Earlier in the month of Movember, Backhand Shelf began to re-purpose Scott Lewis‘ collection of Hockey’s Best Mustaches, for obvious reasons. These men deserve some recognition for their excellent cookie dusters. Here’s Part One of the list, with Part Two below. There’s still another one to come!
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the least intimidating team in hockey for a number of reasons.
In the beginning, when the hockey gods created hockey, all teams had very boring names. Like, for example, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. Or the McGill Hockey Team. This is because old-time Canadian hockey had the most rigid, rigorous, passionate commitment to boringness you ever saw in a sporting culture. Remember, this is the sporting culture that took about eighty years to get comfortable with the idea of raising your arms after a scoring a goal. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that there was never a team called the Toronto Group of Hockey Players.
Anyway, after about twenty years of calling hockey teams by the literal name of the organization, people started getting marginally more creative and calling teams after the rink they played in, giving us charming names like the Victorias and the Crystals. This, in turn, gave rise to a brief fad for symbols of ethnic origin (the Shamrocks), local industry (the Creamery Kings), and ridiculous wealth (the Millionaires). But then it wasn’t until the expansion of the 1920s that hockey discovered intimidation, and team names were never the same after. The new American teams didn’t have silly names like “Senators” and “Maroons”. No. They were Bruins and Pirates and… okay, well, Quakers might have been a mistake. But the point stands: for nearly a hundred years now, teams have tried to come up with names that have been in some way frightening, imposing, or intimidating. Some have succeeded better than others. And so, I give you, the teams of the National Hockey League, ranked according to scariness of name:
It’s November, which means it’s the time of year where dudes grow mustaches and raise money for charity. If you’ll recall, the charity thing wasn’t always a part of the deal, which just goes to show: some men really like growing mustaches.
With it being “Movember,” we thought we’d re-purpose some excellent Scott Lewis posts of yore: a three-part series that features the best ‘staches in hockey history.
So with out further ado, in no particular order, here’s your initial set. Let us know your faves (and recommended additions) in the comments. Plenty more to come. Read the rest of this entry »
Ahhh, that’s both terrific and loosely related to today’s topic, being that what Gary Bettman has the power to do to the NHL is terrifying in and of itself.
Last season we used Halloween to look at hockey’s scariest hitters. This year we’re going to go a little more big picture, and look at the scariest people from all the different parts of the hockey world. Below is the Backhand Shelf list of hockey’s scariest players, from goal-scorers to fighters, goaltenders and beyond.
Player to face on a breakaway: Marian Gaborik
Yes, Claude Giroux has a whole pillowcase full of tricks-not-treats for tenders, and Pavel Datsyuk always has something disgusting (Good ‘n’ Plenty’s? Okay, enough Halloween metaphors) to offer, but Marian Gaborik is stone-cold business. He’s an assassin. He may present the constant threat of utter embarrassment that Datsyuk does, but it’s only because he’s a cyborg built to have breakaways end in red lights with no nonsense. Jets on, head up, pucks in. Read the rest of this entry »
In the interests of fairness, this is also completely absurd.
When the NHL officially announced that they were locking out the players, they crafted a message directed towards the fans that attempted to frame the lockout in as positive a light as possible. They didn’t quite succeed. From the silliness of claiming they were “negotiating around the clock” to the flat-out deceitfulness of suggesting that the previous CBA was “developed jointly with the NHL Players’ Association,” the message didn’t exactly resonate.
My favourite part was the irony of suggesting that the necessary adjustments to the CBA “are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric.” In case you’re not seeing the irony, the entire “message to the fans” is rhetoric from the NHL.
Most of the teams around the NHL simply put up the boilerplate NHL statement on their respective websites, alongside stories about their prospects and alumni, since they can’t do anything with their current players. A few teams simply avoided any mention of the lockout whatsoever on their websites, but 9 teams put together their own team-specific messages to their fans.
They’re all fairly similar: each team claims they have the most loyal fans in the league and each team appears to be far more optimistic and hopeful than those loyal fans. But since this is an absurd situation, there are also plenty of moments of absurdity in every single message to the fans. Here are the 10 most absurd sentences:
ESPN does a yearly feature over in their neck of the woods called “Uni Watch” wherein they rank the quality of uniforms across the four major North American sports. Conveniently, they’ve broken down the rankings into league sections as well so we can see where the World Leader in Tebow scores the NHL’s threads.
You won’t find this commercial on this list, because Kolzig is awesome.
Big-name athletes, like actors, are celebrities. As celebrities, they’re often asked to appear in commercials, either to endorse products or promote their team and their league. Unlike actors, however, the vast majority of them cannot act. At all. This is particularly true of NHL players, most of whom have their personalities surgically removed in Junior and are confused by any dialogue that isn’t “It’s good to get the two points” and “We have to play a full 60 minutes.”
Some directors, however, haven’t figured this out and actually ask NHL players to recite dialogue and emote. This is usually a mistake and NHL players have given some of the worst acting performances in the history of commercials. Here are 10 of them. Anybody expecting Adam Oates’s infamous “Loose Rebounds” commercial, look elsewhere: that’s some great acting with some terrible material.