ organization would take a look at their logo and say “You know what? Let’s go back to the old cartoony one.” I actually kind of like the call. The Pens are a serious franchise with a kind of goofy name/concept, and there’s something a little magical when you can rep tough through all the whimsy.

 

New Jersey Devils – Good

Uhh, you’re telling me that your logo is a cleverly designed “NJ” made to look harmlessly satanic while being named after the state’s most well known cryptozoological myth? It’s a shame that these guys don’t get no respect anymore, as nothing feels tougher than walking past Madison Square Garden on game night with that old Martin Brodeur jersey. Whenever the Devils mix in those little green accents into their color scheme, things just get so nasty.

 

Boston Bruins – Good

Boston_Bruins.svg

 

This one’s right up there with the Flyers’ logo. No matter how much I hate the Bruins, I’ve gotta show reverence to that iconic black and yellow “B.” Sometimes, I can even find deluded solace in the glorious memories of Bobby Orr and Don Cherry, instead of constantly having to hear about how good Zdeno Chara’s slap shot is. The dude is nineteen-and-a-half feet tall. Anybody that big better have one of the league’s best slap shots.

 

Vancouver Canucks – Bad

Full disclosure: Pavel Bure was my favorite hockey player in my youth and I wore a Canucks hat with old black/yellow/orange skate logo that stunk to high heaven from years of wear and tear. This is the prime example of a team dumping a great logo for an abominable one just to “shake things up.” Remember when the Pistons rocked those TEAL fire-breathing horse chess piece jerseys? Exactly. This logo is so bad that the Canucks alternate image is just a hockey stick. Unsurprisingly, the stick is way better.

 

Winnipeg Jets – Good

Sometimes you gotta dip for a few years before you come back to the party. As far as a modern logo for a new/old franchise is concerned, nothing says Canada (Winnipeg in particular) like aerial militarism. This logo is so fresh, expect to see the next big trap rapper gunned down on the streets while wearing one of these sweaters.

 

Ottawa Senators – Ugly

Ottawa_Senators.svg

 

Of all the logo changes discussed in this piece the Ottawa Senators’ decision baffles me the most. From a completely objective standpoint I simply can’t imagine how anybody could think the current logo is an improvement on any of their old ones. Is it to psyche us out by having the Senator guy now turned in two-thirds perspective and giving us a rapey creepo stare? I give up.

 

Los Angeles Kings – Good

Assuming we’re not talking about any of that hideous purple crown jazz, The Kings are a good example of doing a decent job of updating your logo without totally destroying it. Sure, the classic logo from the 90’s is better, and you know you’re doing something right when N.W.A. reps your gear, but the new one’s got some admirable simplicity going for it that makes the change bearable.

 

San Jose Sharks – Bad

This logo has suffered from slight tweaks and modifications over the years. I understand the need to rejuvenate the fan base and be dynamic, but I also think it’s inherently cooler to keep a club’s continuity. The positive side is that it makes the OG fans feel badass when they show up with their old jerseys. The downside is that you’re wearing a lot of TEAL. This logo is also appropriate in the sense that hockey players can’t take a shot from the point anymore without their sticks splintering into a million pieces.

 

Calgary Flames – Good

Calgary_Flames_Logo.svg

 

The team is called the “Flames” and the “C” that stands for Calgary is on fire. Pretty hard to argue with the logic here. I also like how there’s kind of a Zen thing going on with the basic elemental name. Let’s hope that if Las Vegas gets a franchise they follow this enlightened path and entitle their team The Las Vegas “Impermanent Sands of Time.”

 

Florida Panthers – Bad

And I thought the Red Wings’ logo was hard to draw! Florida gets the award for the most bizarrely detailed and overly rendered logo. This pissed kitty looks admirably menacing, but the perspective of the huge foregrounded paws and tiny hind legs just kind of makes me giggle. Thanks to the Crayola box worth of different colors and the elaborate design, this would probably be more fun as a big poster to trip out to on psychedelics than to wear on your body.

