- Anaheim Ducks: Before they were the Ducks of Anaheim, a little company called Disney owned an NHL team known as the Mighty Ducks. While the team has desperately tried to change their image from the “Mighty” days, the problem is they never found a better logo then their previous incarnation. The webbed duck foot is a decent shoulder logo, but not a stand alone on the chest. The team has really hit it off with their current third uniform which brings back the double hockey stick duck goalie mask logo with a great color combination. The orange, gold, and black could make for three great uniforms, but one thing they should all have in common is the old Mighty Ducks logo with the new color pallet. The logo is too good to waste, and is the team’s best option unless they can come up with a better design.
- Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins don’t have a logo problem, it’s a color problem. Their alternate jerseys are beautiful and should become the full-time uniform combo for a few reasons. One, it’s more vibrant and eye catching. Two, it pays tribute to the great Penguins’ teams of the early 90’s. Third, and most importantly it ties time with the rest of the city’s black and yellow color pallet. There’s nothing wrong with their current gold, it just doesn’t match the Steelers and Pirates. It’s time for all the Pittsburgh teams to be on the same page.
- Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes have always had a very generic look with a less then inspiring logo. I’m sorry but if your logo reminds people of swirling toilet water, you have room for improvement. The team should completely change their image and go with the alternate uniform logo and design. The design is different then other teams, but most importantly the alternate logo is a vast improvement. The hurricane storm flag whipping in the wind on a hockey stick is a perfect logo for the team’s namesake, while the background triangle representing the state’s research triangle, is a subtle touch that pays homage to their Carolinas.
- Phoenix Coyotes: The Coyotes have always had an image problem, especially over the past few seasons. Since the team changed their brand, there has been a lot of confusion with uniforms featuring red, tan, and black with a generic looking howling coyote logo. This season the team brought back their 90’s throwbacks, which is a look they should go back to. The red, green, tan, and purple color pallet gave them a definitive look that none in the league could match, and the original coyote logo not only payed tribute to the native american tribes in the state, but was truly one of the most unique logos in NHL history. It’s time for the Coyotes to turn back the clock.
- Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche hit a home run with their new third uniform logo and design. The simpler design, and look perfectly sums up the team namesake and the city of Denver. While their current “A” logo is good, the main concern with the Avalanche brand is the uniforms. The current home and away set have so much going one with all the piping, design, colors, and odd number fonts. The current alternates a crisp, simple, and feature a great new logo. This is a look that the team should consider making a full-time change.
The Camundrum: Should Talbot Start Over the King?
When Henrik Lundqvist went down earlier this year with a neck injury many Ranger fans felt that the injury would derail the team’s season. While Lundqvist is expected to return next week to the lineup, it may not be an easy return for the King.
Many expected that New York’s season would take a dive after losing their star player. Instead they have thrived behind their young goaltender Cam Talbot who has made it very interesting for the Rangers moving forward.
Talbot has been spectacular in the goal helping propel the Rangers into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 17-6-4 record, 2.19 GAA, and .926 save percentage. Currently, Talbot’s statistics, including winning percentage are higher than Lundqvist’s totals this season.
There is no question that Lundqvist is still one of if not the best goaltenders in the NHL. However, after suffering a severe injury like the one Lundqvist is a hard one to overcome quickly. When he is on, there is no question that Lundqvist is the team’s starter. Still, he needs to prove that he is 100% healthy before New York relies on him to carry the team throughout the playoffs.
However, if Lundqvist struggles in his return before the playoffs it might be better for this team to do the unthinkable, bench the King. In the NHL Playoffs it’s the team with the better goaltender or hotter goaltender at the time that makes a run. Given how well Talbot has played this season and if Lundqvist is not at 100%, it makes sense to start the player who gives the team the best chance to win.
Even though the Rangers will probably start Lundqvist no matter how he plays in his return, the organization should keep a short leash on him in the playoffs. If he does not play well in a series, the Rangers should not be afraid to pull their star goaltender and play the hot hand.
