OTHER

My Name Is PJ And I Think “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Stinks!

I know this isn’t the spiciest take that I’m ever gonna write up. There are a lot of people out there who stand by me on this. But there are way, way, way more people who think calling this song overrated is straight up heresy. Us haters cannot be the silent minority any longer. Now I would never suggest that those personally victimized by Mariah Carey should start our own #MeToo movement or anything like that. But say one of these victims has a blog, then it would be his/her moral responsibility to speak up. We need to fight back against the unstoppable tide that is this song every December. You can’t spend over an hour surfing the web around this time a year without stumbling upon an article from some bullshit site like BuzzFeed or Elite Daily that’s headlined “19 Times You Literally Didn’t Even Know That You Need ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’” or “YASSS QUEENS IT’S MARIAH SEASON.” And it’s definitely not just girls who lose their shit over this song. I’ve seen some alpha personalities react to it coming on like a teenage girl seeing Paul McCartney in 1964. Football teams are using it as the music for postgame flash mobs, because that’s apparently something we’re still doing. It’s everywhere, and it’s fucking unbearable.

My biggest gripe with the song is that it’s just not Christmassy. It’s neither holly nor jolly! The best Christmas songs are the ones you can just kick back to at a gathering with family or close friends. I’m talking Bing Crosby BANGERS. If your family listens to “All I Want For Christmas For You” while decorating the tree or while curled up near the fireplace with some eggnog, then please forget to invite me to your next Christmas party. But just because I’m anti-Mariah doesn’t mean I’m anti-fun with my Christmas jukebox. Please do not mistake this as a recommendation to hold hands and sing every verse of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” Some of my favorite Christmas songs are poppy, but this one is just too damn over-the-top. It sounds like it belongs in a shopping montage in a Hallmark movie. It sounds like it belongs in a JCPenney commercial. Where it doesn’t sound like it belongs is the North Pole. Like, could you imagine Mariah personally caroling this song to you and thinking it’s festive? Heck no! But say five strapping young men named Justin, JC, Lance, Joey, and Chris offered to perform “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” right at your doorstep? Heck yes!

And I don’t think I’m crossing any lines here when I say that everyone knows Mariah Carey is kinda a bitch diva bitch right? No one is mistaking her for Mrs. Claus. There’s just a 0% chance her assistants get off on the 25th. Like it’s not a question of whether or not she gets coal for Christmas…it’s a question of whether or not she gets that fossil fuel shit or beautiful clean coal, which is totally a real thing. There’s nothing wrong with a little sass around the holidays either, but it’s gotta be endearing. Just look at Hermey from Rudolph:

Hermey

He pretty much tells the other elves to talk to the hand when they get on his case about making toys, but that’s only because my dude is daydreaming about becoming a dentist. And it’s not exactly like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin were choirboys in their heyday. But renegades like Sinatra, Martin, and Hermey are guys we can get behind. Can we really say the same about the former Mrs. Nick Cannon? Her high notes used to be 98 MPH fastballs, but nowadays she’s out there lobbing knuckleballs that barely reach the plate. Just listen to her “singing” the song back in 2014:

Or who could forget her iconic performance from earlier this year on the Seventh Day of Christmas, AKA New Year’s Eve:

I award her zero swans a-swimming for that! Mariah might have been elected Queen of Christmas through some societal Electoral College system based on radio plays and Twitter mentions, but you know what I say to that? She’s #NotMyQueenOfChristmas. There are so many good candidates for the throne out there too! May I suggest the voice behind “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and total Mariah Carey lookalike Brenda Lee?

And you know what the worst part is? The song is only getting bigger. It just charted in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. At this rate it’s gonna be the 2037 Song of the Summer. That is, unless we keep fighting the good fight against it. You might still like the song despite this incredibly convincing argument that I’ve beautifully laid out against it. Or you might be thinking, “hey asshole, if you’re such an expert then why don’t you write a better song?” Um, would you ask Barbra Streisand to write a Christmas song? Didn’t think so. Instead, I’ll give you a diverse set of superior jingles. I present…

The #Nice List

“It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” – Andy Williams

“A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Burl Ives

“Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms

“Sleigh Ride” – The Ronettes

Personal Mt. Rushmore of the classics. Ton of acceptable alternates out there…unless you’re thinking “Santa Baby.”

“Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town” – Bruce Springsteen

“Wonderful Christmastime” – Paul McCartney

Little Sick Nick” – The Beach Boys

Turns out people who are really good at making everyday music are also really good at making Christmas music.

 “Christmas Wrapping” – The Waitresses

My all-time favorite. It’s funky and spirited at the same time. I’m smiling ear-to-ear for every single second of it. Oh, you think it’s “too weird?” Well the Grinch called, and he says to cheer the fuck up.

“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

No better song to have come on at your hometown bar on December 23rd when you’re surrounded by some old friends and some people you’d pay to never have to talk to again. A few lyrics haven’t aged very well, but overall it’s the best Christmas drinking song.