 

New York Islanders – Good

Let’s just all admit that the Gorton’s fish stick man/lighthouse logo was the worst aesthetic decision made by any NHL team in the league’s history. That orange, eggplant, and TEAL abomination is the stuff of nightmares, and I’m glad to see it done with. On the other hand, the classic Islanders logo feels just that: classic. It’s a little funky with the rendering on the island’s edges, and in some ways it looks like it’s biting Washington’s logo, but no other crest evokes the mustachioed helmet-less days of yore like Long Island’s.

 

Minnesota Wild – Ugly

Minnesota_Wild.svg

 

I love that there’s an NHL team back in Minnesota but this squad’s look is too much of a good thing. Ferocious looking bear? Awesome. Tons of trees to get the point across? Alright, I guess. A shooting star for the bear’s eye and weird borders on the jersey hems? Ok, now we’re entering some uncomfortably weird hippy territory. This is the vegan poutine of NHL logos.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs – Good

I can’t say I’m too wild about that chunky/veiny logo they just trotted out recently, but there are few better logos in the NHL than Toronto’s flat blue leaf containing the team’s name in a Helvetica-like font. It’s the kind of stuff fixed-gear-bike-riding design nerds drool over. All the best to Mike Babcock. I really hope he turns that team and around and gives the people of Ontario a winning club. Unless they’re playing the Red Wings, then it’s still “fuck ‘em.”

 

Anaheim Ducks – Ugly

I say with all seriousness that that goofy duck goalie-mask back when Anaheim was still “The Mighty Ducks” is better than their current logo (see my thoughts on the Penguins). The logo’s concept of the titular waterfowl’s webbed foot barely comes through, and that shade of gold clashes so hard with the red-orange trim that just looking at it makes me feel like Tim Gunn trapped in a Tommy Bahama’s. That said, if you wanted a visual distillation of a team’s soul, it doesn’t get any more accurate or ugly than this.

 

Washington Capitals – Good

Washington_Capitals.svg

 

After so many terrible changes it’s nice to see Washington return to their classic look. This one gets the award for being the most anachronistically 80’s looking of the bunch. I feel bad for the guys and gals showing up at the Verizon center with those old jerseys with the stars and the eagle and that gross TEAL backdrop (notice a trend here?).

 

Phoenix Coyotes – Bad

I wanted to make some joke about the current Phoenix logo’s canine howling because it was getting neutered, but my heart just wasn’t in it. What I really wish is that the team still had that ridiculous Kokopelli-esque logo. Those jerseys had all the funny hem decorations and extra patches too. It’s like when the Minnesota Wild designed their new look they were like “We want to emulate the ugliest jerseys in the NHL, get the Coyotes on the phone.”

 

Colorado Avalanche – Bad

Could be worse/could be better, but that whole bigfoot shoulder patch thing is rough to stomach. I’ve found that these jerseys actually look great when soaked in the blood of Claude Lemieux and Patrick Roy after being beaten to a pulp by Darren McCarty and Mike Vernon. That’s a look I can get behind.

 

Chicago Blackhawks – Ugly

ChicagoBlackhawksLogo.svg

 

If American exceptionalism has taught us anything it’s that we are very good at glossing over our awful past in regards to native peoples while blatantly celebrating them in sports logos. So while the Blackhawks’ logo is probably wildly offensive to many, it still has the benefit of looking really cool, and perhaps even being a more positive depiction of First Nations people (if we’re going to go that route), especially when compared to the Cleveland Indians and the morally reprehensible Washington Redskins.

 

Montreal Canadiens – Good

It’s cool that it has an “H” in the middle for the nickname, and if I said anything ill about the Canadiens it would probably bring some form of wrath down on me from the hockey gods, especially considering this is the first year since 1970 that no Canadian team has made it to the playoffs. I respect the hockey gods, and frankly, right now I don’t need any more problems in my life.

