The Pens Won the Stanley Cup and No One Cares

Written by :
Published on : June 25, 2016

 

 

You may not have noticed, but the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup and no one (outside of Pennsylvania) seems to care. I dig hockey and I only saw a few games of finals. As stated before, I don’t like either the Penguins or the San Jose Sharks very much but still, something was off here and it wasn’t just me. Most of my hockey loving friends were equally checked out. What was going on? Why wasn’t there more excitement for the biggest stage of NHL competition? I asked a few buddies and tried to figure it out.

 

First stop, SBS’s resident hockey expert, Antoine Poutine. I was certain he would have something super thoughtful and revealing to say. I was kind of surprised by his answer:

“The Stanley Cup was a classic matchup between one of hockey’s all-time great bitches, Sidney Crosby, and hall-of-fame caliber bitch Joe Thornton. I watched it a little bit until it started burning when I peed, which is usually how I react to Crosby. Turning it off was soothing.”

 

 

Next, I talked to Steven, our Pittsburgh fan. At least he must be into it, right? I mean it’s a hometown championship. His words were few but spoke volumes to the phenomenon we are experiencing:

“Well, now I know what it’s like to be a Patriots fan.”

 

Maybe it’s because the Pittsburgh Penguins are so good that it’s boring. Both the outcome and the gameplay seem old hat. Look, I’ll give Phil Kessel his props, but I’m just not that interested. Maybe everyone just really hates the Sharks and Pens. I continued polling the staff and most seemed to agree with the frustration felt by Antoine.

 

Alex:

I could only dislike this more if it was the Blackhawks winning a Stanley Cup.”

 

Noah:

“As soon as Pittsburgh clinched a berth to the Stanley Cup Finals we knew it was over.  Props to SJ for making it interesting but overall I think people cared more about Warriors vs Cavs.”

 

 

Mike:

“It’s baseball season.”

 

Phred:

“I’d be more inclined to keep up with the Stanley Cup if ESPN showed any interest. They’ve got two analysts that cover the entire sport.”

 

Sandy:

“I’m just glad the Sharks and Warriors both lost so the Silicon Valley engineers could stop pretending they like sports and get back to work on the next social media app to look at boobies.”

 

Damn. that’s a lot of shade being thrown around. But all these different voices are pointing at something. A flaw. The NHL would be wise to closely monitor this situation. Looking beyond the ScoreBoredSports staff, we find proof backing up our claim. 2016 saw a steep drop off in TV rating for the Stanley Cup finals. SportsMediaWatch states a 29% drop in viewership since last year. That’s massive. I’m not sure what the league can do beyond pulling strings to keep Pittsburgh out, but it must do something or hockey will be headed for ruin.

 

Leave your thoughts about the Cup, the Pens, the Sharks or how you think we can fix this problem in the comments below.

 

Bored.

 

 


Why They Can Win: NHL Stanley Cup Final Edition

Written by :
Published on : May 30, 2016

 

Well, it’s that time of year again. After months of grueling playoff action, it’s time for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, pitting the San Jose Sharks against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It’s been a long time coming for San Jose players and fans alike. This will be the first time in franchise history that the Sharks will play in a Stanley Cup Final.

 

It will be a thrilling time for the Sharks, particularly veteran forwards Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton. Marleau has been in San Jose since he was the second player selected at the 1997 NHL Draft; he has played 1,411 regular-season games with the Sharks and another 165 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Thornton arrived in 2005 in a trade with the Boston Bruins. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns has emerged as one of the better defensemen in the NHL and was recognized last month when he was named a Norris Trophy finalist. Burns had 75 points (27 goals, 48 assists) in the regular season. So let’s take a look at both teams and talk about how either one of them could be hoisting the greatest trophy in sports.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins:

I hate to say it, but the Pens have a pretty good chance at hoisting the Cup.

 

The Penguins have been a different team since Mike Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach 28 games into the season. Sullivan has allowed the Penguins to use their speed to their advantage, and top players like centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, right wing Phil Kessel, and defenseman Kris Letang have thrived. Crosby scored 36 goals and had 85 points during the regular season, and he and Malkin each have 15 points in the playoffs. Letang has 10 points and a plus-4 rating.

 

 

Matt Murray has supplanted Marc-Andre Fleury as the No. 1 goalie in Pittsburgh after the latter sustained a concussion March 31. Fleury had a chance to grab his job back in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he allowed four goals on 25 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss. Murray turned 22 on May 25 and has 28 games of experience between the regular season and postseason on his resume, but he has shown the poise of a veteran and his teammates have full confidence in him.

 

Crosby will always be the first name mentioned when it comes to Pittsburgh’s offense, but the Penguins are loaded up front. The acquisition of Kessel from the Toronto Maple Leafs last summer has paid dividends; Kessel enters the Final as Pittsburgh’s leading scorer this postseason with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in as many games. Monday, he’ll play his first game in the Final.

Kessel is part of what has been dubbed the “HBK Line,” consisting of left wing Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Phil Kessel. Bonino has 12 assists in 18 games, and Hagelin, one of the League’s fastest skaters, has five goals and seven assists.

 

 

Bryan Rust is going through the playoffs for the first time, but he sure doesn’t look rattled. Game 7 against Tampa Bay arguably was his best of the postseason; he scored each of Pittsburgh’s goals in a 2-1 win. Rust likely will skate with Malkin and Chris Kunitz, who has 10 points in 18 games.

