Strap in folks, it’s about to be on like Donkey Kong!
Last week I introduced you to my playoff system. This week is the playoffs.
Sixteen teams, including four wildcards, are about to become eight.
Detroit Red Wings V Montreal Canadiens
Hilarity of player names:
How in the hell do I say this name? Artturi Lehkonen.
The Habs have a couple of players with last names that are scary-looking like: Desharnais, Galchenyuk, Lehkonen and Plekanec. Even though I can say Max Pacioretty, his last name still stumbles out.
Funniest? I’d have to give to Sven Andrighetto. And-ri-ghetto?
The Red Wings have a couple of scary looking last names, too (not nearly as many as the Habs): Abdelkader (it comes out as Alexander almost. How far off the mark am I?) and Athanasiou.
Funniest? Gustav Nyquist. Just because Gustav makes me chuckle.
Carey Price is the Habs’ X Factor. Hands down.
I don’t have an X Factor for the Red Wings. Because nothing has really grabbed my attention about the team, aside from their winning history.
While the Habs’ logo is one of the oldest and most recognisable (the ‘C’ and ‘H’ was first used together in the 1917-18 season), it’s kind of boring.
It’s no red and white puck / wing combo like the Red Wings. Though, it does look a winged wheel.
History is where it gets exciting with these teams.
The Habs blow even the NHL out of the water with history. The Montreal Canadiens were founded in 1909. They are the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team worldwide, and the only existing club to predate the founding of the NHL.
The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup more times than any other franchise. They have won 24 championships, 22 of them since 1927, when NHL teams became the only ones to compete for the Stanley Cup.
The Red Wings have had three names since founding in 1926. They were first known as the Detroit Cougars, then the Falcons (1930-1932) and then Red Wings. As of 2016, the Red Wings have won the most Stanley Cup championships (11) of any NHL franchise based in the US, and are third overall in total NHL championships, behind the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs (13).
I love that the Habs post their social media in both French Canadian and English. It’s inclusive of everyone – their home and international fans. Aside from that, the Habs social media prowess is rather dry and straightforward. They get their point across, and continue the feel of sleek professionalism the team radiates, but there isn’t a lot of personality. It’s not awful, but there’s room for improvement.
The Red Wings on the other hand, they’re fun. They post content that makes fans want to interact with them. And their red is a nice shade.
The Habs’ mascot is Youppi! If you recall, in my mascot blog post I said I wasn’t real sure on Youppi! Props to the Habs for going a little out of the box with their mascot – he’s big, orange, he’s not another animal (I don’t think he’s anything really) and he wears an ! on his jersey rather than a number. But he’s strange.
Al the Octopus is the mascot for the Red Wings and I just do not support this at all. He’s a purple octopus. For a team that was called the Cougars and Falcons, which I think are much better mascot options, why do you pick an octopus?
Well, I researched it. It started in 1952. Rather than harp on about it, read it here.
Both teams have a winning culture. Just look at how many Cups they have won. But it’s not just about the Cups. Winning teams have this certain thing about them. They’re professional, sleek, triumphant (in that they suffer through adversity or losing streaks with quiet calm). They just have that… thing.
Tampa Bay Lightning V Columbus Blue Jackets
Hilarity of player names:
The Bolts have more names that I can pronounce rather than not. However these are difficult for me to say: Valtteri Filppula, Ondrej Palat, Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Funniest? Vladislav Namestnikov. Because whenever I see Vladislav I think of the song “What is Love” by Haddaway.
The Blue Jackets roster is amazing. I can (sort of) pretty much say all their names! Funniest? Sergei Bobrovsky.
I like when a team has really good theming throughout their name, logo and design. Tampa Bay Lightning have it made. A lightning bolt with a circle around it for their logo; called the Bolts for short. Just strong through and through.
BJ’s: A star with a US flag whooshing around it. It works, sure. But for some reason it reminds me of the Caps’ logo. Anyone else?
The Bolts have one Cup behind them (2003) since playing their first game in 1992. The Bolts joined the NHL expansion at the same time as the Ottawa Senators. They killed it the first few weeks of the season, but buckled during the road trips and quickly formed rivalries. Despite some up and downs in the first few years, the Bolts were further ahead in status then the Sens.
The BJs are still a relatively new team. They joined the NHL in 2000. No Cups as of yet. The early years weren’t great for the BJ’s. They made their first playoff in 2009, but were swept in the first round by the Red Wings. They went to the second round in 2014.
The most interesting thing about the BJ’s, in my humble opinion, is the story with their uniforms. I poked fun at them at the start of this blog series, but the background is interesting. In short, the name “Blue Jackets” was chosen to celebrate “patriotism, pride, and the rich Civil War history in the state of Ohio and city of Columbus”.
Bolts: fun, engaging, informative. They do aiight.
BJ’s: Straightforward, informative. Kind of boring.
I hate the current Blue Jackets mascot – a 6-foot bright green bug. Because that’s totally on theme with the team. Not. They need to bring back their 2010-2011 mascot, Boomer (a big walking canon). But he was deemed “too phallic” for fans.
Thunderbug the lightning bug is the Bolts’ mascot. In my week 8 blog post on NHL mascots I deemed the bug boring. But I was taken by the story that the performer in ThunderBug was canned after spraying a Bruins fan with silly string in 2012.
So, who are the winners?
In this round the Habs and BJs take it.
They’ll face off in the next round.
Check back tomorrow for the battle between brackets 3 and 4!