Pic via @BNewbs16

Pic via @BNewbs16

I’ve beaten the fact that I played a minimal amount of pro level hockey games to a merciless pulp as a writer over the years, but hey, as Too Short said, get in where you fit in. That said…I’m playing the card today.

The media – and by “the media,” I’m very much am referring to many of my friends in the media – need to quit bitching about being told to keep their dirty shoe soles off “our” (in the general sense) team logo, because it’s something “we’ve” chosen to respect and revere and it’s not that hard (or at least shouldn’t be) for someone with a recording device to shuffle two steps left to get to their interview.

Yesterday Justin Bieber got his picture taken with the Stanley Cup in the Chicago Blackhawks dressing room. He hugged it, they hung “his” jersey in Jonathan Toews stall, and he stepped on the logo as you can see above (and not just stepped on it – he ground his LA Lights or Heelys or whatever a swag teen bro like Bieber wears these days, right into the unblemished feathers of the Indian).

Pic via @PJHassen

Pic via @PJHassen

Today, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy took up the often-seen-and-heard torch for media members that boy-oh-boy, is it silly that nobody be allowed to step on the logo. Our media buddies like to rally around this cause, and the echo chamber of Twitter makes it feel like a thing everyone agrees on: yeah, the whole “don’t step on the logo” thing is preposterous.

This is obviously not a unique opinion amongst people who enter dressing rooms looking for quotes, especially those who have likely been told at one time or another to please not step on the logo.

Let’s go for a walk:

I’m a fairly smart cookie. I’m not under the impression that jinxes are real or anything, but I’ve never touched the Stanley Cup because it’s part of the whole mystique of It. It devalues the sacred chalice if peasants like me and Bieber (not that we’re in the same class) are smearing our fingerprints on it. The idea that that’s for the likes of Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky and Guy LaFleur is part of what makes it so romantic. I’m aware that Andrew Shaw and Brad Marchand and Matt Cooke have their name on it, I’m aware that an equipment manager or 12 has slept with it, and I’m aware that Clark Gillies fed his German Shepherd “Hombre” out of it. But that’s okay, because they won it, and like unlocking another level of a video game or whatever, they’ve earned the right.

There’s a reason commercials like “No Words” and “History Will Be Made” and the like resonate so deeply with hockey fans – we’re a nostalgic group that likes to pay tribute to the past…and part of that past is in the team logo.

I don’t care if it’s the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs logo or not, whether there’s real history or just the ambition to create some, the concept of “team” is as strong or stronger in hockey than any other sport, and that “team” concept, for many of us, is wrapped up in the logo we wear on our chests.

As hockey players, we’re told our whole life: you play for the logo on the front, not the name on the back. Maybe not everyone buys in all the time, but a whole lot of people do, and over the years, a whole lot of people have bought into that Blackhawks logo. What’s on the front of your jersey becomes revered, despite the fact that it’s placed where opponents can get to it. Much like the one on the floor of the dressing room, you’d prefer that they don’t.

Big hockey is a business at this point, and nobody will debate that. Lockouts have confirmed it. So when Wyshysnki says “You can argue the sacred reverence of the logo when they stop putting it on dog bowls,” it’s kind of an eye-roller, like that somehow devalues the concept for the actual players who are choosing to buy into the idea of themselves. Let the marketing team do what they want to make money, we’ll be in here giving a damn, sacrificing teeth trying to win a Cup.

I realize, in practical, logical terms that it doesn’t make sense. I’m here, I’m with you, I can process that. It’s carpet space, there’s only so much room in this place, and it’s annoying to have to avoid when it gets busy in here. But that’s what we do as people – we assign elevated worth to arbitrary things, like Star Wars figurines or autographs or whatever, and in general, we’d prefer that people leave alone the “arbitrary” things that mean most to us.

It doesn’t have to mean sh*t to the media who come into the room to do their job, the point is, if the team has decided that that logo means something to them (and not all make that call), then it really shouldn’t be too much to ask some outsiders to take an extra two steps in their discount Rockports.