How did your favorite team come up with their nickname?

NHL.gifPicture, if you will, a world where the NHLs most popular team in northern California would hit the ice being introduced as, “Your San Jose Rubber Puckies!” That sounds rather insane, I know, but it almost came to be. Of course, they also might’ve been known as the San Jose Salty Dogs or the San Jose Screaming Squids. Oh, the humanity!

Thankfully sanity prevailed and the Sharks were born. They’re not the only team with a fascinating story to tell though. Thanks to Rob Macneil of Sportsnet, we’ve got the short stories as to where all 30 NHL teams got their now famous nicknames and that narrowly avoided horror story from San Jose is just one of the handful of gems that Macneil discussed.

A couple of the more notable near-disasters include the Nashville Predators who saw a host of new-wave future marketing disasters:

In 1971 Nashville, a nine-inch fang belonging to a saber-toothed tiger was discovered during the construction of an office building. When it was time to name the franchise, three choices were presented, Ice Tigers, Fury and Attack. Owner Craig Leipold then added his own submission to the vote, Predators. Once the contest closed, Predators ended up being the successful pick.

Fury? Attack? These are names that barely function well in indoor lacrosse. Yikes. While the sabre-toothed tiger makes for a great logo, the alternate logo used on the shoulder patches of Predators jerseys featuring a sabre-toothed tiger skull is one of the most haunting and truly intimidating images around. It’s a shame the NHL wouldn’t allow them to use it as a main logo. As always, skulls = money. Every death metal band in existence can’t be wrong, right?

The Minnesota Wild, whose name isn’t exactly a dream come true in the first place, nearly fell to a worse fate: being named poorly after local folk lore.

In 1998, Wild was chosen as a tribute to the state’s wildlife and outdoors reputation. It was chosen from a group of six finalists, beating out the Blue Ox, Northern Lights, Voyageurs, White Bears, and Freeze.

If you’re going to name a team after something to do with the story of Paul Bunyan, you might as well just go with Lumberjacks and be done with it. Having the option of “Blue Ox” is reaching too deep to be smart. Besides, just the mere possibility of having Jacques Lemaire suit up in plaid and performing a certain Monty Python skit just has “comedy gold” written all over it.

Finally, if you thought that the Columbus Blue Jackets nickname is inspired yet odd, just be thankful that it was chosen in the first place and pay respect to your veterans while doing so.

When a name-the-team contest was held, over 14,000 entries were received. The name came down to two, ‘Blue Jackets’ and ‘Justice’. The former was chosen to celebrate the Civil War history in the state of Ohio and Columbus. Ohio contributed more residents to the Union Army than any other state, including William Tecumseh Sherman (who led the burning of Atlanta), Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, and George Custer.

That’s a truly great story and I think we’re all happy that the Columbus Justice aren’t in existence. What we’re all still trying to figure out is just how a neon green insect came to don the colors of the Union army in the first place.

Scroll Down For:

    Maple Leafs help SickKids Foundation make giant cookie for Santa (Video)

    Leave a comment

    It’s always special to see NHL teams give back to their communities in original ways. The Toronto Maple Leafs found a pretty unique way to help out the SickKids Foundation. It even involved putting on a hairnet.

    The Leafs made their annual visit to the SickKids Foundation earlier this month and some of them took part in a special tradition that involves making a giant cookie for Santa “no-trade” Claus (sorry).

    Mike Babock, Wendel Clark and a few of the current members of the team worked hard to make sure that the finished product was all quality.

    Babcock barking out orders in the kitchen is hilarious. Him emphasizing “cream your sugar” is pretty good, too.

    “I come here on a regular basis and the people here are stars,” Babcock said, per the Toronto Star. “If you think of your children getting diagnosed with something, let’s say cancer, it’s an awful thing and you want to go to the best place, with the best doctors, so you can feel the best. To me that’s what this place is all about.

    “Sometimes when things are going really good in your life you need to take a step back, take a deep breath to understand how lucky you are.”

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    It’s supposed to be pretty cold during tomorrow’s NHL 100 Classic in Ottawa

    1 Comment

    We’re just over 24 hours away from the “NHL 100 Classic” outdoor game between the Canadiens and Senators at TD Place in Ottawa. Don’t forget, you can watch that game online tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. ET via the NBC Sports app.

    If you’re considering watching the game at home, that’s probably a wise move considering it’s going to be freezing in Ottawa on Saturday night.

    According to the Weather Network, it’s supposed to be mainly clear. It’s also going to be 7 degrees Fahrenheit, but it’ll feel more like minus-4 because of the wind-chill factor.

    “There are going to be moments we wish we were inside,” Sens captain Erik Karlsson said, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

    And Bobby Ryan is a little confused:

    “I can’t even pronounce the thing that goes over your head,” Ryan told TSN Radio’s Ian Mendes. “It’s sounds like a dessert — a balaclava or whatever.”

