Saturday, 31 August 2013

Selanne Is Back!!!

Hello everyone, first an apology with my last post, about the colours in sports (which has since been deleted). I lost the source images and data for the statistics I was demonstrating, and I decided to just delete the post all together.  I may come back to it in the future.

But to recap: 25% of teams in the 4 main professional sports leagues have red and blue as their main colours, and 75% have either red or blue, or both.  Where art thou, originality?


But what I wanted to say today is that Teemu Selanne is coming back for "one more year".  I have skeptisism on that, because even though he's 42, he plays like he's 30, and is one of Anaheim's best players still.  Yes, his production is down and there will hit a point in his career where he is not worth the roster spot, but he's not there yet.  I just hope he doesn't end his career in Favre-esque fashion, by retiring and coming back several times, and become a hinderance more than a help before his time is up.  Selanne is smart though, and his work habits are unmatched by most in their prime.  So I believe he'll retire when he needs to, and not a year sooner or later.  This is good for us fans, the Ducks, and Team Finland, as I doubt he'd pass up an opportunity to represent his country one last time.  I have a suspicion that the Olympics are the reason that he's coming back.  Maybe not the only reason, but the reason that tipped the scale in his favour.  Just a theory though.

Either way, this is good news for everyone.  Besides maybe the other teams in the Pacific division.  

And if you didn't have the chance to see his un-retirement video, have a look.  Its hilarious and well worth it.  Oh, by the way, spoiler alert.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Alright, about to go on full out rant mode here.  I'll keep it short and sweet so try to keep up.

WTF Nike?

Nike released their Olympic jersey sets for the Sochi Olympic Games, and... well... I'm not a big fan.  They've released the jerseys for the host Russian team, and for the Americans.  Lets first take a look at the USA uni's:

(all images from Icethetics)

The white jersey is the coolest long-sleeve soccer jersey I've ever seen.  The main body of the jersey is totally plain, the arm-striping style doesn't match together at all, and the fake-laces and shoulder stars are the tackiest thing I've seen on a jersey since the Los Angeles Burger Kings jersey.

If the same style on the white jersey was used on the blue jersey, with white on the top, then this unique style could possibly work, but nevertheless it looks so... wrong on a hockey jersey.  Plus even though the shoulders are wacky, the rest of the uniforms are so plain and boring that it would make a good practice jersey.  On the positive side (at least there is something) the logo is pretty cool.  It looks historic enough while being relevant and modern at the same time.  I just hope those fake laces are a one-off gimmick...

Well I guess not.  These jerseys suffer from the Nike "fake-laces" too.  While this set isn't near as bad as the American set, there are still many problems with it.

I'll start with the white jersey, as it probably got your attention first.  The design is absolutely unique, and it does look pretty cool, if you're a fan of Russian artwork.  But I don't think the double-headed dragon will look really good on the ice, being contorted and crumpled by the players wearing it.  It's just going to look like a red and white mess.  Plus it there is going to be blue, there should be more blue.  Its awkward having only the wordmark and the small little strip at the bottom as a colour unrelated to the rest of the jersey.  But on the positive, the arm wing design and the shoulder wing design are remarkable, and unlike the rest of the jersey it wont be too affected by the movements of the game.  Its unique, I'll give it that.  I'd be cool with the jersey, but looking at how its worn...

...I just think it looks more awkward than cool.

But what is cool is the red Russian jersey.  Its good because it really doesn't mess with the cool jerseys Russia already has.  It has a good balance between red, white, and blue, and proudly shows the Russian crest on the chest.  Some minor complaints with it are that I find the crest to be somewhat larger than it should be, and the wordmark seems awkwardly low on the jersey (same with on the white set).  Also, I don't like how the blue shoulders look so square on the jersey.  Jerseys are typically rounded and smooth, but the blue shoulders that extend all the way around evenly look strange to me.  But I really like the arm stripes on the jersey, and is pretty much the only jersey out of these 4 that can get away with having no bottom hem striping (besides 1 little stripe at the bottom).  At least this jersey doesn't have funky art on the shoulders, but it still loses brownie points for having the fake laces.

So for the most part, I'm not a huge fan of these jerseys and I hope this is as bad as it gets, if Nike is doing all of the jerseys.  I'd like if Canada can stay fairly traditional, but judging from these sets, I highly doubt it.  Hopefully something Summit Series '72 style, if they plan on something more unique.  I just really hope the NHL stays well away from Nike designs, if this sort of thing keeps up.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Welcome Back!

Hello everyone! I apologize for my absence the last few days.  I had a temporary night-shift job that basically eliminated any chance I had to sit down and focus on writing during the day.  But now I'm back.

And yes I know, I promised on Twitter I would have a post yesterday, and that didn't happen either.  I ran out of daytime to write anything and this is the first chance I got, so I'll likely have a couple of posts today, one now and one later.


For now, I'm going to talk about the 5* coolest hockey-related people I've had a chance to meet in my lifetime.  I haven't had a chance to meet most of my hockey idols growing up, such as Iginla and Hasek, but I have been able to meet and even play with some of the NHL's biggest names.  Some of these players were some of my first favourite NHL players, and were the first players that I really got to idolize.

5. Ray Ferraro / Wade Redden

I put these two together because I met them in the same fashion, in the same place, and idolized both growing up.  I got to go to the Okanagan Hockey School, where Redden and Ferraro were both mentors.  I went when I was really young in my hockey career, and had the most troubles skating.  Redden and Ferraro were both known for their skating abilities, and helped me plenty with fine tuning my technique.  At the time, these were two really big names in hockey, one was an established veteran, the other a young star in Ottawa.

4. Brian Burke

Also at the Okanagan Hockey School, I got to meet Brian Burke, the well-known NHL General Manager.  Although, for the most part, I disagree with his management style and decisions, it was really cool meeting a real-life NHL executive, and learning what it takes to make it as a pro from someone who actually scouts for pros.  Pretty neat.

3. Dion Phaneuf

He's probably the biggest name on this list now, but I wouldn't put him higher just because of the circumstances I met him.  He was doing some sort of tour of Canadian Tire stores, and stopped at my hometown's store to sign autographs and meet fans.  Yes, it was totally awesome to meet a star player like Phaneuf, but I had to wait in line to see him, saw him for about a minute, then left to let hundreds of others get the same brush with fame.  Still was a really cool experience though.

2.  Jason Krog

Conversely, he's probably the least known on this list, but anyone who shares my hometown probably knows him as well.  He was another Fernie, BC product, who made it to the NHL and was a big part of Anaheim's Stanley Cup run in 2003.  He's been the AHL's MVP and scoring leader numerous times, and has played all over the world.  I believe he's currently playing in Sweden, and doing very well for himself there too.  Anyways, he was the first person to taught me how to skate (after a few months in a figure skating program), and I attended his hockey camps in Fernie on a yearly basis.  We chatted quite a bit, talked occasionally on the off season, and got to know each other well.  His rookie NHL card, autographed, is still one of my favourites in my hockey card collection, and he was my first real mentor to the game of hockey.

