Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More, Worst Hockey Logos Ever

Next we have “Poor concepts that just didn’t work"
The Georgetown Raider appears to be humping another Georgetown Raider in their logo. I know this simplistic “stick figure” style was popular in the 70’s and early 80’s, but as a hockey logo it just fails.

The Mario Lemieux era Laval Voisins of the QMJHL had this MC Escher-ish sideways letter ”L”. Apparently a “voisin” is a neighbour, so not only does the logo suck, the name itself does too.
The Merritt Centennials transferred from White Rock midway through the 73-74 season. I’m not sure which centennial they are attempting to honour, it’s not the country, not the province and not the town of either White Rock or Merritt. And why would you recognize any centennial with a logo of a turntable record player. In fact the centennial that the team may have been honouring was of the invention of the electric phonograph in 1877.

Back to the “Q” we go for the Montreal Red White and Blue. I understand it is an homage to the “bleu, blanc et rouge” of the Habs, but…I don’t know. I have searched for any semblance of a letter or hidden image in this tri-colour stack, and I get nothing.

The Toledo Storm is merely a collection of bad clip-art…just putrid. This team actually finished first in the ECHL and won the championship as well.

I did some research on the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana and there never has been anything to do with the space industry in that city. Why then would one decide to picture an astronaut in their logo? I suppose they were jumping on the moon landing hype of the day while tying in their long time Komet name. The drawing is actually good in this logo, what really bugs me is the blatant rip-off of the Cleveland Indians “Chief Wahoo” mascot. Also, his hockey stick has the worst lie I’ve ever seen. Imagine trying to stickhandle with that thing.

Lastly, there is the abysmal New York Golden Blades of the WHA. They were a one year entry lasting 24 games before moving to New Jersey. Could their ridiculous figure skate logo have been the cause? Really, what were they thinking?
Next installment, The VERY WORST logos of all-time.

Worst Hockey Logos...Ever

We here at Nitzy’s Hockey Den, (by ‘we’, I mean ‘me’) enjoy concentrating on the stats and history of the great game of hockey. However for this entry, I am staying away from numbers and delving into the artistic side of the game. Myself being a designer in the animation industry, I am perhaps a somewhat rare breed that has an insatiable need to talk, read, write about and play hockey in addition to having an artistic side. In fact, in my nearly twenty years of work and study in animation, I would say perhaps 2 to 3 percent of artistic colleagues even come close to having my passion for hockey. They would far rather discuss comic books, sci-fi movies or play delightful little dice games. I have another blog, where I have posted mainly my own hockey related art, from t-shirts, homemade hockey cards and designs from my hockey themed children’s books. I digress, in this entry I will post my choices for worst hockey logos ever. I recently discovered this great site which seems to have pretty much every logo ever made. I decided to include any logo I could find, regardless of level or league. With the help of I came up with the following worst hockey logos ever.
Let’s start with what I call the “Art School Drop-Outs”

From what I can see, animals are difficult to translate into logo form, specifically the feline sub-genre. Firstly, the Seawolves animal…I guess it’s a seawolf. Not sure if such a creature exists, or even how it would survive. The one attempted to be drawn here does not seem to possess gills or a blowhole, I’d be worried about this creature in any amount of water, especially with that one hooked hand. Overall, this is just a very poor drawing of a very poor concept. Although, compared to the cats that come next, it’s bordering on artistic genius.
The Wildcat franchise of the old Colonial Hockey League had three full attempts at getting this right. I’d say that the logo actually got worse each year and when the team moved to London in 1994, it seems they got the coach’s kid to design the logo.

The bad feline logos may have started with the Hamilton Tigers of the early 1920’s NHL. Upon moving the Quebec Bulldogs (including Joe Malone) to the steel city, they came up with this gem of a logo, I realize that team merchandise was non-existent in the 1920’s, but come now….this abomination of a one-eyed tiger is simply awful.

The final big cat entry is somewhat confusing. The team is the Elmira Sugar Kings, yet they feature a terrifying lion snapping a fat hockey stick in half. Not sure what that has to do with sugar, yeah, yeah…King of the Jungle…a lion, I get that, but still a bit of a stretch and awful looking to boot.

