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.


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.

 

 


SBS Stadium Series: A Night at The Joe

Written by :
Published on : January 5, 2016

 

 

Every year for the holidays I make a trip back home and on that trip, I visit one of my favorite places in all of the world. It’s a place that is very familiar to me. I know it well. The smell, the feel of the concourse under my feet, that bite of cold air as I descend the stairs to my usual Christmas holiday seats on the glass. To me, this is hallowed ground. The holiest of sporting venues. A place where legends have been made, and champions have been crowned. It is the historic Joe Louis Arena, affectionately known as The Joe. It’s in Detroit, Michigan and it is by far my favorite place to watch any type of sporting match.

 

And sadly, it’s days are numbered.

 

Upon arrival, my first thoughts were on how this could be one of my last few times in this wonderful building that has been the location of so many fond memories. It added a shade of melancholy to the joy that I usually feel once I set foot inside the building. Not necessarily sadness, just a thought in the back of my mind that very soon these halls will be empty and the banners will be moved up Woodward to the new, as yet unnamed arena, set to be ready for the start of the 2017-2018 NHL season.

 

Red Wings Banners
                                                         All these banners will soon have a new home

 

One of my favorite things about the arena is the fact that isn’t named after some mega-corporation. No, it carries the name of, perhaps, the most legendary sporting figures in the history of the great city of Detroit. Along with Madison Square Garden, it’s the only arena in all of the NHL that lacks corporate sponsorship, and I love it. I hope with every part of my being that somehow the new stadium will be free of the chains of corporate sponsorship. And like Joe Louis Arena, it will be erected to honor those that have made a difference in the place that was once one of the most important arms in the Arsenal of Democracy. I’m afraid that might be too much to hope for, but that’s a discussion for another time.

 

This game featured my beloved Detroit Red Wings versus the New Jersey Devils. It didn’t go exactly as planned, as the Wings started Jimmy Howard and his overblown contract in net. Jimmy helped the Wings start the game with a 3-0 deficit in the 1st period, despite only seeing 6 total shots. Coach came to his senses after goal number three and replaced him with the, at this point in his career, more talented Petr Mrazek. After that, the game was far more exciting and the Wings gained on the Devils only to lose the game 4-3.

 

A view of the action
                                                                                  A view of the action

 

That’s ok though, I’m was happy just to be back home at the Joe, and there’s nothing like the energy in that place when everyone is chanting “Let’s Go Red Wings!” and those players are battling it out right before your eyes. The $19 double jack ‘n cokes were flowing and my comrades and I were in it together, cheering on our boys in red and white. There are few feelings quite like that and sometimes that’s enough. Sure, a win would have been nice, but just being there was a win in my book.

 

Another bonus was that this was the first time I had the chance to see the Wings’ exciting new rookie player, Dylan Larkin play live. He added yet another goal to a rookie season that has far exceeded expectations. This kid is the real deal and if you ask me he is the next Red Wings’ captain-in-training. It’s going to take a while, but he’s that good. When you think about the fact that he is the first teenager (19) to play in a game for the Wings since Steve Yzerman in 1983-84, it’s almost too perfect. And he’s from Michigan!?!? It just makes too much sense, he has to be the next guy to wear that “C” on his jersey.

 

That’s my prediction for next captain of the Detroit Red Wings, you heard it here first. Only it won’t be here. Not in The Joe. I guess I’ll have to get used to that. After all, the only thing constant in this world is change. That’s ok, I still have the rest of the season and then the next. Then it will just be memories, and what great memories they are!

 

 


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