1. Scott Niedermayer

Phaneuf is the biggest name on the list right now, but of all time Niedermayer is definitely the biggest.  I  actually got the chance to meet him several times in my life, some with the company of hundreds of others, and some in more personal quarters.

I got to meet Niedermayer, from Cranbrook, BC, first at one of our year-end hockey banquets, when he attended as a guest speaker.  I was young, and didn't get much of a chance to talk to him, so it was hard to really get to know him, but it was really cool to meet someone who was, at the time, as big as he was.

The second time was when he and brother Rob won the Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2006.  Since Scott Niedermayer currently made his home in Fernie, he brought the Cup to the city, so I got to meet both brothers and the Stanley Cup for the first time.  It was honestly life changing to be with the Stanley Cup, and in the presence of an Olympian, Stanley Cup champion and (now) Hall of Famer.

But the third biggest meeting between the two was a really cool experience.  My family was selling the house in Fernie, to move to Lethbridge, AB (where I live currently), so we had visitors regularly looking at the house.  Jason Krog showed up to take a look at the house as well, which was cool in itself.  But one day, in the summer of 2010, after reading in the local paper that he was vacationing in Canada, we had a couple come in to look at the house.  I didn't notice until about halfway through the tour, and even then I wasn't 100% sure, but he looked so similar to the guy I met back in 2006, sans beard. I looked at my dad, who had the look of curiosity that I'm sure I had while thinking of the possibility of such a player in our house.  We decided not to say anything, distracting from the tour and being rude if they chose to stay private.  But at the end, before they left, I shook his hand and said "Thanks for stopping by, Scott".  He chuckled a bit and gave me a smile, the same smile I know I saw with the cup 4 years prior.  That was definitely the coolest brush with hockey fame I've had.


So now its your turn.  Who was the coolest hockey player you've meet?  How did you meet them?  Share your stories with me or leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your own brushes with hockey fame.

So I'm glad I'm back to writing again, and as promised I'll try to leave another post later today.  Goodnight everyone, and thank you for reading!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Musical Coaches, Baseball, Regis Philbin, and Jerseys

Before I get to today's topic, a few little things I'd like to share.

First, I have to say that I absolutely love Jay and Dan from TSN FoxSports1. I was really sad to see them leave TSN, but watching their first episode on American networks makes me feel like they're in good hands.  I'm still a fan.

But you know who isn't a fan? Regis Philbin.  He was on one of the sports channel's segments this morning, and had a few things to say to the Canadian duo:

Not sure if trolling, or just mad.  Why you heff to be mad, Regis?  Either way, this definitely made me laugh.


Second, I'll give a quick shout-out to Team Canada at the Little League World Series.  They were eliminated earlier today after losing to Panama.  It got kinda ugly, lasting only 4 innings in a 12-0 blowout. The Canadians leave the tournament with a 1-2 record.

Despite the blowouts to both Panama and Taiwan in the first game, they played hard and deserved to represent our country on the world stage.  Expectations, as usual, weren't very high on our team, but we were well represented nonetheless. Congrats to the remaining teams and good luck for the rest of the tournament.


Third, I created a couple of new concepts that I'd like to share.

This first one is of the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.  Named after famous wrestler Bret "The Hitman" Hart.  He also founded and part-owned the team.  Like his wrestling outfit, the Hitmen's original jersey made black and pink badass, something almost impossible in the world of sports.  Since then, the team upgraded their logo and look, changing the colours along the way.  Well fooey with that, I like what the Hitmen pink stood for.  So I brought back the pink, kept their new cleaner logo, and gave it more Calgary flavour by giving it the Flames' style of the mid-90's.

This was made for a contest at The Hawthorne, California police department wanted to set up a youth hockey organization that would give the sport of hockey to youth that cannot afford to be in sports or activities.  They got an equipment grant from the NHLPA, and wanted an artist to design their jerseys to show city spirit, pride of the police force, and to be a "badass" cool jersey for these kids to wear.  I'm all for that.  So I created the logo using a police badge outline, stars, sticks, and wings to give this jersey a unique flair of pride.  I kept the main colour a "police blue", while adding light blue, black, and white.  I also gave them the Anaheim Ducks' jersey style because, well its just that cool of a jersey, but deserved to be in better colours.  I mean, double blue, thats the best colour combination a jersey could have!

Besides maybe black and pink ;)


So finally to what I wanted to talk about, which is the question:

Who won the game of Musical Coaches?

This off-season had a lot of coaches fired, hired, moved, traded, etc.  Which team got the best deal out of it?

Buffalo Sabres: 

Fired: Lindy Ruff
Hired: Ron Rolston

Lindy Ruff in my mind is a legendary coach, but his time in Buffalo was over when players stopped listening to his messages.  That tends to happen to any coach, good and bad, at some point.  Unless you're Barry Trotz apparently.  His replacement, Ron Rolston, has a ton of NCAA coaching experience, but only 2 years experience coaching in the AHL.  He was signed during last season in Buffalo, and had a .565 winning percentage, not a bad start at all.  Still, his inexperience is going to be the downfall of a struggling Sabres franchise for a few seasons yet.

Dallas Stars:

Fired: Glen Gulutzan
Hired: Lindy Ruff

Interestingly enough, Ruff landed with the team that effectively stole a Stanley Cup away from him in 1999.  A veteran, no-nonsense coach that can lead a young group of players (and possibly straighten Seguin out for good) to great heights.  

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Fired: Guy Boucher
Hired: Jon Cooper

I never really liked Boucher as a coach.  His style really didn't jive with the roster he had, who (besides goaltending) should have been a highly competitive team during his tenure.  He is replaced by Jon Cooper, an inexperienced coach in the NHL, but has had wild success in the AHL for the few seasons he's been there, winning the Calder Cup in his 2nd season in Norfolk, then the following year leading Syracuse to the best record in the league until he was hired by Tampa Bay.  Despite his success, his leash will be short, given the expectations of this team.

Vancouver Canucks:

Fired: Alain Vigneault
Hired: John Tortorella

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't like the sounds of this.  I love Tortz as a coach, but his hard-nose, physical style of play, along with the short leashes he gives to younger players, will not fit well with the Canucks, unless he has a total change of heart when he's there.  AV is a great coach, but his message wasn't getting across to the Canuck players, and he couldn't spark them to playoff success.

New York Rangers:

Fired: John Tortorella
Hired: Alain Vigneault

To complete the coaching trade, we have AV replacing Tortz in New York.  Unlike Vancouver's situation, I'm really excited to see what Vigneault can do with a dependable cast in NY.  