Next we have the logos which have two big strikes against them…poorly drawn AND racist. The sly looking Muskegon Mohawk should have a tear running down his cheek in sadness for his poorly drawn visage. It really is hard to screw up a profile of the human face, but this one manages to do it. The Utica Mohawk is not much better. They opted for the more graphically stylized look that just doesn’t work. Incidentally, the worst goalie in NHL history played for this squad on the downside of his career. Michel “Ill-Humour” Belhumeur had a record of 0-24-3 and a GAA of 5.36 with the expansion Washington Capitals in 1974-75. He played 24 games for Utica with a 4.08 average this season.
Finally, we have the Saginaw Lumber Kings. There really is not much to be said about this atrocity. A little bit of knowledge of human anatomy may have been beneficial. The arms and hands bend and join at all sorts of weird places. Yet this logo does make a nice bookend with the Seawolf thing at the beginning.
More terrific logos to come....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Old Boy All-Star Teams

The fantastic site allows one to analyze with stats pretty much any hockey related query you can have. And I have probably far too many hockey related queries floating around my underutilized brain. With that, I present my selections for all-time single season All-Star teams for players of 35 years or older.

Johnny Bucyk makes each of the first two teams at Left Wing, while Niklas Lidstrom makes the First and Third squads. Ten of the eighteen overall selections are from seasons from the mid 90's or later. This is obviously a statement of how players are staying at the top of their game longer into their careers with the help of technology and training.
Hal Winkler's NHL career of two seasons at age 34 and 35, came after starring for well over a decade in various Senior Leagues and Western Professional circuits. He really made up for lost time, in 75 career NHL games he posted a 1.60 GAA with 21 shutouts.
Bill Cook actually led the league in goals in this season of 31-32 AND the following year as well.
Doug Harvey won his sixth of seven Norris Trophies in 1961. Martin Brodeur may very well have been on his way to another fantastic season this year before injuring himself in November. He along with Lidstrom may have many more All-Star calibre seasons still in them, well past the age of 35.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Evgeni Malkin...Assists machine

Man, do I love the look of those old 1979-80 cards, glad O-Pee-Chee went back to it this year.
Mr. Malkin currently has 44 assisits through 36 games, this pace translates to 100 assists exactly. I realize it's still early, but if he manages to keep up his pace, he will be the only gentleman NOT named Gretzky, Lemieux or Orr to achieve this. Gretzky topped 100 assists in eleven different seasons, consecutively of course, topping out at 163 in 1986. Lemieux had 114 in 1989, and Orr 102 in 1971...that's it. A few have come close, adam Oates with 97 in 84 games in 1993, Joe Thornton with 96 a few years back and Pat LaFontaine and Doug Gilmour both notching 95 in 1993.
It seems improbable that Malkin can keep up this pace however. In averaging 1.22 assists/game this year, he is nearly doubling his two season career average of 0.694/game. One would think his pal Sidney Crosby would have been the one making a run at 100 assists, and he may very well do it one of these years. Crosby has a three year career average of 0.916 A/GP, and this year is actually ahead of that at 0.944.
I'd be tempted to predict that Crosby will even end up this season with more assists than Malkin, but it will be intersesting to watch a run at 100.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tony Hand, 4000 Points

This is Tony Hand, born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1967. He has been playing in the top hockey leagues in Britain since 1981...yes, he is still playing. Including regular and post season, mid-season club competitions and playoffs, Hand has played in 1,386 games and as of this writing just this month notched his 4,oooth point. According to the Ice Hockey Journalists UK website, he made the post season all star team NINETEEN of the twenty-three seasons from 1983-84 through 2005-06.
Sure, the top league in Britain is not the NHL, it has been compared to the calibre of the ECHL. The league however has drawn a fair amount of top players over the years, including Garry Unger at the end of his career, goalie Frank Pietrangelo, Doug Smail for a season (named top player, of course), Jim Paek and WHA star Ron Plumb. Also, top flight minor leaguers such as, Ken Priestlay, Ed Courtenay, Mike Babcock (yes, that Mike Babcock), Fred Perlini and John Craighead.
Tony Hand actually was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1986 and survived their full training camp. He was offered a contract by the Oilers and would play the year with the Western League Victoria Cougars. He played three games and tallied eight points before heading home due to homesickness. He would return to train with Victoria the following training camp before playing an exhibition game with the Oilers (assisiting on a Kevin Lowe goal). This time, Sather offered Hand a contract to play in the AHL with the Cape Breton Oilers. Hand turned it down, as he would make more money playing back home. Glen Sather is actually quoted as saying Hand was the second smartest player in camp after Gretzky, and he figured he would have had a good career.
For all of Hand`s scoring exploits, there were players who ripped up the British leagues even more than he did. The aforementioned Fred Perlini, a Maple Leaf farmhand in the early 80`s played a decade in Britain. In his 310 games he notched a simply silly 1403 points. His average of 4.53 points per game destroys Hand`s PPG of 2.90. Another Ontario boy, Rick Fera who was a point-a-game guy in the OHL went over to Britain to torch the opposition. In his 363 career games he managed a measely 1736 points. His PPG of 4.78 is only achieved by the kid in Atom hockey who hits puberty at age 10.
Some individual season records border on the ridiculous. While Hand scored at his best 105 goals in 35 games and in another season, 222points in 44 games, these are not the tops in league history. Kevin Conway, yet another Ontario native, who twice topped 120 points in the OHL, scored an amazing 148 goals in 29 games in 1987-88...ummm, that works out to over 5 (FIVE) GOALS per game. A fellow by the name of Patrick Scott notched 180 goals and 319 points in 1993-94 while playing in 56 games though for a rather pedestrian 5.70 points per game.
I would be remiss if I did not mention a guy who, also in 1993-94 (they must have been using juiced pucks...or midget goalies) scored 140 goals and 243 points. This guy`s name was Hilton Ruggles, you read that correctly, Hilton Ruggles. If ever there was a great British hockey name, his is the best. He was however born in Montreal and played in the Q, scoring 63 goals for Longueil in 1983-84. If anyone has a Hilton Ruggles hockey card, I need one.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Major Junior Flashes in the Pan