 

It’s no secret Pittsburgh’s defense begins with Letang, who is one of the top offensive defensemen in the NHL. Letang is averaging 28:46 of ice time in the playoffs and has two goals and eight assists in 17 games. But he had two points in the Eastern Conference Final, and the Penguins may need more from Letang on the score sheet against the Sharks if they hope to finish this off.

 

Letang’s main defense partner, Brian Dumoulin, who scored his second goal in 116 career NHL regular-season and playoff games in Game 5 against the Lightning, is steady defensively and plays more than 20 minutes per game.

 

San Jose Sharks:

Marleau and Thornton will dominate the early storylines in this series, but center Joe Pavelski was born for this time of year. Pavelski has 13 goals in 18 games this postseason, including four game-winners. The first-year captain’s leadership on and off ice undoubtedly is one of the biggest reasons San Jose has gotten over the hump and reached the Final.

 

 

Center Logan Couture and Thornton are first and second in the NHL in assists this postseason, with 16 and 15, respectively. Each is extremely creative and a weapon on the power play. Couture’s 24 points lead the NHL.

 

Right wing Joel Ward is doing everything Sharks general manager Doug Wilson hoped he would when he signed him as a free agent on July 3. Ward has brought grit to San Jose and has 11 points in 18 playoff games. He is very familiar with Pittsburgh going back to his days with the Washington Capitals, so Ward should know what to expect in this series.

 

Ward’s line is centered by Chris Tierney, a 21-year-old who had seven goals in 79 regular-season games and has five in the playoffs. Swedish left wing Melker Karlsson continues to be a solid third-line left wing who is responsible in each end.

 

Burns is the star of San Jose’s defense and is capable of getting on the score sheet every time he’s on the ice. He enters the Final as the Sharks’ third leading scorer with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) and is averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time.

 

 

Burns isn’t the only elite player on San Jose’s back end. Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been spectacular this postseason, shutting down the opposition’s top forwards one series after another. Vlasic blanketed the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, who had 13 points in his first 14 games this postseason in the Western Conference Final, helping to hold him off the score sheet until Game 6. Vlasic is paired with Justin Braun, who was plus-3 in Game 5 against St. Louis and played 22:23 in the series-clincher.

 

San Jose’s power play has improved since the regular season, when it was third in the League at 22.5 percent, and is ranked second in the NHL this postseason at 27.0 percent. If the Sharks can keep the puck in the Penguins’ zone and Thornton can continue to find players like Pavelski and Marleau in the slot, their chances of winning the Cup increase dramatically.

 

 


Quest for the Stanley Cup: The Final Four

Written by :
Published on : May 14, 2016

 

 

Then there were four. Only four bands of bearded warriors left in this epic quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup. In case you just woke up from a hundred year slumber, here is the situation. First, out of the West we have St Louis Blues battling the San Jose Sharks and out of the East we have the Tampa Bay Lightning clashing with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Winners of these series will meet for a chance at historic greatness. Let’s meet each team and get caught up as we speed toward the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

St Louis Blues

 

If the Blues do finally capture their first Stanley Cup, the opening chapter of that story is how they overcame the Blackhawks in the first round. That was a herculean feat. Seems like every solid Blues team in the past is always bounced out of the playoffs by Chicago, Detroit (before the conference shift) or whoever had the hot hand. Not this team. Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes and Troy Brouwer are scoring. Plus goaltender, Brian Elliott, looked excellent against Dallas. St Louis will be singing at the end of the year, but it might not be the usual blues. Look out.

 

San Jose Sharks

 

I really don’t like these guys. They are loaded with firepower and seem to score goals at will. The tv tells me this is Joe Pavelski’s team now and it’s different. Maybe that’s true. But I still don’t like him, Logan Couture, Patrick Marleau or Joe Thornton. Though, I do like Joe Thornton’s beard. This offense is scary. If you play them, you better play clean because you don’t want to give them an extra skater. Their power play is killer.

 

Tampa Bay Lightning

 

Those uniforms make them look very superhero-esque and they have been playing like it. GM Steve Yzerman has built a wicked team that is young and talented. Last season, the Lightning lost to the Blackhawks in the finals. Now they are looking to rebound and take that next step. If Tampa Bay does win its second Stanley Cup (first was 2004) it will be on the back of goalie Ben Bishop and the stick of Nikita Kucherov.

 

Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Pittsburgh is the only franchise of the four that has won a championship (2009) in the last decade, so they seem like the de facto favorites. It’s Crosby, Kessel, and Malkin doing work as usual. They only needed six games to get past a very complete Washington Capitals crew that looked primed for a deep playoff run. Tampa Bay will have their hands full. Sounds dumb, but stop sleeping on the Pittsburgh Penguins. I feel like most hockey fans outside of Pennsylvania aren’t ready to see Sid the Kid lift another Cup. Yuck.

 

So which crew will be drinking champagne out of Stanley’s Mug? It’s a tough call. I don’t want the Penguins to win again. I hate the Sharks. Tampa Bay has Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman running the team but they’ve knocked the Wings out of the playoffs the last two years and I don’t want a hockey trophy to live anywhere in Florida. So, by process of elimination, the St Louis Blues will hoist the Cup. It’s cosmic sports retribution for the Rams leaving (too soon?). The city loses a football team but gains a Stanley Cup to help cushion the blow. Makes sense to me.

 

 

Go Blues.

 

 


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.

 

 


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