Edmonton Oilers:

Fired: Ralph Kruger
Hired: Dallas Eakins

Kruger was a smart, savvy veteran coach, but couldn't adapt to the NHL game from his home in the Swiss league.  Eakins is getting his first stint as an NHL coach in Edmonton, and has been coaching the Toronto Marlies of the AHL, with reasonable success.  His style will benefit Edmonton, but lack of experience will hinder this young team.

Colorado Avalanche:

Fired: Joe Sacco
Hired: Patrick Roy

This is my favourite coaching hire since Anaheim nabbed Boudreau.  Sacco's coaching record has been mediocre at best, barely making the playoffs once out of 4 seasons.  Patrick Roy was brought in to single-handedly reform the team, being head coach and head decision maker in Colorado.  He ran the whole show in Quebec in the QMJHL, winning the Memorial Cup in his rookie year and keeping Quebec a dominant team since.  His experience will no doubtedly be questioned, as will his antics.  But he's the kind of guy that can fire up a young team like Colorado and get them playing full-hearted hockey, and thats something the league seems to be missing right now.

So who do you think won the off-season for coaches?  My say would be New York, but potentially Colorado.  Anyway, let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

What's The Deal With Ottawa?

Before I get to today's discussion, I'd like to just briefly mention friend-of-the-blog Ricky at BNG, who has been extremely generous enough to accept my concept art and heavily feature my work on his own blog this past week.  He's taken the time to review them and give them his own thoughts, something that is extremely helpful to me.  If you have the time, make sure you check out his blog, as he features some really cool jersey designs and his own insight on them.  Thank you Ricky, and those who support my concept art.

Here's the link to his page.  I've been featured on most of his daily posts for the last week, so scroll down and check it out, and have a peek around while you're there.


Here's a topic that I wanted to bring up after Alfie signed with Detroit, but I wanted to make clear of his intentions before doing so, and watch the aftermath that unfolded.  Sure enough, I was correct, another bad "break-up" with Ottawa and a star player.

This really isn't the first time.  Most fans should remember how ugly it got when Dany Heatley left town.  He still is public enemy #1 I believe.  He had a bad final season in Ottawa, and requested to be traded, withdrawing his No Trade Clause.  Ottawa had no choice but to send him to Edmonton.

Actually, he refused the trade to Edmonton, pissing off two teams at once.  The trade to Edmonton would rid them of a $7million cap hit in Heatley, and bring in Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner, and Ladislav Smid.  None of those guys equaled the talent lost by Heatley, but would be a good group of players to retool your secondary scoring with for sure.  Eventually, he got traded to San Jose for Jonathan Cheechoo, Milan Michalek, and a 2nd round pick.  Not bad, but could have been better if he was sent to Edmonton.  Michalek put up good numbers, but less than he was previously in San Jose.  Cheechoo's glory seasons were over, and it didn't take long for him to be bought out and sent packing.  So if I were an Ottawa fan, I'd still have reason to be pissed at Heatley, and clearly I'm not the only one who agrees, as he gets regularly booed anytime he comes to town.

But lets spin the clock even further back, to 2006.  While Zdeno Chara didn't himself cause a big stir in Ottawa, it was the manager's decision to get rid of him in place of Wade Redden that cause resentment among Sens fans.  Chara and Redden were the premier defence pair in the league.  After the lockout, Ottawa's finances forced them to choose to keep one or the other.  The rest is history.  Chara signed as a free agent to Boston, was immediately named Captain, improved his individual stats and the team's success every year, and has a Stanley Cup to his name.  Redden's numbers dropped significantly after Chara left, and his next 2 seasons involved non-stop trade rumours, until he was let go by the Senators 2 years later and signed with the Rangers.  Pretty poor decision if you ask me.

But how did Ottawa get a hold of Chara to begin with?  Funny you should ask.

In 1992, Ottawa drafted Alexei Yashin 2nd overall.  He played a year in Russia, then came to Ottawa and joined "rookie superstar" Alexandre Daigle in 1993.  Daigle was supposed to be Ottawa's key to success, but it was Yashin who scored 77 points in his rookie season and came away with the Calder Trophy.  He helped improve the weak club, and eventually lead the young team to the playoffs in 1997.  By 1998, he was a Hart Trophy finalist.  However, it was off the ice where he became loathed by the public.

In 1996, he refused to play until his contract was renegotiated so that he was the highest paid player on the team.  He did deserve it, being paid less than most other players, including Daigle, who at this time was considered a bust.  But thats not a good way to win over fans, and could have waited a year to negotiate his contract once it was over.  But he held out, and soured his reputation with the fans of Ottawa, and sadly this wasn't his first contract issue.  Furthermore, he tried to make it up by donating $1million to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.  However this was refused when it was revealed that he demanded $400,000 in fees to go to his parents.  Lastly, in 1999, the final year of his contract, he held out for the 3rd time hoping for renegotiation.  He was suspended by the team without pay after he refused to report to the team.  He unsuccessfully requested a trade, before trying to sign in Switzerland, which was vetoed by the IIHF until the dispute was settled.  Since he owed the team 1 more season, he came back the next year to play, being booed regularly in any arena, but worst in Ottawa.

In 2001, he was traded to the Islanders, for the draft pick that gave Ottawa Jason Spezza, and for (you guessed it) Zdeno Chara.  To make the trade even worse for the Islanders, Mike Milbury (you know he'd be involved here somewhere) signed him to a grossly overpaid 10 year-$87.5million deal.

So whether it be because of finances, poor management decisions, or the disagreements between player's and staff, Ottawa has sure had a hard time keeping it's star players, but thats not too uncommon.  What is uncommon is how each event seems to blow up in their face, and adds a new player to the fans' "Most Hated" lists.  Unfortunately, the way everything unfolded, I wouldn't be surprised if Alfie's reception when he visits Ottawa again will be less than smooth.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Oh Captain My Captain

I've been pretty bad with keeping up with my posts lately, but I wanna do a piece today about the captains of the NHL teams.  Calgary is among 8 teams that are looking for a new captain for this season.  Some teams elect to go with a rotating cast of alternates, or just keep 3 alternates.  I like that thought, but only on a team that doesn't have a natural leader to begin with.  If you have a leader on your team, it helps rally your team better getting behind a guy willing to put the work in to keep his place.

So I'm going to go through each NHL team, and discuss their captaincy situation, whether they have one or not, and if not, who should be the team's next captain.

Anaheim: Ryan Getzlaf (Koivu/Selanne)

Its hard to argue Getzlaf as the captain of this team.  He's pretty much the best leader this team has, aside from Koivu.  But Koivu came to Anaheim late in his career, and wasn't part of the core group, so I think he's fine staying alternate.  Selanne should keep the 'A' if he stays.  But if he doesn't, then expect Beauchemin or Perry to take his place.