While looking up CHL records for my last post, a few other records caught my eye. If you know who holds the CHL record for Powerplay Goals in a season you are either the record holder himself, or a member of his immediate family. Jason Krywulak of the 1992-93 Swift Current Broncos tallied FORTY-SEVEN (47!!) PPG of his 81 goals that year. Young Jason was never drafted, and soon attended the U. of Calgary where he played for three seasons, making the post season all-star squad each year. A few stints in Germany and the Roller Hockey circuit and he was done before turning thirty.

The record for goals by a defenseman is another non-descipt gentleman. Larry Sacharuk notched FIFTY goals as a rear guard for Saskatoon in 1971-72. He was drafted the following summer by the Rangers 21st overall. Following two productive AHL seasons, including 27 goals in 42 games for the 1974 Providence Reds, he had a few cups of coffee with the big club. Apparently unimpressed, New York dealt him to St.Louis where in 1974-75 he notched 20 goals and 42 points. For some reason, he ended up back with the Rangers for a few years then finished up in the AHL with two 50 plus point seasons. That was just about it for Ol' Larry, the only defenseman in major junior history and perhaps hockey history, to tally a fifty goal year.

Vancouver Giants,The Best Junior Team far

This past week, I went to my first Giants game in a few years at the old Pacific Coliseum. They beat Swift Current 8-1 to improve their record to a ridiculous 28-2-3 for an .894 winning percentage. If this were to hold up for the remainder of the season it will be the highest ever in CHL history. The '05 London Knights led by Corey Perry hold the record currently at .882 with the '71 Guy Lafleur led Quebec Remparts holding down second with an .879 Pct.
Perhaps even more impressive for the Giants is their ratio of Goals For to Goals Against. With 163 goals for and 64 against they have a ratio of 2.55 to 1. London had an impressive ratio of 2.48 -1 with 310 GF and 125 GA. The 1979 Trois Rivieres Draveurs (whatever that is) scored 527 goals and allowed 233 for a ratio of 2.26-1. Obviously this Giants team is in unchartered waters of domination, and it is more impressive that they have been able to stay dominant after winning the Memorial Cup a few years ago.

Click on the title of this post for footage shot from our front row seats and expertly edited by my pal Geoffy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Darryl Sittler, Toronto Toro?

This is the rare occaison for my blog where I post a photo of an item which is NOT in my real-life den. This is only the case because this card of course doesn't exist (a little photoshop on my part). I recently picked up an old hockey magazine from March 1974 with an article about how Sittler almost became a Toronto Toro of the WHA.

Apparently, after his third NHL season of 1972-73 he was offered a $1,000,000, five year deal by John Bassett, owner of the Toros. The team was in the midst of transferring from Ottawa after the inaugural WHA season. Sittler was coming of a 77 point year in leading the Leafs in scoring. Bassett wanted to snag the 23 year old who was taking the city by storm. The Toros had traded a player to the Alberta Oilers just to obtain his WHA rights. Sittler had earned $30,000 the previous season and soon after the year ended had verbally agreed to a $70,000 yearly deal with the Leafs. Then came the Toros offer, mindblowing to all.

