Five NHL Teams Who Should Update Their Look

  • Anaheim Ducks:ThirdJerseySchedule 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:  marc-andre-fleury-nhl-ice-hockey-penguins_3260479The 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: 2008-sep-12-004The 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: dm_150306_nhl_canucks_coyotes.jpg 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: colorado-avalanche-112315-getty-ftrjpg_knx75yuvebmc14vxz7kufug4zThe 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.
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Stormy Relationship: NY Islanders Reportedly Want out of Brooklyn

St Louis Blues v New York Islanders

It wasn’t if, but when the New York Islanders realized their crucial mistake of moving to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Not even one full season in Brooklyn, it has been reported that both the Islanders and the Barclays Center are looking for a way out of the team’s 25 year lease with the building. To say that the move to Brooklyn has been to a disaster is a huge understatement.

The Islanders were enticed by the vixen that was the Barclays Center. A sparkling arena in Brooklyn that would make the decaying Nassau Coliseum a bad memory when older Islander fans would tell younger generations that the team used to play in a dump. Unfortunately, New York fell for the perfect partner before the first date. Had the team and Barclays Center actually really looked into their future relationship, their status wouldn’t currently read: it’s complicated.

It looked good on paper. A sparkling new arena not too far from Nassau Coliseum that had

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The Layout of the Barclay’s Center has created obstructed views, bad sight lines, and the smallest capacity in the NHL 

been established a new new center for entertainment in New York City. Then, the truth comes out. The arena has the worst sight lines in hockey with numerous obstructed views, and the smallest seating capacity in the NHL. The real kicker is that the Barclays Center limits the Islanders because under the agreement the arena collects revenue from ticket sales, advertising, and promotions. That limits the amount of money the team can make in the building and could stunt the franchises growth because of the lack of income.

The Barclays Center has also been hampered by the Islanders becoming a permanent tenant. Since they have to book the Islanders home games, the arena is limited in the concerts that can come to Brooklyn. Given the the primary purpose for the arena’s construction was for concerts and basketball, the Islanders are hurting the prospective revenue that could be made off of concerts.

It’s been a disaster from day one. The way Islander fans were ignored by the monopolized home of the Nets, the small capacity, axing of long standing traditions, horrible sight lines, exorbitantly high ticket prices, and a move

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The new Islanders ownership is now stuck between a rock and a hard place.

that should have been a temporary solution at best, rather then a permanent home. Despite owning one of the best home records in the NHL, the attendance for the Islanders is  28th in the league. While part of that can be partially attributed to the smaller arena, the arena’s location, and ticket prices are what have impacted this standing the most.

So what now? There’s no promising solution for the Islanders on the horizon. While Nassau Coliseum is being renovated, the capacity will be 13,000, well below the the NHL minimum. There could be a renegotiation between both sides to work out a new lease, but this would be more of a patch then a long-term solution.

New owner Jonathan Ledecky has wanted to move the team to Queens in the past, but that would be an expensive proposition considering the Barclays Center cost a Billion dollars to build and the new Islanders arena would directly have to compete with it.

Either way both party’s have a terrible situation with no great exit strategy. In a perfect world the Islanders could build a new arena and leave, but given the current financial standing of the club, and the cost of building an arena in the New York area make that an almost impossible scenario. As long as the Islanders are in Brooklyn, an arena that’s too small and isn’t built for NHL hockey, it’s going to be a trying relationship at the Barclays Center.

We will keep you posted as this story continues to develop.

The Camundrum: Should Talbot Start Over the King?

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Talbot has been sensational since taking over the starting role

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.

If Lundqvist struggles should the Rangers stick with the King or ride the hot hand in Talbot ?

If Lundqvist struggles should the Rangers stick with the King or ride the hot hand in Talbot ?

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?

Going For Broke: Rangers All In on 2015

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Yandle will provide not only a strong defensive presence, but also thrive in the Rangers’ philosophy on offensive minded defensemen.

The New York Rangers have made it clear, this is the year they are taking their best shot. With not one, but two trades on Sunday, the Rangers traded long-term stability for the pieces that the organization feels can bring the Stanley Cup back to New York since 1994.

After the dust settled, the blue shirts had acquired defensemen Keith Yandle, and Chris Summers from Arizona and San Jose forward James Sheppard. However, the Rangers did pay a hefty price sending John Moore and top prospect Anthony

1b86a97f68d1dd0c4f0f6a706700a4d4_c0-331-4794-3125_s326x190Duclair to Arizona along with a first round pick in 2015 and second round pick in 2016. After trading Lee Stempniak to Winnipeg, New York finished the day by adding James Sheppard from San Jose. In order to acquire his services, the Rangers traded a fourth round pick in 2016 to the Sharks.

The message is clear, the Rangers are going for it. Yandle is the big prize as he led the atrocious Coyotes team with 41 points and will be a valuable sniper on the power play, an area where New york was abysmal in the playoffs last year. Summers will not provide the same fire power, but is a solid defender who will provide great depth at defense while Sheppard provides a solid winger from either the third or fourth line.

By improving their defense the blue shirts will be looking to take pressure off of Henrik Lundqvist who bolt only carried the team to the Stanley Cup last year, but with Lundqvist still recovering from a neck injury, New York has decided to shore up the defensive unit in front of him while providing some more firepower on offense. If Lundqvist is still not 100% when the playoffs begin, then a stronger defense will take the pressure off of the King . The worst case scenario is that the defense will be stronger in front of Cam Talbot who for now will remain the starter in-goal.

While the Rangers may have mortgaged heir future over the next two seasons, it is clear that they have the confidence that the team has the chance to win a Stanley Cup and are going for it in 2015.

If They Build it, Will Whalers Come? New Plans in Hartford Could Provide Facility for NHL Return

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A Rendering of the “Renovated” XL Center. New Arena could finally give Connecticut a state of the art facility.

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 

The XL Center in it's current state

The XL Center in its current state

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.

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A new Arena won’t guarantee the return of the beloved Whalers, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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

Cam Can: Talbot Filling in Nicely for the Blueshirts

Talbot has played great since taking over for Lundqvist

Talbot has played great since taking over for Lundqvist

When it was announced that Henrik Lundqvist would miss almost a month after taking a puck to the throat, there were immediate concerns about who would start for the Rangers in between the pipes. While it was rumored that New York was actively pursuing a trade for a stop-gap goaltender until Lundqvist was healthy is seems that the Rangers have found a solution with their 27-year-old backup.

Since taking over for Lundqvist, Cam Talbot has held his own while ensuring that the Rangers haven’t missed a beat. Talbot is 4-1-1 since the Lundqvist injury and has posted a .918 save percentage this season. With Lundqvist’s health up in the air as the postseason draws nearer, it appears that the Rangers are comfortable with Talbot for the short-term. Cam has been successful in his short career posting a 20-11 career record with a 1.95 GAA since he was first called up last season for the Rangers.

If Talbot continues his strong play for the Rangers, the team may have an interesting scenario on their hands. No, it’s not to replace Lundqvis, but it does give the Rangers a unique luxury. They can use Talbot as a great backup goaltender, or use his value to bring in a big piece for the future. Solid young goaltenders are hard to find in the NHL, and there could be a team that could give the Rangers a few good offensive or defense pieces in return for Talbot’s services.

463466874That scenario is a future one for the club to consider, but in the present the Rangers have to be happy to not have to have to overpay or trade for a journeyman goalie to fill in for Lundqvist. Talbot still has a lot to especially as the number of starts continue to climb. Still, New York fans have to be happy with what Talbot has given them so far and content that he is the answer in the net until the King makes a full recovery.