Sports is an odd duck. There are so many cheesy inspirational tricks teams use to inspire and motivate. Locker room speeches, post-game game balls, signs on the walls offering an inspiring quote. With the Internet, we have the opportunity to see what theme a team wishes to convey to its fans for the season at hand. The NHL is no different. If you browse through their Web sites, you will find that not all teams go down this path, but a fair number of them do. Some of the themes teams are promoting this season…
Buffalo Sabres: “Next Chapter.” The Sabres have finished out of the postseason the last four years and last in their division the last two seasons. They switched coaches, bringing Dan Bylsma in to try to recreate that old Pittsburgh Penguin magic. Well, you can’t spell “Bylsma” without “bile”…or something like that. The “Next Chapter” might be written by Stephen King.
Columbus Blue Jackets: “March with Us.” Oh, we get it…”march with us.” A Civil War thing. They’ve even got a whole speech. We’re wondering, though…what’s up with “literally putting pucks in the net?” What would “figuratively putting pucks in the net" be? Oh, the Blue Jacket offense.
Detroit Red Wings: “It’s More Than Hockey.” Really? You’ve got 11 Stanley Cups, four of them in the last 20 years. You’ve made the playoffs for 24 straight seasons. The last time you missed the postseason, Jaromir Jagr wasn’t even in the NHL. “More than Hockey? “ Maybe it’s weekend escapes to Zug Island.
Los Angeles Kings: “We Are All Kings.” All of us? Even the women in the fan base? Seems a bit un-California-like. Maybe y’all should should be “happy we won two Stanley Cups in the last three years.” But that’s a bit much to put on the banner of a Web page.
Minnesota Wild: “This is the State of Hockey.” These folks are serious. This “State of Hockey” thing… there’s a book about it. There is a Twitter feed. There’s even a freakin’ anthem about it. “State of Hockey?” More like “State of Obsession.”
New Jersey Devils: "#relentless." If you click on the “#relentless” link on the Devils’ home page, you will be ushered to another “new chapter” thing. Somehow, “new chapter” doesn’t capture what is going on in Jersey. After three Stanley Cups and two other finals appearances in 17 seasons, the Devils have missed the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. New chapter? Maybe time for a new book.
New York Rangers: “We Are Rangerstown.” If Guy Fieri was a hockey commentator, this would be his catch phrase for the Rangers. But really, “Rangerstown?” And don’t forget the “Rangers”…with that “S” to provide the subtle sense of team and community. It almost sounds Norman Rockwellian, if eight gazillion people on an island can be thought of as Norman Rockwellian.
Ottawa Senators; “United in Red.” So, who got here first, the Senators or the Albany Devils? OK, Ottawa has been doing this for a little while, but it still has the vague ring of a B-grade horror flick that should be starring Vincent Price.
San Jose Sharks: “25 Years of Teal.” Uh, is this a Martha Stewart thing? Now, keep in mind, a “teal” is actually a freshwater duck. There seems to be some confusion out there among the California teams about their identity. Or maybe “teal” is a synonym for “underachievement.”
Vancouver Canucks: “#PlayForThis.” This one is pretty sneaky. If you click on the “#PlayForThis” link on the Canucks home page, you are directed to the “Tickets” page. So, apparently, “This” in “PlayForThis” is hockey revenue.
And there you have it, a sampling of team themes for 2015-2016. It makes you wonder what the Capitals might use, were they so inclined. Oh sure, we’re all familiar with the whole “Rock the Red” theme, but it has a bit of age on it. Perhaps something to freshen things up…
It's a work in progress, but you get the idea.