Rory Boylen

Rory Boylen is the editor of Post-to-Post and has been with The Hockey News since 2007. A former OMHA referee for 10 years out of Coldwater, Ont., he grew up an unlikely fan of the Florida Panthers and - perhaps even more unlikely - was crushed by Uwe Krupp in 1996. Toss out Big Lebowski lines and he'll be your friend for life.

Roberto Luongo, Al Montoya a good bet to lead Florida back into the playoff picture

Rory Boylen
Roberto Luongo

On Friday, the Florida Panthers signed defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to a three-year contract extension, though the long-time rumor mill subject may not play out all three seasons with the Panthers. We’ll see.

With Kulikov, the Panthers defense is taking pretty good shape. Brian Campbell, despite carrying a very heavy cap hit, is the most productive and best possession player on their blueline. Kulikov and likely third-pair guy Dylan Olsen had positive Corsi relative percentages in 2013-14, while Erik Gudbranson had a 51.2 percent 5-on-5 Corsi for percentage – not bad at all for a defensive blueliner. Willie Mitchell replaces Ed Jovanovski for that experience and Aaron Ekblad is brand new.

Florida is a team of promise and hope that never fulfills its prophecy. Jonathan Huberdeau should bounce back some from a disappointing sophomore season. Aleksander Barkov and Nick Bjugstad have all sorts of potential to become a dominant 1-2 force down the middle, but they’re a few years away from hitting their primes. Jussi Jokinen was a good, quiet signing. Dave Bolland provides depth and, hopefully, doesn’t see more than third or fourth line duty. If the Panthers’ younger players could just grow a little and give the team some more, the pieces would be in place for this team to make a jump up the standings.

Ya. We’ve all heard this tune before.

But what if the Panthers could get into the post-season, or at least into the race, if their kids did not improve at all?

The pieces are in place for that, too. Florida will be in the hunt next season. Read more

NHL logo rankings No. 26: Tampa Bay Lightning

Rory Boylen
lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been around since 1992-93 and have had different variations on their logo, but their current look is the only one that doesn’t have lettering on it.

I’ve got to be honest – when seven THN staffers sat around debating and ranking these logos, I was voting for the Lightning to go a little higher than 26. Usually – though not always – I’m not a fan of logos that have the team’s name in it, so I have to give Tampa Bay credit for dropping the text from their look. The blue lightning bolt and circle may look plain to some, but to my eyes, it’s the most refined look Tampa Bay has had in its 20-plus year history.

But when it came to ranking all 30 NHL logos, Tampa Bay didn’t get much love from most of the seven staffers. It’s plain and it doesn’t grab the attention of everyone. So here we are, with the Lightning ranked at 26, just ahead of the Vancouver Canucks.

Think you can design a logo for Tampa Bay that would make our judges reconsider such a low ranking? Get your creative juices flowing and, using whichever color scheme you want, come up with a new look for Tampa Bay and submit it to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the conclusion of our logo rankings, we’ll share our favorite reader re-designs. And if you enjoyed coming up with a new look for Tampa Bay, try your hand at the other NHL logos too.

HISTORY OF LIGHTNING LOGO
The original Tampa Bay Lightning look was a design put together by Phil Esposito and colleagues Mel Lowell and Henry Paul. From the Lightning’s website:

Together with colleagues Mel Lowell and Henry Paul, Esposito began sketching out designs for what would eventually become the Tampa Bay Lightning logo.

“I literally would go home at night, and sit in my office and draw pictures of lightning bolts on notebook paper,” Esposito said. “And remember, I am no artist. But all of us would come in the next day and sit down with each other to compare what we had come up with. And let me tell you, between the three of us, there was a lot to look at.”

…Initially, Esposito had just settled on a silver lightning bolt with the word “Tampa” across the top. Lowell and Paul then altered it slightly to include the circular backdrop on which it is emblazoned, which still is incorporated in today’s logo, unveiled in the spring of 2011.

Perhaps the most key contribution, however, came from long-time Tampa sports journalist and pioneer Tom McEwen, who advised Esposito to include the word “Bay” as well, signifying a union between Tampa and its neighboring communities.

“Tom told me it had to say “Tampa Bay” no matter what, and that, honestly, was the best decision I could have made at the time,” Esposito said. “There was such a great divide between Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg that I could not believe. So I thought, yes, in order to be successful, we have to unite.”

lightning1

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Ever wanted to be an NHL mascot or anthem singer? Apply to the Calgary Flames

Rory Boylen
Harvey the Hound

Have you ever watched a professional sports mascot do his thing and think “well I could do better than that”?

Have you ever heard a rendition of the national anthem that you didn’t particularly like, laughed at a singer for flubbing the lyrics, or slipping and falling to the ice?

(Feel bad for the lady; still going to watch the video.)

Well, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.

The Calgary Flames have a couple job openings within the organization. First, the team is looking for someone to sing the Canadian and American national anthems at Calgary Flames, Hitmen and lacrosse’s Roughneck games (plus other performances as requested) for the upcoming season.

From the job posting on Workopolis: Read more

NHL logo rankings No. 27: Vancouver Canucks

Rory Boylen
canuckslogo

The Vancouver Canucks have had a few primary logos in franchise history – and we think the current look isn’t very good.

Why? Because in 1995 the Canucks came under control of Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment and though the name was changed to Canucks Sports and Entertainment in 2008, it’s the same thing. And in 1997, the Canucks changed their color and logo away from the streaking skate to the current whale, which could also stand for the ownership company. So this logo promoted the ownership as much as it did the hockey team. Major turn off for us.

