NHL Playoffs (Round 2) HbD-Style
Now that Round 1 officially ended when the Devils beat the Panthers, a round full of upsets and relatively insane hockey (I’m looking at you, Pens vs Flyers), we’re on to Round 2. How did my predictions based solely on the team’s design and branding go? I went 4-8, probably just as good as most hockey reporters and other such ‘experts’. So, let’s get on to the next round of match-ups…
(1) New York Rangers v (7) Washington Capitals
Well, this one really should be a bit of cakewalk for the Rangers. As I said in the first round about the Rangers:
“The Rangers were ranked with the 12th best logo in the league…The Rangers have a history of a solid logo concept since the 1920s and nobody in the league can match the uniqueness and iconic nature of the Rangers’ home jerseys that have stood the test of time. Often imitated, never duplicated. Their alternate logo is just okay, but not enough to take away from the brand overall, and their recent jersey for the Winter Classic more than compensates. Although the Rangers haven’t enjoyed the most on-ice success of the Original Six teams, the Blueshirts still hold an edge.”
And here was my analysis for the Capitals…
“…the Caps have never had what could be considered a great logo, and they were ranked #24 in the Countdown. It’s a typographical oddity now, and it was the same back then. The logos in-between weren’t much better. Their current jerseys are the best they’ve ever had, but that bar isn’t necessarily set very high either. Where they got tons of points though, is the Weagle, their alternative logo. This is truly a classy and well-executed design. I hope it becomes more prominent in future seasons. But in this playoff season, it’s not a close match.”
Overall, it’s not much of a match-up for the mighty Rangers again. They’ve got the classic, iconic branding and have a logo that’s stood for longevity. The Caps, not so much. But again, the Weagle gives them a single game.
New York in 5.
(5) Philadelphia v (6) New Jersey Devils
Again, a bit of a mismatch. After the Devils had a relatively easy time getting through the Panthers (in this match-up, obviously not so much in the real-life match-up), they’re facing a much more formidable foe in the Flyers. Here’s what I said about the Devils:
“The Devils have stayed true to their logo throughout their existence, making only the change from their eternal-Christmas colours to a more fitting black and red. This is good and bad in my opinion, as it’s almost playing it too safe. No alternative logos, no third jerseys, nothing. Solid identity maybe, but also very stoic and not extremely crowd-pleasing, or sales-inducing. Also, they got a bad name for their incredibly boring style of play during the ’90s and early ’00s, but they’ve become more exciting and aside from a couple seasons, have had a fairly consistent quality of on-ice play over the last two decades. They’re still fighting for crowds sometimes, but their brand is solid and, at the same time, uninspiring.”
And the Flyers:
“The Flyers…have a top-4 logo and no other team in the league owns the orange like Philly, so they have that uniqueness on their side. Their new (old) jerseys are excellent and also unique with the nameplates on the back. That awful alternate bevel-and-embossed logo from the ’00s is unforgivable though. And like the Penguins, they’ve had one fantastic (which was the basis for their current jerseys) and one lacklustre jersey from their trips to the Winter Classic. Like the Devils, they’ve never strayed too far from what their logo/brand, but they’ve pushed things a bit where necessary. Not always in the right direction, but they’re not as afraid to play around.”
Thanks Past-Me, what a nice segue! In that sense, the Flyers and Devils have followed a similar no-nonsense approach to their branding and design, but like I said before, the Flyers have pushed it at least a little bit farther. Could you imagine what a Devils Winter Classic jersey would look like? Probably exactly the same. Bleah. And the Flyers have a better logo.
Philadelphia in 6.