Boston: Zdeno Chara (Bergeron/Kelly)

Again, it's hard to argue Chara being captain of the team.  He's a great leader and the face of the franchise.  Bergeron and Kelly are also great picks for the alternates, as both are key guys in the dressing room and on the ice.  They get behind their teammates and try to make everyone around them look good.  Lucic might get the 'A' eventually, but not for a while yet as long as this group stays.

Buffalo: Vacant (Stafford/Ott/Vanek)

This team doesn't exactly have a leader on their team, but the 3 'A's that they've picked are pretty much spot on.  Stafford and Vanek have spent more time on the team than almost everyone else, and are key guys on the team.  Ott is fairly new to the team, but is great to lead the team and fire them up when needed, either with his words or with his actions on the ice.  He's a great lead-by-example type of player, although he does have a thing for getting in trouble around the league.  If I was to pick a captain from this group, I'd go with Vanek based on what he brings to the team.

Calgary: Vacant (Cammalleri/Giordano/Glencross)

Calgary lost their captain of 10 years, Jerome Iginla, last season, and find themselves in the same place as Buffalo.  No one on the team really stands out as a captain on this young team, and my pick would have been Tanguay...but now he's in Colorado.  Assuming Kiprusoff retires, no one has been on the team longer than 10 years, or since before Iginla was captain. Giordano is close, being on the team since 2004, and is probably the best bet for the next captain.  But Glencross has really stepped up his game lately and has emerged as a fan favourite and team leader the last few years as well, and he's been there since 2008, which is longer than all but 3 players in the lineup. Cammy is the team's best player IMO, but hasn't been part of the core long enough to really be a good leader to the team, especially since the team has been a revolving door of players for the last few years.  I'd say Glencross is the best fit of a captain, but Giordano will likely get it.

Carolina: Eric Staal (Gleason/J. Staal)

While I don't necesarrily agree with little Staal getting an 'A', no one can argue big Staal's captaincy.  He's a leader and has been the face of the franchise for quite some time now.  I'd keep Gleason's 'A', as he's been one of the very few core players kept since 2008.  Personally, I'd give Staal's 'A' to Tuomo Ruutu, but that's just a small change.  It's not like Jordan Staal is a bad leader, he's just too young and too new to the franchise to be leading the team.  It's not like they're deep with leadership though.

Chicago: Jonathan Toews (Keith/Sharp)

I've said a few times in previous posts that I don't think Toews is all that great of a leader.  Maybe it's just my grumpy opinion, but he didn't act like much of a captain during their Cup run this season.  If it wasn't for Seabrook, I think Toews would have lost Chicago the Western Finals, never mind the Stanley Cup.  However, he is as good of a leader as any of Chicago's alternates, or could be alternates; like Kane, Seabrook, Hossa, and Bickel.  Unlike Carolina, this team is loaded with leadership potential.

Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Landeskog (Hejduk/Stastny)

On paper, Hejduk should be the captain.  But he didn't like the role, as he isn't a leader-type of player, and passed off his captaincy after one season.  Landeskog became the youngest captain ever when he was named captain last season, and recently signed a long-term deal with the club.  I like this guy, and he's a hell of a player, but naming him (or anyone) captain that early really worries me.  However, if anyone was going to do it, its him.  He's the definition of a natural leader, and leads his team by example.  I just hope all of his hype doesn't go to waste after a mere 2 seasons in the league.  Plus its hard to pick a captain of your team when only 10 players have been there since 2009.  4 of those are only 22 years old and are by far not captain's material yet, 4 of those are players who are low in the roster and don't make a huge deal on the ice.  The other 2 are Hejduk and Stastny.

Columbus: Vacant (Aucoin/Dubinsky/Johnson)

As far as available leadership goes, this is a sad bunch right here.  Not to knock off any of the alternates mentioned, but they don't exactly strike me as captain-players.  Only 6 players have been on this team since 2010, none of them have the 'A'.  That's a sign of a team rebuilding. RJ Umberger has been on the team since 2008, and is one of the only key players on the team the whole time since.  I think he's a bit of a dark horse, but in my mind is the best Columbus has for a captain of their team.  I'd keep Dubinsky and Aucoin as assistants, or Johnson if Aucoin decides to retire.

Dallas: Vacant (Benn/Robidas/Whitney)

Similar to Columbus, this team has been a revolving door through trades and free agency through the last few seasons, and is undergoing a huge rebrand, retool, and rebuild.  Only 3 players have been on the team since 2010, and only those 3 and goaltender Lehtonen since 2011. Benn and Robidas are part of that core group.  Benn is the face of the team and deserves his shot at leading this team.  He's a little quieter and not as much of a fire-starter as most captains, but he's a solid player who could lead by example.  Robidas should stay as alternate, as should Whitney.  Whitney is rather new to Dallas, but is a skilled, wise player even at 41, and can be a good veteran asset to this team come playoff time.

Detroit: Henrik Zetterberg (Kronwall/Datsyuk)

Detroit's 3 best players, and 3 longest-serving Red Wings on the roster.  Pretty much perfect set-up of captaincy.

Edmonton: Vacant (Eberle/Hall/Schultz)

There's only 5 players over 30 on this team, and none of them have been there before 2011 (Except Hemsky, who they tried to get rid of and will probably not be getting the 'A' anytime soon). It's hard to pick a young captain to lead a young team.  I'd say Smyth deserves to be captain, but sadly his role on the team is declining rapidly, as he doesn't fit in with the young, fast style of hockey.  This is one of the rare cases where I say having 3 alternates and no captain is a good thing.  The only thing I'd change is Gagner should get the 'A' instead of Hall.  Gagner is more of a leader to the team, and Hall is only 21, 3rd youngest on the team behind RNH and Yakupov.

Florida: Ed Jovanovski (Campbell)

Jova was hurt most of last season and didn't play, and oddly Florida only has 1 alternate.  Jovanovski is also questionable for the start of camp, so that put's the captain's status in even more limbo.  If he's healthy, he's the obvious 'C' on the team, with Campbell and Shawn Matthias as the alternates.  If he isn't good to go, than Campbell should captain with Matthais and Upshall or Kopecky as alternate.

Los Angeles: Dustin Brown (Greene/Kopitar/Richards)

Although I'm not a fan of Brown, I can see why he's the captain of the team, and why the alternates are who they are.  I'd probably switch Brown with Kopitar as captain, but thats just nitpicking.