But at least with Vancouver being a coastal city the whale jumping up out of the water makes sense. And, of course, the “C” stands for Canucks. So while we aren’t fans of the Canucks logo, it isn’t the worst because a) it’s a logo, unlike Washington’s look, and b) it does make sense for the city.

But we like some of their alternate logos better.

Think you can design an improved logo for the Canucks? As we’ve done with Carolina, Colorado and Washington, we’re opening it up to you, the reader, to get creative and come up with your own design for the Vancouver Canucks. Use whichever color scheme you want, whether it’s the current combination, the old yellow, orange and black, or some other variation, and send it in to editorial@thehockeynews.com. After we’ve finished rolling out all 30 NHL logo rankings, we’ll pick the best redesigns for each team and share them on the blog.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)



North Vancouver’s Joe Borovich
hit the nail on the head with his Stink-in-Rink design for the very first Vancouver Canucks NHL logo. The blue and green color combination connect well and the stick that breaks up the oval makes the logo into a “C” formation for Canucks. Vancouver enjoyed its first success with this logo, finishing atop the Smythe Division in 1974-75, although they were bounced in Round 1 of the playoffs.

This one was so good the team throws back to it often today. The Canucks’ colors and look have changed a few times over the years, but none are better than the original. Here’s hoping the Canucks go back to this look full-time someday. Hey, they’d move up in our rankings.

canucks1

The black, gold and orange (later yellow and red) color scheme was introduced in 1978-79 and though the skate blade was the main logo, the awful, awful jerseys hid it on the shoulder. Rememeber the Flying V? Yikes. Read more

Toronto Maple Leafs only NHL team to crack Forbes’ list of 50 most valuable sports franchises

Rory Boylen
Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have only qualified for the NHL’s post-season once over the past 10 years – pulling it off in a shortened 48-game season – but they’re still the league’s most valuable franchise, according to Forbes’ annual rankings.

The last time Forbes ranked the 30 NHL teams according to value was in November of 2013. Toronto finished atop the list with an estimated $1.15 billion worth and the Rangers came in second at $850 million.

Wednesday, Forbes released its top 50 list of the most valuable sports franchises in the world. The top of the list was dominated by soccer teams, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United taking the top three spots. Thirty of the 32 NFL franchises made the top 50 (Jacksonville and Oakland failed to make the cut) and six baseball teams made it. From the NHL, only Toronto cracked the all-world list. Read more

Watch this trailer for EA’s NHL 15 and get ready for bouncing, rolling pucks

Rory Boylen
nhl15

Just last week, we looked at an NHL 15 trailer that showed off the “Next Generation Player” and how layers would be built into the creation of each individual. Before that, we got a trailer designed to show off the visuals of the game, which will be hockey’s first on the next-generation platforms of Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Now we catch a glimpse of the physics that will make up the NHL 15 world. Not only does this video explore the impact these physics will have on each individual player on or away from the puck, but it also looks at how the puck itself will react. Now it rolls!

Prepare to get incredibly frustrated when the rubber disc jumps over your stick and spoils your breakaway. (Although I thought the pucks already bounced in the corner of NHL 14.) Read more

Will neon green be used on NHL All-Star Game jerseys this season?

Rory Boylen
nhlallstar1

If you care to watch the NHL All-Star Game – and if you do, you probably have kids – you’ll know the league hasn’t used black vs. white jerseys in a long time. They’ve gone with red, white and blue combinations, they’ve tried green and purple. But neon green? That one would be new.

Lo and behold, that may be the direction the NHL goes in its 2015 All-Star Game in Columbus.

A Reebok catalog that became accessible online shows all kinds of apparel from all 30 NHL teams. Then, on Page 94, it starts into all-star paraphernalia. And that’s when we start seeing an awful lot of hints that black and bright, bright green will be a big part of the event.

First clue: take note of the picture above. The Columbus All-Star Game logo features the team’s colors, but above that we see a “00″ that looks like numbers on the back of a jersey. The numbers are black, with a neon green outline.

Hmmmmm.

Second clue: this logo that appears on Page 107 of the catalog.

all-starlogo

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NHL logo rankings No. 28: Washington Capitals

Rory Boylen
capslogo

It’s Day 3 of our NHL logo rankings, so we introduce a look we slotted in at No. 28: The Washington Capitals.

The reason this one didn’t get much love is because it’s less a logo than it is just the team’s name being spelled out. The “T” in Capitals forms a hockey stick that has a red puck next to it and the three stars along the top are an addition to the original look. The red, white and blue colors are representative of the capital city of the USA, but other than that, it’s just “Washington Capitals” in italics. Not much to it.

Past Capitals logos have included an eagle and the Washington Capitol, though they were never embraced and the color scheme changed with them. But you figure there would be a lot of options for any potential new look for Alex Ovechkin’s team. Think you can do a better job coming up with a logo for Washington? Now’s your chance.

Like we have with Carolina and Colorado, we’re inviting you to redesign the Washington Capitals logo. Use whichever color combination you want and submit your new look to editorial@thehockeynews.com. At the end of our logo ranking release, we will run our favorite redesigns from all 30 teams.

(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)

HISTORY OF THE CAPITALS LOGO
In the beginning, the Capitals logo represented the truly awful. In its first season in the NHL, Washington’s 21 points was about half the amount their expansion brothers, the Kansas City Scouts, accumulated. Washington’s .131 points percentage is still the worst in NHL history and in the era of the salary cap floor, it’s hard to imagine a team ever being that bad again.

The first Washington logo was very basic, straightforward and the colors popped. There are some obvious differences between the first Caps logo and the current “throwback” look. The slant of the letters goes to the left instead of the right, there are no stars above “Washington,” the stick is red, the puck is blue and the font is more plain. The Capitals used this logo from their inception in 1974-75 until the 1995-96 season.

washingtonlogo1

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