 

 


April Without the Red Wings

Written by :
Published on : March 18, 2016

 

An April without the Detroit Red Wings. That’s something that’s pretty hard for me to comprehend. The last time that happened was 1990 and I was four years old. For almost my entire life, the Red Wings have had a presence in the postseason of the NHL. 24 years in a row they have had a shot to win the Stanley Cup. Whether as President’s Cup winning favorites or the last team in, they’ve always been in the conversation come April.

 

The Wings currently sit one point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers for the second wildcard spot. When the two teams met last Tuesday, the Red Wings defense got off to an abysmal start where they allowed 23 shots against their 3 in the opening period. The team wound up losing the game 4-3 because they were never able to recover from that first period and get a much needed win. The Flyers are one of the hottest teams in the league and briefly overtook the Wings for that 2nd wild spot before that win against the Blue Jackets yesterday. The Wings are going to need some very strong performances to close out the season if they hope to make the playoffs from the 25th straight year, and keep the longest current postseason streak in all of sports alive.

 

Now all of that is in jeopardy and I’m not sure what to do. So let’s explore why the Wings are in the predicament they’re in.

 

Defense and Goaltending

 

When you allow as many shots as the Red Wings did in the first period of that Flyers game, it becomes obvious that the defense is a big problem area for the team. It’s been that way for a while now. Actually, it’s been a problem ever since Nicklas Lidstrom left back in 2012. The team hasn’t had a stud defender since and the good players that they do have haven’t been able to get the job done. With the team’s most experienced defensemen, Niklas Kronwall, sidelined for 1-3 weeks with a knee sprain, they really need the other guys to step their game up or there is a very big chance that they will not be in the playoffs.

 

 Mrazek can’t continue to let himself be caught out of position.

 

The defense also isn’t being propped up by the goaltending like it was in earlier parts of the season. There are times when the goaltending looks down right amazing, especially when you consider how many shots are getting thrown at the net. But Petr Mrazek has been looking pretty shaky as of late and Jimmy Howard, who the team is paying $5.3 million for each of the next three seasons, looks like a shadow of what he once was. From what I have seen this season, Jimmy Howard has no business being in the net and should only be looked at to give Mrazek rest. So that means Mrazek had better find some of that early season magic that he displayed if the Red Wings have any hope maintaining their shaky hold on a playoff spot.

 

 

Put the puck in the net

 

The defense shouldn’t get all of the blame for the state of the team because the offense has been anything but prolific. Despite having a stable of young stars and some aged but crafty veterans, they have not been able to get the puck in the net nearly as often as necessary to stay competitive. The Wings are 24th in the league in goals per game, with 2.5. That is not good enough. They need Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to turn it up a notch and help the young guys out. But more than anything, they need to score some goals. Some way. Any way.

 

 The Red Wings are going to need more than just Larkin to make it to the playoffs.

 

I’m not going to lie, from what I’ve seen recently, the Detroit Red Wings will not be making the playoffs. They just look too flat all around, despite the dazzling play of Dylan Larkin and other youngsters like Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist. The future is bright and I’m really hoping that they can hold it together long enough to make it 25 straight playoff appearances. Then who knows what’s possible. Anything can happen in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but first they’ve got to make it to the dance. And I’m not as sure about that happening as I was a month ago.

 

 


The Sports-Observer’s Paradox

Written by :
Published on : February 6, 2016

 

 

 

According to noted scholar Erwin Tillinghast’s Wikipedia page, the Observer’s Paradox is described thusly:

 

In the social sciences, (and physics and experimental physics,) the observer’s paradox refers to a situation in which the phenomenon being observed is unwittingly influenced by the presence of the observer/investigator

 

The implication, then, is that the mere act of observation itself has the power to affect that which is being observed, including its outcome.  So it’s not unreasonable for me to assume that when I watch a game, I have a certain and unique influence on the score.  As a fan, knowing this inarguable fact is validating and, perhaps, delusional.  Surely, ritualistically kissing my Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnastakanov “Believe” patch, yet to be sewn onto my Darren McCarty Jersey, had a singular sway on the ’98 Detroit Red Wings-Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Final!