Minnesota: Mikko Koivu (Parise/Suter)

Koivu is a lock for captain, as he's been the franchise's main guy since Gaborik left.  But I don't like how Parise and Suter can sign with the team and be named alternates right away.  They aren't standout leaders (Parise would have been the next captain of NJ for sure), but they aren't bad choices, considering Minny doesn't have any good veteran players that could fit the leader role and have been there longer (besides Heatley, but that wouldn't happen).  So I guess this is fine for now.

Montreal: Brian Gionta (Gorges/Markov)

Unlike many of the teams just mentioned, Montreal has had a good core group of players around for quite some time.  Markov has been on the team the longest (1998) and deserves an 'A'. Gionta is a good captain too.  I'm not sure he fills the shoes left by the legendary Montreal captains of history, but he's the best they have now.  I'd probably give Subban the 'A' over Gorges, simply because it may force him to be more responsible, since it's more than likely going to be Subban's team in the next few years.

Nashville: Shea Weber (Legwand/Fisher)

Like Detroit, seems about right to me.

New Jersey: Bryce Salvador (Elias/Greene)

How Salvador got the captaincy over Elias is beyond me. Elias has been on the team since 1994 and has been a very key player every year since.  Salvador is an older player with veteran leadership, but I still would give Elias the 'C' before Salvador.  Greene is a fair alternate, but could be substituted with Zubrus, Zajac, or even Jagr.

New York Islanders: Vacant (Okposo/Tavares)

Anyone who thinks Tavares isn't going to be the next captain is delusional.  It's as natural of a fit as Giroux was in Philly.  He's the team's best player, best leader, and the face of the franchise.  I'd say he's still a bit young and inexperienced to lead an NHL team, but the Islanders don't have many better options.  Okposo is okay as an Alternate, and expect Nielsen or Moulson to nab the other 'A'.

New York Rangers: Ryan Callahan (Richards/M. Staal)

Callahan is the perfect captain, under Tort's system. I'm curious to see if AV is going to change some things around when he starts with the Rangers, but he'd be a fool to rid Callahan of the 'C'.  He's not a glamorous player, but he gets the job done and leads by example better than any captain in the NHL.  I wouldn't be shocked, however, if he's paired up with new alternates. If Richards can't improve his status under AV's system, then we wont climb much higher than the 3rd line, and shouldn't have the 'A'.  Staal's play will very much be determined by the extent of his eye injury, still unknown. If either of those two can't return to their regular place in the lineup, expect Girardi or McDonagh to get the 'A's for the team.

Ottawa: Vacant (Phillips/Spezza)

I really can't see why Spezza WON'T get the captaincy, he's the team's most skilled player, best leader, best ambassador to hockey and the city of Ottawa, and pretty much the perfect fit to lead the Sens.  Phillips definitely should keep the 'A', and Chris Neil should get the other one based on his dedication to his play and his team, and his ability to fire the team up when needed.

Philadelphia: Claude Giroux (Hartnell/Timonen)

Giroux definitely earned the 'C' on his jersey, and it's hard to argue against the other two as his alternates.  I really have no problems here.

Phoenix: Shane Doan (Hanzal/Yandle)

Doan is the prime example of a team captain, and will be the frontman of the Coyotes until he leaves or retires.  Yandle is an important player in Phoenix, and deserves to be alternate, as does Hanzal.  Plus all 3 of these players are the longest-serving Coyotes.  This is somewhat of a sad situation for Phoenix, given that their alternates are only 26 years old and have been a Coyote longer than anyone else besides former-Jet Doan.

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby (Kunitz/Malkin/Orpik)

Crosby and Malkin are obvious, Orpik is the longest-serving Penguin (2000), and Kunitz is a solid veteran presence on the team.  I'd maybe nitpick and switch Kunitz with either Letang or Dupuis, but it's not really necessary

St. Louis: David Backes (Jackman/Pietrangelo/Steen)

None of these guys stand out to me as a natural leader, but I can't argue their selection too much considering their roster.  I'd maybe sub Steen with Bouwmeester, as his experience in the league would probably make him a good leader to the club, but just my opinion.

San Jose: Joe Thornton (Boyle/Marleau)

Marleau is a great player, but his leadership is somewhat questionable, hence why Jumbo Joe is now captain.  He's a good leader to the team, but he doesn't lead by example well in the playoffs, much the problem of Marleau before him.  Regardless, this is about they best leadership group they have.

Tampa Bay: Vacant (Ohlund/St. Louis/Stamkos)

Although Stamkos will be captain soon enough, I think a few years under the leadership of St. Louis would be to his benefit.  St. Louis has been an all-star and key player for Tampa since he entered in 2000, and even at the age of 38, he is still one of the league's top point-getters.  This will be Stamkos' team eventually, but not yet.

Toronto: Dion Phaneuf (Lupul/McClement)

Most would agree Phaneuf isn't great captain material, but I don't think he's done a bad job.  He's still young, and slowly finding his place under such enormous pressure.  Lupul is a fair assistant to him, but I'm curious why McClement has an 'A' and Phil Kessel doesn't.  If Kessel doesn't deserve it, then give it to Clarkson this year, or Bozak, or Kulemin, or Franson, or even Colton Orr.

Vancouver: Henrik Sedin (D. Sedin/Kesler/Bieksa)

The problem is that most of these guys aren't accountable or dependable during playoff time, something I find important, as Tortz likely will too.  He really isn't afraid to change captains around, once striping young-star Lecavlier of the 'C' because Tortz felt he was too young and immature, and I agreed with him.  I can see Kesler getting the 'C' next season, with Bieksa and the Sedins alternating the 'A's.

Washington: Alex Ovechkin (Backstrom/Green/Laich)

There's no denying that this is Ovechkin's team.  He didn't fit the leader role well at first, but deserves the job now.  The alternates really can't be argued with here either, as these guys are the next best leaders of the team.

Winnipeg: Andrew Ladd (Jokinen/Stuart)

Ladd is the obvious captain, as he is a strong leader and vet than can carry the team or get behind them and push.  However, there really isn't a strong candidate for the 'A's in Winnipeg.  I like Jokinen as a player, but he isn't a strong leader.  Stuart isn't a bad candidate, but I think there is better leader's on the team.  If I had it my way, I'd give Dustin Byfuglin and Blake Wheeler the 'A's, with Evander Kane getting one the minute he smarts-up a little.

Well those are my choices, does anyone have any objections, or captaincy suggestions of their own? Let me know.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

... Barbra Streisand

I hope that song is stuck in your head now too.

Anyways, yes, I've been listening to a fair share of Duck Sauce today, against my will of course.  "Barbra Streisand" was a cool song, for a while, and then it got old, quickly.

So what does this have to do with hockey? Well, the Flames decided to use the song as their goal horn, and it absolutely killed me as a Flames fan.  The last time I went to a Flames game in person, they used "Shot Down In Flames" - ACDC.  That song was perfect! It was loud, obnoxious, catchy, and had something to do with FLAMES!