The Rangers have the potential to not only make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals, but to win their first championship since 1994. However, they will need strong goaltending to get there and will need to figure out who gives them the best chance to win. The King or Cam Talbot?
If They Build it, Will Whalers Come? New Plans in Hartford Could Provide Facility for NHL Return
After breaking ground on a minor league baseball stadium earlier this week, the city of Hartford was investigating the long-term feasibility of it’s current arena. Despite the $ 35 Million renovations this past summer, the study was adamant stating this was only a temporary fix and would at most keep the arena serviceable for another five years. The Hartford Courant has revealed that the Capital Region Development Authority has proposed two long-term fans to not only prolong UConn’s use of the facility, but to possibly open the door for an NHL franchise down the road.
The CRDA has proposed two different options with both involving the current XL Center site. While there were plans to possibly move the arena, the best location was determined to be the location of the new ballpark which is now out of the question. The authority stresses the need for an overhaul of the current facilities stating the following:
CRDA: It is generally recognized that the XL Center’s functionality and ability to generate revenue are severely limited by its age, obsolete design, mechanical systems, limited size of the current building footprint, narrow concourses, limited fan amenities, shortage of restrooms and ADA deficiencies.
Option 1: New Arena
The first option would be to build a new arena on the existing site of the current XL Center. This option proposes that the current arena be completely torn down and built from scratch. This arena would have state of the art amenities and would allow for more efficient loading and off-loading of supplies at the arena. It is estimated to tear down and rebuild the arena would take 36 months. While this arena would be brand new and offer superior sight lines including over a thousand additional seats in the lower bowl, this would mean that the site could not host an event for three years and is the more costly option of the two.
Option 2: Renovate Current Arena
This would be the less costly of the options costing $250 Million. The benefits to this plan are that the arena could still be opened during the renovations as the upgrades would be done in phases, like how Madison Square Garden was renovated. This option (as seen rendered above), would still give the state a stop of the line facility and is assured by the committee to have the same draw as a brand new arena for an NHL team. However the drawbacks to this option are an extra $ 15 Million dollars to make this arena option “NHL ready” and not offer the superior same sight lines of a new arena.
Both plans are similar in that they both would get seating capacity of the arena down to 16,000 for hockey and 17,000 for basketball. The role of UConn will also be of the utmost importance because for the success of the arena it is recommended that UConn needs to become a partner at the facility rather than a part-time tenant.
While there is no question that the XL Center needs an overhaul, or to be replaced the big question that hockey fans want to know is will these actions bring the NHL back to Hartford?While there is no easy way to answer that question the best thing to say about these plans for the arena and the NHL is this. It’s a start.
A new arena will be much more attractive for an NHL franchise, but the CRDA has said that the renovation option will offer a state of the art venue for a team. Even with the agency’s study proving that the market could support an NHL based on numerous factors, the agency also pointed out that a new or renovated arena won’t guarantee a Whalers return.
As a hockey fan nothing would make me happier to see my team, the Hartford Whalers return. This arena isn’t just about getting the NHL back, but ensuring long-term economic growth in the state.
A new XL Center would allow Connecticut to host more important sporting events, concerts, and shows while giving the University of Connecticut the home they deserve. This is what the state needs to do. Invest the long-term success of the UConn athletic programs and provide the region a state of the art facility. Hartford could host such events as NCAA Regionals while being considered a sight for prestigious events such as the Frozen Four. While this process remains in its infancy the fact that the state realizes the abysmal state of the XL Center is a step in the right direction. It knows the arena is a concrete catastrophe at the moment and needs to be addressed before it’s too late.
If Hartford follows up and goes through with either of these plans then the state of Connecticut’s athletics and entertainment will be heading in the right direction. Then… maybe then, the NHL may give Hartford the call they have waited for since 1997. Hockey fans can only dream that one day in Hartford the sounds of the brass bonanza will echo through downtown as fans scream in jovial delight, “The Whalers have returned”!