 

But taken to its logical extreme, this reality can also have terrible consequences.  For instance: that yellowish (not maize) Block-M shirt I wear? A definite bad luck charm for the University of Michigan Football team, but good for the Men’s Basketball team.  Skip watching a Wings home game? Whoops, turns out Larkin scored four hat-tricks.  Watch the next game, and it’s another third period meltdown.  What happens when the Sports-Observer’s Paradox goes wrong?

 

This Sports-Observer’s Paradox covers the unfortunate experience of your viewership befouling the entire existence of a high-level athlete.  Every time you watch this supposed all-star, it’s anything but an all-star experience.  They can’t hit a shot! You also know the feeling too well, when your friends are talking about Athlete X and glowing about that one goal or that clutch shot; you’re confused, because you know that this player is hyped and popular, but you thought at least your buds would get it.  Each time you watch Athlete X, they’re stumbling over themselves, dribbling in circles, or shooting the puck / ball / whatever out of bounds to the benefit of nobody.  Are you somehow ruining these fools?

 

Hockey: Rick Nash

(stats courtesy of Hockey-Reference.com)

The story to tell here is not so complicated.  Every time I watch this guy, he becomes a sluggy vortex of avarice, happier to shoot the puck in the general direction of the goal than to pass it to a teammate.  I guess it’s okay to be a big goal-scorer if you’re a prolific beast who hits and pelters the goal with a hailstorm of galvanized fury; Rick Nash is a marshmallow.  He’s a gummy, semi-hardened marshmallow that’s been through the ringer, but still a marshmallow.  He’s a goal scorer that doesn’t score enough to be such a terrible creator and provider.  He needs to give up the rock.  Shit or get off the pot, as they say.

 

Rick Nash Regular Season Stats

 

Nash is likely to plop a goal in when I’m not watching, but since he joined New York, he’s played dozens of nationally televised games.  Many of these came during the last two years, during which time Nash’s Rangers played 44 playoff games.  That’s two deep Stanley Cup runs, which can be a drain both physically and mentally when a player is locked in.  But when a player is Rick Nash, they only score EIGHT TIMES IN FORTY-FOUR GAMES.    That’s $8 Million a year well-spent!  Gotta love an all-star that excels when it doesn’t matter, and makes no one around him better.  Rick Nash: deadly once every six games.

 

To be fair, many, many other people have also seen this version of Rick Nash.

 

Rick Nash Playoff Stats

 

 

Soccer: Arjen Robben

It’s not even a secret, but rather a defining trait: Arjen Robben has a signature move.  He cuts left.  He has a very, very deadly left foot.  He loves his left foot.

 

 

He loves it for a reason. One would think that this predictability would be a tremendous Achilles’ heel, and every time I watch him, that looks to be true.  He’s maddeningly predictable, but not just in that move; his featherlight, dainty paws are vulnerable to tackles, grass, wind, and strong emotions.  If an opponent feels a powerful sense of ennuí, Robben is likely to fall over and draw an unwarranted card.  Yet…

 

Robben Fall

 

…It works! But still, fuck this guy, right?  What a flamboyantly aggressive display of spinelessness.  I actually saw this moment, which was technically a very positive outcome for the Dutch national team.  But what’s good for the Oranje is not always good for the sport. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the unbecoming flair of this floppery is directly caused by the incompetence of all soccer refereeing, but still — it’s not a good look.  Whenever I watch Robben, this is the best he can do.  I always miss the incredible moments that are apparently happening.

 

You look at that, and it’s easy to say that these lousy Barcelona defenders are fools to have put themselves in such a vulnerable position only to fall prey to a guy who can’t even use his right foot!  He ALWAYS CUTS LEFT.