Hockey music should get the heart pumping, get right in your face, and blast out the speakers.  Thats what I like hearing when I'm at a hockey game.

I was going to do a "best goal horns" list, but there's lots of different ones and good sources for listing them are hard to come by.  So I decided to make my "Favourite" playlist from all of the EA video games in the NHL series.  Usually, they feature lots of Canadian rock, and a good mix of new, hard rock, and classic tunes.  That's what I like.  They haven't always had good music, but usually they had some great tunes in there, so I'm going to show you my "playlist" of my favourite songs from the NHL games, and the game it was featured in:

Heroes - David Bowie (NHL99 Intro)
Heavy - Collective Soul (NHL2001 Intro)
American Psycho - Treble Charger (NHL2002)
I Hear You Calling - GOB (NHL2002)
Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows - Brand New (NHL2004)
Shatterday - Vendetta Red (NHL2004)
Punk Rock 101 - Bowling For Soup (NHL2004)
Get What You Need - Jet (NHL2004)
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand (NHL2005)
From Out Of Nowhere - Faith No More (NHL2005)
Bundy - Animal Alpha (NHL06)
Bat Country - Avenged Sevenfold (NHL06)
Red Flag - Billy Talent (NHL06)
Flag Song - Rock'N'Roll Soldiers (NHL06)
Montreal Calling - Mobile (NHL07)
Talk To Her - Priestess (NHL 07)
A Whisper And A Clamor - Anberlin (NHL08)
Just Got To Be - The Black Keys (NHL08)
Raw - Scanners (NHL08)
Stand Up For Rock And Roll - Airbourne (NHL08)
The Wildfire - Mando Diao (NHL08)
The Running Free - Coheed and Cambria (NHL09)
Heroes Of Our Time - Dragonforce (NHL10)
Peace Sells - Megadeth (NHL10)
Rock You Like A Hurricane - The Scorpions (NHL10)
I'm Shipping Up To Boston - Dropkick Murphys (NHL11)
Howlin' For You - The Black Keys (NHL11)
Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones (NHL11)
Mony Mony - Billy Idol (NHL12)
You've Got Another Thing Comin' - Judas Priest (NHL12)
Zombie Nation - Kernkraft 400 (NHL13)
Bully - Shinedown (NHL13)
Days Go By - The Offspring (NHL13)
The Devil Takes Care Of His Own - Band of Skulls (NHL13)

Anyway, those are my favourites.  Some of those get me pumped about playing some hockey, some of them bring me back to my days of starting hockey, and some of them are just plain fun rock'n'roll. If you have any songs that you liked from the games, or have any suggestions what should be on there, leave me a comment! Thanks for reading.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Wouldn't It Be Cool If...

First of all, just wanna let you know that my Baltimore Blades concept has been featured and reviewed on, and it got a pretty solid review. If you'd like to check that out and view the other concepts of the day, check out Monday's article and have a looksie.


Okay, so a simple concept for today's post. With next season creeping closer and closer each day, here are 10 things that could happen next year that could make the year even more exciting. In no particular order:

1. Selanne leads the league in scoring.

It's not even confirmed that he is playing next year, but most signs point towards he will be. His numbers have been declining to more human-levels as of late. But his work ethic is matched by no one, and is a smart enough player that he could figure out a way to compete with the best. He has a good team in Anaheim this year, and I think that this is possible, a longshot, but possible. It would be cool to end his career with the same flair as the start of his career.

2.  A Maple Leaf leads the league in scoring.

So if Selanne can't win it, then this would be good too. Hear me out on this one, as most of you are probably scratching your heads. Presumably this would be narrowed down to Kessel or Kadri. Both would be able to stick it to somebody good if this was to happen. If Kessel won, then Toronto would have a huge monkey off their back from the backlash of the infamous Kessel trade, which now seems to be leaning in favour of TO anyway. If Kadri won, Brian Burke would look more like a schmuck than ever, and I'm in favour of anything that accomplishes that. Plus I really like Kadri as a player, so with all bias intended, I'd like to see him do well.

3. The Winter Classic sets the all-time hockey game attendance record.

This is almost a sure thing to happening. The 2014 Winter Classic has Detroit hosting Toronto in Ann Arbour. This is where the record currently stands for a game between NCAA's Michigan vs Michigan State. Over 100,000 people attended the game, and the official record will almost surely be topped when 2 of hockey's most popular teams hits the ice.

4.  Winnipeg makes the playoffs.

Poor Winnipeg, here I give Toronto and Anaheim such lofty goals, while I sit here merely hoping Winnipeg can be better than almost half of their division. But this is a hope for me because I can see playoff hockey in Winnipeg getting outright insane. The building is extremely loud to begin with, and the fans are really behind the team their. Honestly, they still have a pretty weak team. But if they make the playoffs, I'd be excited to see it.

5. Edmonton goes on a playoff run.

I want this strictly because I'm sick of Edmonton fans saying "this is our year" for the last decade. Seriously though, their window of opportunity is closing fast and they'll have major cap issues after this year, so I hope they can pull it together and make all those 1st Overall picks count for something.

6. Vintage Brodeur ends his career in style.

This is most likely Brodeur's last year, and I'd be surprised if he stays starter for the entire year. However, despite his age, there is still legendary skill to be had by the netminder, and it would be nice for him to end his career on a high-note. Another cup run, perhaps?

7.  Dominic Hasek comes out of retirement, again.

Sadly no chance for that happening, at least at the NHL level. But I'd be so excited to see the Dominator back on the ice. He's a colourful character, and easily my favourite goaltender of all time. He's talked about coming back every year for the last few years, but the lockout pretty much dashed those plans last year for good. Unlike most post-retirement comebacks, I think this would be worth it.

8.  Minnesota and Detroit play an exhibition game in Ottawa.

And as an added bonus, the team with the loudest boos for Heatley or Alfie get bonus goals. Okay... Now I'm just making stuff up.

9.  New Jersey gets a new jersey.

Since they're part of the Stadium Series games in New York, and New York has said new uniforms will be incorporated into the games, then this should be a sure thing. But I don't want them just to go red and green. Lets have something new. They're one of the only teams to stay the same and not have a 3rd jersey ever (besides their throwback green ones), along with teams like Detroit and Montreal. New Jersey isn't a historic franchise, so lets see something new. Devils is such a cool name to work with. Now, Im not saying I'm against their current logo. I love their look, and it's one of my favourites in the league. I just want to see something original from one of the league's blandest teams.

10. A team from Florida wins the Stanley Cup

Lol jk, I'd be pissed if I seen that. No, what I'd really love to see is an all-Canadian matchup for the Cup. The league would love this, the fans would love this, and I would really really love this. But problem: the western Canadian teams don't really look that good. Vancouver might be a good team, but I'm still iffy on Torts. I'd almost bet the farm on Calgary and Winnipeg not making the playoffs, let alone a cup run, and Edmonton might finally have their year, but I don't see them as a cup contender.