    As fun as this might be, it’s still a huge game between two Atlantic Division rivals. The Canadiens are two points behind Boston for third in the Atlantic and the Sens are five points behind Montreal.

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    A deeper look into the Bruins’ 11-game losing streak against the Caps

    Getty
    1 Comment

    There are some streaks in professional sports that simply don’t make sense. How some teams continue to dominate others year after year even though coaches and rosters change is kind of weird.

    One of those strange streaks was extended on Thursday night, as the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins for the 11th straight time. The last time the Bruins took down the Caps was in March of 2014. The B’s have made a coaching change, they’ve altered the roster, but they still can’t beat the Caps.

    As Washington’s Barry Trotz pointed out earlier this month, every squad seems to have a “unicorn team”. On Dec. 5, Trotz’s team beat the San Jose Sharks for the first time since 2009. Fine, the Capitals and Sharks might not play each other that often, but that’s still an eight-year losing streak.

    “Every team has a unicorn team, you do,” Trotz said at the time, per the team’s website. “I was talking to the Columbus broadcasters [on Saturday], and they said, ‘Do you know what your record is against Columbus?’ And I said, “I have no idea.’ They said, ‘It’s pretty good.’

    “For years, Nashville was [the Blue Jackets’] unicorn. They could never beat them. I think every team has that. The ones that come to mind for me with this club are San Jose and Dallas. We’ve been a unicorn for a few franchises, too. I just think everybody has one of those.”

    Trotz is right. The Capitals have definitely been Boston’s unicorn.

    The last time the Bruins took down the Capitals, Claude Julien was still their head coach, Jarome Iginla was the third-leading scorer on the team, and Milan Lucic, Reilly Smith, Loui Eriksson, Carl Soderberg and Andrej Meszaros were still on the roster.

    Also, Barack Obama was still the president of the United States, the hoverboard scooter wasn’t invented yet, Nico Hischier was just 15 years old, and Tom Brady was “only” a three-time Super Bowl Champion.

    “At some point you definitely want to get it over with and win those games,” Patrice Bergeron said after last night’s 5-3 loss, per NHL.com.  It’s not something necessarily that I was thinking before the game … we knew it was a challenge and we had to be good and be smart. A few breakdowns and a little lack of discipline [and they] made us pay is the bottom line.”

    Here’s the game-by-game breakdown of the 11-game losing streak:

    • Oct. 11, 2014: 4-0 loss at home (Alex Ovechkin scored twice, Braden Holtby had the shutout)

    • Mar. 15, 2015: 2-0 loss on the road (Nicklas Backstrom assisted on both goals, Holtby had the shutout)

    • Apr. 8, 2015: 3-0 loss on the road (Backstrom had two more assists, Holtby had the shutout)

    • Nov. 5, 2015: 4-1 loss on the road (John Carlson had a goal and an assist)

    • Jan. 5, 2016: 3-2 loss at home (Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and an assist)

    • Mar. 5, 2016: 2-1 OTL at home (Matt Niskanen scored the game-winning goal)

    • Dec. 7, 2016: 4-3 OTL on the road (Justin Williams scored twice, Backstrom netted the OT winner)

    • Feb. 1, 2017: 5-3 loss on the road (Backstrom had three points)

    • Apr. 8, 2017: 3-1 loss at home (Kevin Shattenkirk scored the game-winning goal)

    • Nov. 4, 2017: 3-2 loss at home (Tom Wilson had two goals)

    • Dec. 14, 2017: 5-3 loss at home (Alex Chiasson scored twice, Ovechkin had a goal (empty-netter and an assist)

    These two teams will play each other one more time (Dec. 28) this season. Will the Bruins be able to figure out how to beat their “unicorn” by then?

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

    PHT Morning Skate: What’s holding the Islanders back?

    Getty
    1 Comment
    Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

    • University of Alabama hockey player Jon Lovorn is dedicating this season to the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. (SECCountry.com)

    • It’s time for the NHL to give all 31 teams an outdoor game next season. (Vice Sports)

    • Philly.com takes a look at Sean Couturier‘s “well-balanced” life and how it got him to the NHL. (Philly.com)

    • A strong end to 2017 could help the Predators land home ice advantage in the playoffs (Predlines)

    • If/when Seattle makes it to the NHL, there might be too many teams in the Pacific Division. How would realignment look? (Five for Howling)

    • One of the reasons the Oilers have struggled for so long is because of their inability to select solid players late in drafts. (OilersNation.com)

    • The only thing that appears to be holding the Islanders back is goaltending. (The Hockey News)

    • The Hershey Bears released their 2018 Outdoor Classic Jersey for their game against Lehigh Valley next month. (RussianMachineNeverBreaks.com)

    • The Rangers’ recent struggles prove that they need to be sellers before the trade deadline. (NY Post)

    • The Devils and Coyotes swapped minor-league forwards yesterday. New Jersey got Michael Latta while the Coyotes got Ryan Kujawinski. (NHL.com/Coyotes)

    Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.