(2) St. Louis v (8) Los Angeles
My beloved Canucks were ousted, but I’ll try not to let that influence my decision in this match-up (is it possible to pick the Blues in 3 games?). Here’s what I said about the Blues:
“St. Louis’ logo still hasn’t been ranked, meaning it’s a top-4 finisher (Note: actually, it finished 4th)…Up until the their current logo and jersey design, the Blues have been kind of a nightmare. The previous logo was too rounded and hokey-looking (that’s hokey, not hockey) with a mishmash of colour similar to the Florida Panthers (blue, yellow and red), an Arial “St.Louis” in the logo that’s pretty much unreadable on a jersey, and then a huge double-outlined “Blues” on their logo from before that (and still with the “St. Louis” on it, making it ever harder to read). But, the concept has been there from the beginning and has been tinkered with but never changed. Also a bonus is that their current third jerseys are among my favourites in the league. I would never make them a primary jersey, as its too busy for that, but it’s really nice to look at and well-designed. But this monstrosity that were manufactured and Mike Keenan (thankfully) never allowed them to wear is absolutely unforgivable. That cost them a game right there.”
And I’ll put my current hate against the Kings aside (just kidding, that hatred subsided soon after the Bruins were eliminated) and re-post what I said about them from the previous round.
“The Kings…have been retooling the logo for years. In 14 years, they’ve had 4 distinctly different logos, and each of the previous three are better than their current one, with a crown too small to make out and letters that look awful on a home plate shape. And they forced the greatest player to play the game to wear one of the worst jerseys ever created in the NHL (and yes, it’s worse than anything the Canucks came up with). But, they’ve kept to their black and white motif (with flashes of a regal purple thrown in now and again, which also makes a connection to their original colours) for over 24 years, a scheme that no one else in the league has toyed with, so it’s all their own. That’s a great bonus for establishing an identity, but overall, it’s a bit of a mess with no solid future ahead, aside from their (lack of) colours.”
People have tried to convince me that the Kings’ homeplate shape is meant to be a shield. That makes sense, but I haven’t ever seen a shield that looks like homeplate. Blues win this one relatively easily. They still lose a game just for that awful, horrendous third jersey.
St. Louis in 6.
(3) Phoenix v (4) Nashville
This is probably the closest of the second round match-ups. Both teams have decent logos that were preceded by not-so-good logos. Both are seen as teams that are greater than the sum of their parts: hard-working and surprising. Both connects themselves to their local fan bases through the logo and identity. Here’s what I said about Phoenix:
“Phoenix doesn’t have the fan base or security to build a definite identity within Phoenix itself, and their constant lack of an audience proves that. Also, if you take away their first seven years of existence, it might be relatively close, as their current logo came in at #9 on the Countdown. But their original logo and jersey is an over-designed mess. I understand and commend their attempt to connect to the Arizonans through the use of local Native motifs, but it was a miss. The new logo toned that down considerably and left a solid and minimal coyote in unique colours that connects the landscape and area to it. That’s absolutely commendable. For alternative logos, their two current ones are great, especially the PHX one. If there was an interested community behind them, and not the constant fear of being moved, it might be a tougher opponent.”
Recap of the Preds:
“I’m not overly crazy about the Predator’s logo, coming in at #18 on the BTLNHL Countdown (although it’s better than their original), and they had some design missteps (primarily their former alternative logos – checkerboard…really? – and third jerseys), but the fact they’ve made a solid go of it in a very non-traditional hockey market, have a solid fan base and develop a true of identity of continually better than the sum of their parts (kudos to Trotz) is completely impressive. Plus, their new jerseys are solid and a good improvement over the original and I’m bullish on their alternate logo. The mustard yellow thing isn’t my bag baby, but they own it, and their fans have latched on.”
For me, it’s a tough call. Phoenix has the better current logo, but that previous logo and jersey is an eyesore and much worse than anything Nashville’s created. Nashville has gained a lot of traction in a non-traditional market and their mustard yellow is fascinating to see grow and gain the same significance as the Wings’ red, the Flyers’ orange, etc. Some of those previous secondary logos are pretty bad, but both teams’ current secondary logos are among the best in the league. Tough call, but…
Nashville in 7 (with every game going to overtime).