Sittler's agent, the convict, Alan Eagleson went back to the Leafs with the giant offer. The Buds offered a counter of $750,000, which at $150,000/year was more than enough to keep him a Leaf. Eagleson, being the classy gentleman he is went back to the Toros and asked for the original million, plus crazy additional demands such as a rent free farm for Sittler, endorsements with food-chain stores associated with the Toros, cars for Sittler and his wife AND Eagleson's fees. Bassett and the Toros of course withdrew from the bidding, and within a week Sittler's signing with the Leafs was announced.

Sittler of course went on to score 789 points in his final 643 games with the Leafs. The Toros on the other hand would try to fill the superstar void with ex-Leafs, Frank Mahovlich, Paul Henderson, Wayne Carleton and Brit Selby with minimal degrees of sucess. In three years, they would be the Birmingham Bulls, and Sittler, on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Shooting Percentage Leaders

I thought this was kind of interesting, Kyle Wellwood is on pace to obliterate the single season record for shooting percentage. The current Canuck has 11 goals thru 24 games while firing a mere 30 shots on the net. His 36.67 percentage would be almost four points higher than the current record holder, Charlie Simmer.
I have never really put too much stock in shooting percentage, as it's not a stat a player can really strive for. It seems more of an after the fact kind of thing, I mean, would a guy not take a shot on net in order to protect his shooting pct. Wellwood's number is however such an increase over the current record that it stands out as fairly noteworthy.
The top ten list below consists of some pretty good players, yet only one Hall of Famer in Kurri. This perhaps reinforces the somewhat frivolity of the statistic.

Shots on goal for players was not kept as an accurate stat until 1967-68, which explains the lack of oldtimers on the list. Incidentally, the career leaders are Craig Simpson at 23.66 and Charlie Simmer at 22.34. As well, there is only one Hall of Famer in the top ten here with Mike Bossy at 4th overall.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Powerplay Goal Specialists

As of this moment, (early Dec./08) Teemu Selanne has tallied 14 goals on the season for the Ducks. 13 of these goals have been notched on the powerplay for an astounding 93 percent. If continued for the season, this would be the highest percentage of one player's goals that were scored via the powerplay. The current record for players with at least 17 PPG in a season is 80.0% by The Roadrunner, Yvan Cournoyer. The top two single season PPG scorers, Tim Kerr (34) and Dave Andreychuk (32) notched percentages of 58.2 and 59.3 of their goal totals.
Two defensemen check in at second and third place, with over 70% of their goals on the powerplay. Dave Andreychuk and Paul Gardner both have two seasons of over 58% powerplay goals.
Paul Gardner is actually also the career leader in PPG Pct among forwards, and the only forward with over 50% of his career goals scored on the powerplay. In fact only twelve forwards have ever scored over 40% of their career goals on the powerplay. Gardner had a solid career that ended at age thirty after two MVP seasons in the AHL. Soon after, he jumped into coaching, spending five years as head coach of the Newmarket Saints, followed by a long stint as assistant coach for Barry Trotz in Nashville. As of 2008-09 he was head coah for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Russian League.
Defensemen of course tend to score a higher percentage of their goals with the man advantage and Dave Babych is the only player in history with a higher than 60% PPG Pct. finishing a full four percentage points ahead of second place Rob Blake.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

All-Time Teams by Province

Keeping with the theme of my last post, I decided to determine all-time all star teams by province of birth. Six provinces have had enough NHL players to put together solid squads, right down to thirteenth forward, seventh defenseman and third goalie. I also attempted, (with limited success) to make US teams by state. No real suprise that Ontario ranks number one with almost 2,000 natives having played in the NHL.
Ontario and Quebec are fairly even in their forwards, and Quebec may have a very slim edge in goaltending, but the overall strength of defensemen from Ontario gives Upper Canada the nod over Lower. There is of course a small drop off in calibre with the teams that follow, but Saskatchewan rises to third place on the backs of Howe, Shore and an impressive trio of goalies.
The lack of third and fourth line excellence in Alberta keeps them in fourth. B.C. boasts a solid contingent of forwards but are kept in sixth spot by superior defense and stellar goaltending.

Massachusetts and Minnesota prove to be the cream of the crop from the States, yet their overall lack of numbers of players makes filling out a real all star roster difficult. Names like Darren Turcotte, Andy Brickley, Tom Chorske and Dave Langevin among others, keep these two squads at the bottom of the list. In an imaginary eight team tournament between these squads, the game between Massachusetts and Minnesota would in all likelihood determine which team didn`t go winless.

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