NHL Playoffs 2017 (Round 3) Countdown and Predictions
Ooof. Our brand-based predictions went 1-for-4 last round, with only the Penguins advancing. Add that to the first round’s 3-for-8, and we’re currently sitting at 4-for-12, which guarantees a sub-.500 finish for the 2017 Playoffs, well below the aggregate 56% that we’ve gotten in previous years. Well, there’s always anomalies, right? Let’s get to the countdown/predictions for the Conference Finals.
As a recap…how does it work? We’ll compare the overall branding of each series and see how they match-up. This includes the logos, alternate logos, jerseys, historical logos and jerseys, general legacy and everything else that builds a team’s brand. This year, we’ve got the handy and comprehensive brand rankings that we did at the beginning of the season to help us out.
• More: 2016 NHL Brand Power Rankings
But on top of that, the match-ups are going to be ranked according to which will be the best to watch from an aesthetic standpoint. Some jerseys work better together than others, and you’ll see why.
Okay, like last time, let’s start with the worst jersey match-up in the third round…
I’m starting to realize that the major problem with the Ducks jerseys is that they make every other team’s jerseys look worse when paired up against it. Last round, Nashville/St Louis took the top spot on this ranking, with perfectly paired sets of jerseys, visually speaking. This round, the Preds jerseys get dragged down by the Ducks’ overbearing striping, clashing styles, and mis-matched colours: gold, orange, navy blue, beige, black…it’s just too much.
Anaheim Ducks NHL Brand Power Ranking: 24th. The Ducks, despite their recent competitiveness and 2006 Stanley Cup victory, are being destroying by their visual brand, especially their league-worst jersey set and mediocre logo. And their competitiveness may be slipping against their California cousins, or so their fans seem to think. But with a logo isn’t that great, an inexcusable past (from corporate schlepping for a bad Disney franchise and what could be the most horrendous professional hockey jersey to be worn during a game), pylon-esque Stadium Series jersey and the worst current jersey set in the league, the whole visual brand could use a re-thinking.
Nashville Predators NHL Brand Power Ranking: 21st (tie). There’s no question that Nashville is trending upwards. They’ve got a fearsome team, a pumped-up fanbase and are most likely only to improve their on-ice performance results. Their visual brand isn’t considered great, although it’s an improvement over their past logos/jerseys. They had some design missteps (primarily their former alternative logos – checkerboard…really? – and third jerseys), but their current jerseys are solid and their fans have latched onto the mustard yellow and own it. It’s – in a lot of ways – one of the few continuous success stories in the NHL’s southern expansion.
Prediction: Predators in 7
There is a clash of bold, warm colours set against a backdrop of black and white, which creates a sense of visual cohesion (with the jerseys sharing the black/white) and distinction (red vs gold) – a perfect match-up in some ways. The Sens’ road whites are a little too red-shy, but the good amount of gold on the Pens’ home blacks help make up for it. The the blast on gold on the Pens’ road whites are a great compliment for the Sens’ uber-red home jerseys. Top place for this round was incredibly easy to pick.
As a quick aside, this will be the first time ever that these two jersey will meet for the games in Ottawa. In the Pens’ only Ottawa game this season, the Senators wore their heritage jerseys.
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Brand Power Ranking: 4th. The only non-Original Six team in the top spots, the Penguins get this high on the basis of their great visual brand (including logo and jerseys), their recent accomplishes (a 2016 Cup, of course, as well as a 10-year playoff streak, which is now the longest in the league), and a fanbase that’s dedicated and engaged. And things don’t seem to be going to change anytime soon. In fact, their brand new (old) jersey set is generally considered an improvement. And their current logo they’ve had in their history, ahead of the regular gold penguin of the ’70s – ’90s, the corporate-looking penguin of the ’90s, the older penguin within the thick band of text, and the original penguin who looks like he’s going to join Bonhomme at Quebec’s Winter Carnaval. But the Pens do get points for a fantastic Winter Classic jersey (but also get points taken away for a not-so-fantastic one), and a tremendous Stadium Series jersey.
Ottawa Senators NHL Brand Power Ranking: 23rd. The lowest Canadian team, their era of on-ice success (culminating in a trip to the 2007 Cup Finals) is bookended by years of not much, getting to the Conference Finals only one other time. Their visual branding – aside from their historical third jerseys – doesn’t excite either. They have what I previously called a borderline minor-league logo and the worst logo in the league for a Canadian team, which is still an improvement over their incredibly flat and oddly shaped original logo, which is also an improvement over the typographic disaster that was the logo created for the expansion team in 1991 but never used. Now, if they actually moved to using their historical “O” jerseys full time…
Prediction: Penguins in 5