 

Robben cuts right

 

HE GOES… to his right foot

…Except when he doesn’t.  But of course,  I’m always at work at that time, and I never see those moments, or any of the other brilliant, shameless antics.  So he remains a craven chump to me.

 

The examples go on and on, such as the excellent quarterback mirage of Carson Palmer 2014-15; Kyrie Irving, the best player on the planet that I’ve never seen do anything on the court when there are any sort of stakes; ditto for NHL goalkeeper Roberto Luongo.  Is this the result of some faulty alignment of all the parallel universes in existence? A tear in the space-time continuum? String theory?

 

The ScoreBoredSports Science Division is currently hard at work researching this phenomenon in our secret hydroponic laboratory.  While we wait for the answers, you, the reader, can help by asking yourselves: which athlete is your paradox?

 

 


Dylan Larkin seems destined to be the Captain of the Red Wings

Written by :
Published on : January 19, 2016

 

 

 

I’m here to talk about the next big thing in Hockeytown and his name is Dylan Larkin. By now, the rest of the NHL has taken note of the talented rookie, but many of us Red Wings fans have been on the hype train since very early this season. This kid optimizes the term “local boy makes good.” That should be the front page headline on the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News when this young man inevitably becomes the one wearing that coveted ‘C’ on his jersey in the coming years.

 

This story is just too good for it not to happen. I’m not sure many casual fans in Detroit were familiar with the 19 year old Larkin when he became the first teenager to play in a Red Wings uniform in 15 years. Fans in the Motor City are well aware of him now and he is the first rookie All Star for the Red Wings since Steve Yzerman. That’s pretty good company for a kid from Waterford, Michigan who grew up rooting for the team and probably dreamed of one day donning that red and white uniform. Well his dream is now a reality and he has grabbed the bull by the balls, so to speak, and is making the most of this opportunity.

 

 Celebrating with the boys after setting up Danny DeKeyser for the game-winning goal in overtime against the Coyotes.

 

He is currently tied for first on the team in points (30) and goals (14), and tied for second in assists (16). This is a team with the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk still playing on it. Not to mention he has a plus-minus of 22, which is far ahead of the number two player on the team (Datsyuk with 9) and good for third in the entire NHL. He also has 4 game winning goals which leads the Red Wings and all rookies in the league. Dylan Larkin can do it all and in my opinion has been the Wings most valuable player this year. That’s why he is the only Red Wings in the All Star Game. While he may not be able to catch up to Artemi Panarin for in points (43) and assists (27), I still think his goals and plus-minus make him a strong candidate to win the Calder Trophy.

 

Some people think there are other players on the team that deserve to be named Captain before Larkin, and I respect that but I think this makes too much sense. In such short time he has already become so valuable to the team and that value will only increase as he develops as a player. Henrik Zetterberg’s contract runs until 2o21 but most people believe that with the wear and tear his body has endured throughout the years that he will likely retire before the end of that contract. When that fateful day finally comes and our Swedish Prince hangs the skates up for good, I think it is Dylan Larkin who should be handed the torch to lead his team into it’s next era of greatness.

 

 The look of a captain, the eye of the tiger.

 

He has received heaps of praise from coaches and fellow players alike for his natural athletic talent, as well as his desire to improve every day and be the best player he can. He’s got speed and grace. He can handle the puck, pass it, and shoot it as well as anyone on the team right now. He can play all over the ice and if he continues to develop at this rate, he could be one of the best players in the league by the time he is old enough to have a legal drink at a bar in the States.

 

Barring any major injury or other career derailing incident, Dylan Larkin is the future for the Detroit Red Wings. The team is on the verge of a major roster shift as its aging stars continue to decline and eventually retire or leave the team. Dylan Larkin should be the centerpiece of the new Red Wings as their Captain and lead them to the playoffs for another 24 years.

 

 

 


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