Meanwhile, I like the way Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa is shaping up, and I wouldn't be shocked if one of them made a cup run of their own this year.

Alright, so enough of my jibber jabber. What are you excited about maybe happening next year? Any thoughts on my ideas? Let me know! Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Ivan Hlinka, Tennis, Canadian Hockey, and Pokemon?

Okay so I forgot yesterdays post, and almost today's as well.  I've been fairly busy the last few days but I figured I should at least try to get a post in before nights end.  It's gonna be short and sweet, but a few different things to talk about today.


First to something that isn't exactly hockey related.  Well, it isn't at all.  But as a Canadian, I feel I should say it, this week I'm excited for tennis.

And no, not because of the commercials running on TV luring youth away from hockey and into tennis.  I, of course, don't agree with the commercial, but its a worthwhile tactic and honestly well timed and placed, considering that hockey is getting more expensive to play and getting more violent.  I'd never switch hockey for tennis, but I respect the commercial.

But no, the reason why I'm a tennis fan this week is the fact that at this year's Rogers Cup (aka the Canadian Open of Tennis), there were two Canadians in the semi-finals, and one who made it to the finals tomorrow against tennis star Rafael Nadal.  That is cool in so many ways.  Canadians don't often hold the spotlight in any sport besides hockey and women's soccer.  But its been a great year for Canadian tennis, climaxed by this tournament.  No Canadian has made it to the finals of this event in more than 50 years. Milos Raonic is one of tennis' biggest stars, and making the finals for him was a great result, but not totally unbelievable.  What is unbelievable, however, is the run by fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who completed a few huge upsets until he was defeated by Raonic in the semis.

And while I'm still not the biggest tennis fan out there, this is surely a huge day for Canadian sports and its fans in general.  And it can get even better tomorrow if Raonic can win the whole tournament at home against Nadal.


Now back to hockey.  First, I'll comment on the Ivan Hlinka tournament, which was the subject of my last article.  Since then, Canada was able to defeat Russia and then the strong American side to win the gold medal, and did so in very convincing fashion.  This is absolutely outstanding news for the future of Canadian hockey, who is facing the darkest time in their history right now.

Besides being reigning Olympic gold medalists, Canada has done very poorly in hockey in the last few years, with respect to what they usually can produce.  Their world championship performances have been awful.  Yes, many of their stars are playing in the playoffs at the time, but the sheer depth of Canada's team should easily be able to produce a gold-contending team every year.  The world junior teams haven't fared much better, failing to win gold since 2009 and winning a medal at all last year.  Yes, our expectations are extremely steep compared to most countries, but we have the players and resources to justify most of the expectations, and the results haven't been there.

Canada has seemed to get in the habit of sitting on a comfortable lead, and folding late; or not showing up for 60 minutes in a game, and coming up short after a last-ditch effort at the end.  Big leads are always a problem for Canada and the teams' attitudes.  But these kids at the Ivan Hlinka tournament not only dominated the tournament, but did so without putting the foot off the pedal, or looking any less calm than the first minute of the first game.  I think it was an outstanding effort by this team, and coach Dale Hunter deserves huge recognition for keeping the team in focus, while gelling together extremely good team.  If Sutter wasn't on board with the World Jr team already (who himself is really good at keeping teams calm and focussed himself, and his World Jr record shows it), than I'd say Dale Hunter would make an excellent coach for Team Canada again.  Heck, he could coach in the NHL again no problem, but he doesn't want to.

So once again, congrats to Canada's U18 team for winning the tournament, and looking so composed while doing so.  I'm sure we'll see some of those names in the NHL very soon.


Thats most of what I wanted to talk about today, but there is one more thing I want to bring up.  Today while surfing the web I found an article that featured NHL logos redrawn with Pokemon in them.  Pokemon and hockey are almost the last things I would ever put together, but this is actually extremely cool!  The logos are well done, and for the most part keep the nature of the logo intact, while clearly showing off Pokemon artwork.  I'd even go as far to say that some of these would make better logos than ones currently on NHL teams.

Here is the article featuring all of the artwork, including Detroit's, Dallas', Carolina's, Calgary's, Anaheim's, Nashville's, and other logos redrawn as popular Pokemon characters.  It even includes the BrockHawks, no joke.

Just for kicks, here are my two favourites: (Of course, no artwork credit belongs to me, I'm just a fan).

These are my 3 favourites, but there are plenty more.  The Pikachu/Lighting logo is cool, but too gimicky and obvious to use as a serious logo.  However, the Ursaring/Bruins logo is very well done and could pass as a proper logo, looking much fiercer than the other bear featured on this logo.  My favourite has to be the Pidgeotto/Red Wings logo. It works so well, and I'd proudly wear any jersey with that logo on it.  Plus with that logo, Detroit could definitely rebrand as the falcons, and I dont think anyone would complain with that look.  Overall, really cool concepts.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Lets Take This Outside

Hey everyone, a few quick little notes before I get to my rant today, one of them leads on to my subject.

But first, my NHL All-Star Game concept got reviewed on HJC today, and got a fairly good review.  If you want to see that concept and the other reviews for today, go to:


Second, I made a new concept that I'm really excited to complete.  I've hit a bit of a creative snag during the last week or so and really haven't been able to complete anything.  But last night I had a huge brainwave of an idea and started it, finishing the concept this morning.

As you can see, its a concept for the 2015 Winter Classic in Nashville, against the St. Louis Blues.  I gave Nashville a totally new look and logo, and gave them a retro looking jersey to go with it.  I went with the Blues' current colours, but gave them a throwback logo and then some arm-striping to really set this jersey apart from their others.  Aside from those 90's jerseys with the diagonal lines, they really haven't had that unique of a jersey.  Not saying this is over the top, but a fresh change, I think, while giving them an older look.  I also created the Winter Classic logo (of course borrowing the already-made NHL, WC word mark and LP Field logo), which I think stands out and shows the flair of Nashville.

Anyways, let me know what you guys think about the jerseys.


So that leaves me with my topic for today, the NHL Winter Classic.

I love the idea, and these games get me excited every year.  I haven't had a chance to go to one yet, but thats probably one of my dream destinations that I can hopefully fulfil in the near future.

Next year, of course, the NHL is trying to "make-even" with the fans by introducing 6 outdoor games into the schedule, instead of the 1 or 2 during a regular year.  Many fans are saying that this waters down the thrill of the event, and I agree somewhat.  But the NHL is banking on this making "a new billion dollars in league revenue", and I think it's possible.  People love these games.  The games feature teams that are already good TV draws anyway, so the revenue just from TV will be increased and make more than regular profit.  As for those attending the games, its not like a game like this happens often in your hometown.  So far, all of the games have been hosted by hockey-mad cities, and generate huge ticket sales, as well as cool merch to go with it.