To see the full plans for both options at the XL Center click here
Turning Over A New “Maple” Leaf?
After a standing ovation at the Prudential Center just a few short months ago it looked like Martin Brodeur was ready to head off into the sunset after a Hall of Fame career. However, it seems the greatest goaltender in hockey history must be getting retirement advice from Brett Favre and has decided to keep playing rather than retire.
With the New Jersey Devils already stating that they will no longer take Brodeur back, the 42-year-old net minder maybe heading north of the border. Despite his diminishing skills, Brodeur has already stated that he will take a backup role next season.
With the Devils moving on from there best player in their franchise history, Brodeur has been drawing interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs who are reportedly working on a deal. The Leafs have already been looking to deal goaltender James Reimer which makes the speculation about Brodeur even more realistic.
The Leafs have a good young goaltender in Jonathan Bernier coming off of hip flexor surgery. The plan will probably have Brodeur mentor the young net minder this season while also making spot starts. The interesting past could be the playoffs. If the Leafs do make the playoffs, will Brodeur be the starter having been rested the whole season? Or is he a great insurance policy in case Bernier struggles?
Either way, it will be interesting to see if and where Brodeur lands with an NHL team for the 2014-2015 season. For all the latest on the NHL follow us here at Rich Sports Talk for the best NHL coverage.
The King and the ring
Henrik Lundqvist has established himself as the king of the crease on the grandest stage, the world’s most famous arena. Throughout his career for the blue shirts Lundqvist has conquered every mountain there is to for an NHL goaltender. Most career wins and shutouts for the franchise? check. Being the team’s icon? check. Vezina trophy winner? check. There is only one hurdle left for Lundqvist to overcome, a Stanley Cup Championship. If Lundqvist wants to make a case for the hall of fame and cement his legacy as the greatest net minder in Rangers history, he needs to win a championship. There is no question that Lundqvist is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, but to solidify his legacy he needs at least one Stanley Cup.
Just look at other great goaltenders in recent memory. Martin Brodeur has three rings, and even Jonathan Quick has one. Even Hall of Famers Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek have a championship on their resume. In some Rangers fans eyes, Lundqvist cannot be considered the best goaltender in franchise history because even Mike Richter, despite his records being broken by Lundqvist this year, was the backstop to the 1994 championship team. Just ask Lebron, when your nickname is The King, you need to back it up. If he wants to remain the king of the big apple, Lundqvist needs to bring home a ring to The Garden.
Curtains? Brodeur’s last game?
In 1990 the New Jersey Devils drafted a goaltender with the 20th pick in the draft. At the time none could have guessed in their wildest dreams the franchise player they had selected. 688 wins later, that goaltender could finally be ready to hang up his pads for the final time. When talking about the greatest net minders that have stood between the pipes in the NHl the conversation must start with number 30. After 3 Stanley Cup Championships and an unprecedented 20 NHL records, Brodeur is a first ballot Hall of Famer. When people ask who the greatest goaltender in NHL history was, it’s hard to argue that Brodeur isn’t the greatest of all time. No matter what he accomplished on the ice in terms of statistics or records, the impact Marty had on the Devils is immeasurable. The Prudential Center should be nicknamed the house that Brodeur Built. Throughout the ups and downs, occasionally relocation threats, and roster changes, the one constant has been Brodeur. He has been the icon of Jersey’s team for almost two decades and has brought the Devils from a relocated franchise, to a perennial NHL power. While we can easily measure Brodeur’s career from his incredible statistics, his influence goes beyond the numbers. He has put the New Jersey Devils on the map and given the Garden State a team that they can be proud of. If this was indeed the last game for the NHL’s greatest goaltender, the Jersey faithful gave him the send off that he rightfully deserved. Marty could come back for one more go, but at this point it might be time for him to hang it up. Either way, when he finals decides to call it a career, the Devils will sadly lose their greatest icon. The next question won’t be if but when he will get the call from the hall and when the Devils will inevitably hang #30 in the rafters of the arena he helped build.