The View From Wisconsin
Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Sometimes, it's funny what you find when you're looking for something else. I've been searching on the internet for a pair of hockey-themed socks, similar to ones that I bought long ago when I was in Nashville for a Predators game.
No, they're not "hockey socks", like you'd expect to see NHL'ers wear during games. I'm talking about novelty-type socks. I own a pair of white with blue heels and toes socks with the Predators logo on them, and I've been looking for a newer pair for some time now. I've concluded that there's only one pair similar to them - a pink pair by For Bare Feet, which I'm hesitant to order.
This search confirmed something I wasn't entirely surprised to discover: not every NHL team is created equal. I was looking at available socks from one particular website (FootballFanatics.com), and wondered how many different types of socks with logos of each NHL team were available - just on this one, non-hockey oriented, website.
In case you think the idea of "hockey socks" is odd, keep this in mind: there were a total of 274 different types of socks, featuring 29 of the 30 NHL teams – and one for the NHL logo itself. However - and this is where the "unequal" part comes in - not every team had the same number of items available.
What follows is a count of how many different "socks" you can buy through Football Fanatics for each NHL team, ranked from greatest to least. It paints an interesting picture:
1. Buffalo Sabres (20 items)
2. Detroit Red Wings (20 items)
3. New York Rangers (19 items)
4. Philadelphia Flyers (17 items)
5. New Jersey Devils (16 items)
6. Boston Bruins (15 items)
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (14 items)
8. Chicago Blackhawks (13 items)
9. Minnesota Wild (10 items)
10. Montreal Canadiens (10 items)
11. San Jose Sharks (10 items)
12. Tampa Bay Lightning (10 items)
13. Washington Capitals (10 items)
14. Dallas Stars (9 items)
15. Los Angeles Kings (9 items)
16. St. Louis Blues (9 items)
17. Anaheim Ducks (8 items)
18. Calgary Flames (7 items)
19. Florida Panthers (7 items)
20. New York Islanders (7 items)
21. Winnipeg Jets (7 items)
22. Vancouver Canucks (6 items)
23. Carolina Hurricanes (5 items)
24. Colorado Avalanche (4 items)
25. Toronto Maple Leafs (4 items)
26. Nashville Predators (3 items)
27. Columbus Blue Jackets (2 items)
28. Edmonton Oilers (1 item)
29. Ottawa Senators (1 item)
30. NHL Logo (1 item)
What is exceptionally odd is how three Canadian NHL teams (Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton) have few items available. This is somewhat explainable in that this is a US-based web store, and as such they don't have much available.
It does indicate, though, what teams are thought of as "most important" to NHL marketing.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Now that we're headed into the final week of the Olympics, some thoughts on Sochi 2014:
- I am saddened and puzzled about the performance of the women's (and men's) Olympic curling teams. Based upon the amount of participation and dedication to the sport, you'd think that the bonspiels during the Winter Olympiad would be three teams - Canada, Great Britain, and the US. And yet, the shot selection and performance of team USA has been less than stellar on the big stage since the sport became an Olympic event. If anyone can explain it to me, please do so.
- It was almost predictable: all the complaints and issues about the accommodations in Sochi prior to the games have gone by the wayside. Now, they're just whining about the lack of snow in a venue located along one of the warmer spots in Russia.
- Will women's hockey go the route of women's softball in the winter Olympics? I doubt it, for one primary reason: men's hockey isn't going anywhere, unlike the counterpart to softball in the summer games (baseball).
- Speaking of men's hockey: I have severe doubts that the NHL will participate in the games at Pyeongchang, Korea in 2018. The NHL's going to be concentrating more on their 100th anniversary season that year, and the idea of stopping everything and going over to Korea isn't high on their agenda. Would there suddenly be a rash of "Olympic participation clauses" in player contracts? I doubt it, because who would know that far in advance that they'd be playing in the Olympics?
- Shawn White's lack of success in these games is, indeed, a good thing for the sport of snowboarding and freestyle skiing, just as Bode Miller's lack of success on the slopes is also a good thing: it gives other competitors the spotlight, and it shows that a sport isn't a one-man (or person) show.
- Anyone remember when the USA was dominant in speed skating? I must be incredibly old or something, because I vaguely remember people like Eric Heiden, Dan Jansen and Bonnie Blair being heroes in the sport. Now, it's right back to the days of when the Netherlands dominated the sport. I don't buy the argument that it's the suits, either. You either perform well or you don't; anything else is an excuse.
- As for excuses - there is none for the poor level of officiating in the hockey tournament in these games. Yes, I know, the officials are probably working together for the first time ever, but the game should be called the same, period.
- I personally believe the whole brouhaha over Evgeni Plushenko's decision to pull out of the men's skating competition at the last moment is only because of who he is and where and when he did it. And, in the long run, no one outside of Russia will much care about it.
- Ashley Wagner's meme is going to run its course, just like McKayla Maroney's back in 2012. Thankfully.
- This ten hour time difference is the real killer of TV ratings for NBC. It wouldn't surprise me that whoever takes the rights to the Olympics beyond 2020 in Tokyo will probably seek to put much of the competition video online.
- I'll just say it right now: it's sad when you're wishing you could go to the Winter Olympics so you can warm up.