NHL Playoffs (Round 4) HbD-Style
And with King Henrik shaking the hand of the ageless Brodeur, the 3rd round comes to an end. With only two out of the sixteen teams left, the Stanley Cup Finals are here. I went an awful 0 for 2 in the last round, giving me a woeful 5 for 14 record overall (how can being “full of awe” and “full of woe” mean the same thing?). So, it’s impossible to even go .500 for the playoffs at this point. But, like a-ha, I’ll try end on a high note. Here’s the match-up:
STANLEY CUP FINAL
(6) New Jersey v (8) Los Angeles
The last time New Jersey faced a team from the southern California area in the Cup Finals was in 2003, against the then-Mighty Ducks. From a branding standpoint, this match-up is, I’d say, a little more favourable overall, but not by much. 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 for the Kings:
“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…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.”
This is a match-up of a team with a brand that’s too stoic against a team that’s not stoic enough. Aside from the black-and-white thing, the Kings have had almost no consistency in their brand in the last two decades, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in an organization’s identity. And while I ranked the Devils at #17 overall in the BTLNHL countdown, at the very least their look has been consistent and unchanging. While it may not be exciting, at least the brand is strong in that sense. And with the Kings ranked at #28, the Devils have the better current logo anyway.
New Jersey in 5.