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.

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    Report: Forsling signs with Blackhawks

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    A report out of Sweden says that defenseman Gustav Forsling has signed an entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.

    For the past two seasons, Forsling has been with Linkopings HC of the Swedish Hockey League. In 2015-16, the 19-year-old had six goals and 15 assists in 48 games.

    A fifth-round pick of the Canucks in 2014, Forsling was a star at the 2015 World Juniors, where he had eight points (3G, 5A) in seven games for Sweden. He was traded to Chicago in return for Adam Clendening.

    “He’s an offensive defenseman that plays very well on the power play and has a big shot,” said Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman upon Forsling’s acquisition.

    Assuming the report is accurate, Forsling can probably count on starting his North American career in the AHL.

    The Blackhawks are hoping to graduate Rockford d-man Ville Pokka to the NHL next season.

    Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks

    Hendricks to captain U.S. at Worlds for second straight year

    OSTRAVA, CZECH REPUBLIC - MAY 01:  Matt Hendricks of USA celebrates goal of his team-mates during the IIHF World Championship group B match between USA and Finland at CEZ Arena on May 1, 2015 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
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    Last year, Matt Hendricks captained Team USA to bronze at the World Hockey Championships, marking just the second time in the last 11 years the U.S. had medaled.

    So, why not go back to Hendricks again?

    That’s what USA Hockey opted to do on Wednesday, announcing the Edmonton forward would reprise his role as team captain for the 2016 tournament, to be held in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

    Columbus’ Nick Foligno and Arizona’s Connor Murphy were named alternate captains.

    Hendricks had a pretty solid tournament for the U.S. last year, scoring two goals and three points in 10 games — an effort made more impressive by the fact it was his first time representing the U.S. internationally.

    The U.S. gets its ’16 Worlds campaign underway on Friday, with a game against Canada at 11:30 a.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on NBCSN, and a live stream will be available on NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    Prized Flyers prospect Provorov says he’s NHL-ready

    Ivan Provorov
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    Philly had one rookie defenseman burst onto the scene this year, as Shayne Gostisbehere‘s stellar play earned him a Calder Trophy nomination.

    Next year, another freshman blueliner will look to make his own mark.

    Ivan Provorov, the club’s first-round pick (seventh overall) at the 2015 draft, says he’s primed to make the Flyers’ roster for 2016-17 — despite the fact he’ll be just 19 years old when the campaign begins.

    “I think I’m ready,” he said, per the Inquirer. “But we’ll see what happens. I think I’m going to have another good summer and come ready in September.”

    The Flyers have been high on Provorov from the minute they drafted him. He signed his entry-level deal a week after being selected, and impressed onlookers during his time at prospect and training camps.

    “He showed us his play is efficient in all areas with and without the puck,” head coach Dave Hakstol said, per CSN Philly. “I thought his competitiveness was very good throughout the two days.

    “He was focused and relaxed. He is a composed young man with maturity and confidence. Those are very good traits in a young player.”

    This year, Provorov — who’s still playing with Brandon in the WHL playoffs — racked up a whopping 21 goals and 73 points in just 62 games. The potential of adding Provorov’s offensive abilities to a blueline that already features a pretty skilled guy in Gostisbehere is tantalizing.

    But, as Flyers GM Ron Hextall points out, Provorov is going to have to beat out an incumbent, and won’t just be gifted a spot on the Philadelphia roster.

    “They have to come in and be better than someone else that’s here,” Hextall said of young players looking to crack the lineup. “If that happens, we proved last year that we’ll make room in our roster for a young player that proves to us that he’s ready to play at this level and make our team better.”

    The Caps say they’ve ‘matured’ and have ‘good poise’ now — we’ll see tonight

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    The Washington Capitals — desperate for a win tonight in Pittsburgh — are vowing to stick to the plan, keep their composure, and not let a certain 21-year-old netminder get into their heads.

    “I think that’s where this team has matured,” said coach Barry Trotz, per CSN Washington. “We have good poise. You’ve seen that all year with our team. We don’t get rattled often. We do get, I would say, very determined at times and we’ve shown a lot of resiliency all year. That’s why we were able to have the record we did. We didn’t let things bother us too much. And we’ve got a good leadership group that when things maybe aren’t going the way you want, they seem to be able to put it back on the rails for us. I think that’s the growth of our team the last two years.”

    In Game 3, the Caps had every reason to feel like the hockey gods were out to get them. They put 49 shots on Penguins goalie Matt Murray, but were only able to beat him twice. They lost, 3-2, and now must win tonight in order to avoid falling into a 3-1 series hole.

    In Game 4, the Capitals will have a major advantage, as their opponents will be without two of their top defensemen, Kris Letang (suspended) and Olli Maatta (injured).

    So not only is it a game the Caps need to win, it’s a game they’ll be expected to win.

    That means pressure.

    And pressure, sometimes, can lead to panic.

    According to Trotz, the Caps used to be guilty of exactly that. They’d change the plan when things didn’t go their way. They’d play too much as individuals. They’d play right into the opposition’s hands.

    But not anymore.

    “I think what this group has learned is that you stay to the plan, you execute and do the job well,” said Trotz.

    “If you do that, it will turn your way.”