Case in point, I have my Heritage Classic Flames jersey hanging behind me as I type, and its my favourite jersey in my collection.

So I'm pretty sure its safe to say that the NHL is doing the right thing by milking the outdoor games for what they're worth, at least for this year.  I'd like multiple games during the year, but no more than 3.  After this year, if they had a "Winter Classic", a "Stadium Series", and a "Heritage Classic", that would be great, no more, and no less.

But what about after this year? Where should these games be played?

Well, assuming the NHL keeps its current formula of letting smaller-market cities host the All-Star Game (as it usually does), then they probably shouldn't host outdoor games as well.  That seems fair, most of these cities are not the best climates for outdoor games, but are better suited for the star-studded All-Star red carpets and pizazz that goes with it.  Other than for special occasions, the All-Star games should be in places like Florida, California, Dallas, Carolina, Nashville, etc. Of course, other cities will get the chance, but places like this should get first dibs.

But back to the event at hand, the Winter Classic.  There is still many other places that should host an event like this, yet the NHL seems to be milking a lot of the same teams over and over.  Here is a list of the outdoor games the NHL has played/announced since the Heritage Classic began, as per Wikipedia:

November 22, 2003Heritage ClassicCanada Commonwealth StadiumEdmontonAlbertaMontreal CanadiensEdmonton Oilers4–357,167
January 1, 2008NHL Winter ClassicUnited States Ralph Wilson StadiumOrchard ParkNew YorkPittsburgh PenguinsBuffalo Sabres2–1 (SO)71,217
January 1, 2009NHL Winter ClassicUnited States Wrigley FieldChicagoIllinoisDetroit Red WingsChicago Blackhawks6–440,818
January 1, 2010NHL Winter ClassicUnited States Fenway ParkBostonMassachusettsPhiladelphia FlyersBoston Bruins1–2 (OT)38,112
January 1, 2011NHL Winter ClassicUnited States Heinz FieldPittsburghPennsylvaniaWashington CapitalsPittsburgh Penguins3–168,111
February 20, 2011Heritage ClassicCanada McMahon StadiumCalgaryAlbertaMontreal CanadiensCalgary Flames0–441,022
January 2, 2012NHL Winter ClassicUnited States Citizens Bank ParkPhiladelphiaPennsylvaniaNew York RangersPhiladelphia Flyers3–246,967
January 1, 2014NHL Winter ClassicUnited States Michigan StadiumAnn ArborMichiganToronto Maple LeafsDetroit Red WingsN/AN/A
January 25, 2014[15]Stadium SeriesUnited States Dodger StadiumLos AngelesCaliforniaAnaheim DucksLos Angeles KingsN/AN/A
January 26, 2014[16]Stadium SeriesUnited States Yankee StadiumNew York CityNew YorkNew York RangersNew Jersey DevilsN/AN/A
January 29, 2014[17]Stadium SeriesUnited States Yankee StadiumNew York CityNew YorkNew York RangersNew York IslandersN/AN/A
March 1, 2014[18]Stadium SeriesUnited States Soldier FieldChicagoIllinoisPittsburgh PenguinsChicago BlackhawksN/AN/A
March 2, 2014[19]Heritage ClassicCanada BC PlaceVancouverBCOttawa SenatorsVancouver CanucksN/AN/A
No team has hosted twice prior to next season, which is how it should be.  Strangely, out of the big-market American cities to host so far, New York hasn't as of yet.  This changes next year, as they get 2 games, which to me seems fair.  Chicago also gets to host another game next year, which is alright considering the team's attendance is 2nd only to Montreal on a yearly basis.

Detroit gets to host for the first time next year, playing in their second outdoor game against outdoor-rookies Toronto.  This is great because Toronto finally gets involved in an outdoor game, and it will likely break the world record of highest-attendance at a hockey game (which Michigan Stadium currently holds already with its game between NCAA rivals Michigan vs Michigan St.)

Ottawa and Vancouver get their first taste of outdoor* hockey (the game could be closed-roof possibly), and I'm glad another Canadian city gets to host it.  But it seems strange, since the NHL is determined in having more events in the eastern part of the country for TV reasons, that all 3 western Canadian teams have hosted a game before Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and to a lesser extent Winnipeg.

And lastly, I'm glad L.A. gets a shot at hosting an outdoor game.  It could go bad, and its a risky move, but its a huge novelty game in a huge market, and could turn huge revenue for the league, as well as bringing in some new fans from California, and turning out some cool throwback jerseys for both teams.

So who should get a game soon after next year?  Well immediately I'd rule out Pittsburgh (played 3 games), Chicago (hosted 2), and Detroit (hosted 1, played 2).  

Toronto and Montreal should host a Heritage Classic soon in the near future. Toronto maybe not right away, since they're included next season in Detroit.  But Montreal should play host in one of these games, as it is the oldest and most historic franchise in the NHL.  Toronto or Boston seem like very good opponents.

Edmonton hosted the original Heritage Classic, but that was 10 years ago.  I don't think anyone would cry foul if they got to host the game again.  Calgary makes sense as an opponent, but if Winnipeg could get the rights to their WHA-style jerseys, then I'd like to see that game more, as a WHA re-match.

Winnipeg is a bit of a smaller market, but it still could put out a great game there.  If they could get their WHA jerseys as mentioned above, Edmonton would be a cool opponent.  If not, then playing Calgary or Minnesota would be cool too.  It would also be interesting if they hosted Phoenix, but fans might not like that.

Colorado and Minnesota are both western teams that really deserve an outdoor game.  They could either play each other, or some division rivals. Colorado could play L.A., St. Louis, Vancouver, or Detroit (I love that idea).  Minnesota could play Winnipeg, St. Louis, or Dallas in a North Stars throwback game.

Nashville and Carolina are two teams that probably shouldn't host the Winter Classic (despite my concept above), but are teams that should be involved.  Fan support for these teams was slow from the start, but are becoming big hockey markets for the league, and being part of a game like this could go a long way for growing the fanbases there. 

Columbus and New Jersey could probably host the games, and probably should.  Columbus isn't doing great for fan support, and New Jersey's financial troubles are well-documented.  Hosting a game here would be feasible, and would help both franchises from financial trouble.  Ohio Stadium in Columbus is gigantic and could draw a huge crowd there, with MetLife Stadium in New Jersey being just a little smaller.

There are just a few suggestions I have for the Winter Classic and other outdoor games.  If you have any ideas for games, or comments on my own suggestions, please send me a comment and let me know.  Thanks for reading.