 “Christmas In Hollis” – Run-D.M.C.

Now I’ve never experienced Christmas time in Hollis, Queens where mom is cooking chicken and collard greens, but it sounds like a real hoot!

The One That’s Used In Every Crazy Lights Video – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

I headbang for Jesus.

“Feliz Navidad” – Jose Feliciano

¡Sí!

“Linus And Lucy” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Who needs words? Affectionately called “the Charlie Brown one,” this song pretty much serves as the theme song for Christmas. Also the Foo Fighters cover of it on SNL from last weekend is must-watch.

Anything By The Glee Cast – The Glee Cast

Glee was on the air for like five seasons too long, but those outcasts could put together a Christmas album. Pentatonix is also an excellent go-to source for any Christmas cover. But you know who is not? Michael fucking Buble. I. Cannot. Stand. Buble. (Of course I’m rooting for his kid that has cancer, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to hate on his dad’s lounge singer bullshit.) (Also never forget that he cheated on Emily Blunt.) HEY BUBLE…YOU OVER-ANNUNCIATE EVERY GODDAMN LETTER OF EVERY GODDAMN WORD, BUT YOU STILL CAN’T PUT THE G AT THE END OF ANY VERB THAT ENDS IN –ING?!?!

 

 

Any other songs that deserved some recognition? Let me know on Twitter @Real_Peej

Advertisement
OTHER

Capes And Tights: Fixing What’s Broken In The DCEU

This is not going to be some guy just shitting on DC movies. Because frankly, I take some serious enjoyment from some of them. It’s undeniable, however, that the DC superhero films are in a state of disarray. Plagued by overarching tonal issues, unappealing characters, and a Zack Snyder-aesthetic that all films following Man Of Steel had to somewhat abide to.

There have officially been five films that we can categorize in the DC superhero subgenre: Man Of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and Justice League. It’s colloquially referred to as the “DCEU”, the DC Extended Universe (DC publicly stated that they have never used this name, and it instead picked up steam in the media). But for the sake of convenience, I’ll be using the name throughout. It’s foolish to assume that movie studios are driven by anything other than profit, so it is not a leap to imagine that DC (a subsidiary of Warner Bros.) saw what was happening with Marvel Studios and felt some serious dollar envy. Putting aside any artistic passion or fan satisfaction gained from the masses seeing their favorite characters on the big screen, Warner Bros. realized just how much money they could make from an interconnected cinematic universe. You know when you copy someone’s homework but they tell you to change it a little so that you won’t get in trouble? That’s what DC tried to do.

It started with their first swing, Man Of Steel, in 2013. Critical and commercial reception aside for now, DC immediately began announcing slated superhero movies through the year 2022. They had a plan, and they needed us to know what was on the horizon. Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a bang, and up until about the early 2000’s he was a C-level character in popularity among fans and little known in the public eye. The most popular fictional character in the world vs. “some guy,” and some guy helmed a better and more popular movie. The big wigs at Warner Bros. have been scrambling ever since, so let’s discuss ways that they could improve:

The Zack Snyder Aesthetic

For many years Snyder was described as a “visual director.” That seems to be a friendly way of saying that he had a tendency for style over substance. In certain situations it definitely worked…his films looked different, they stood out, and people enjoy variety. But you can watch any Zack Snyder film and see that he opts for a desaturated color palette. His choice to color-correct/grade his films to an inhuman visual level has not gone over well with fans. Snyder has an affinity for his protagonists to come off as “badass,” and he sees some sort of connection with gritty/rough coloration and that portrayal.

In a world full of superhero movies, this just looks fucking weird. We’re used to seeing colors flying across the screen. Superman wears bright red and blue, and there’s a genuine connection between his bright world and his optimistic, hopeful personality. Snyder abandons both in his films, and the movie fails to connect. In his follow-up crossover, Batman v Superman, the coloration is the same. Superman flies drearily around a muted world, mundanely saving his worshippers in grey skies. Then came along David Ayer’s Suicide Squad where the colors came knocking. And to be totally frank, it looked wrong. The colorful characters inside a world that had been constructed by someone else just didn’t quite fit. But this is what leads us to Wonder Woman. Patty Jenkins constructed her own world, and while color and lighting weren’t the only strengths that made this movie superior to its cousins, they definitely helped. (The time period shift probably had something to do with Warner Bros. allowing it.) Diana clearing no-man’s land in her shining armor, defiant against a maelstrom of bullets, is like the symbolic champion of her color over the palette of war-torn Europe.

We don’t need every character wearing hot pink or bright yellow. Maybe just give us a world where the trees are green and the skies are blue. Move away from the Zack Snyder established aesthetic and into a world that lends itself to the stories being told.

Unappealing Characters

This is an obvious make-or-break for any film franchise. Individual films can sometimes get away with poorly constructed or unappealing characters, but in a franchise the viewers demand growth. Superman has been a sad boy, Batman murders everyone, The Flash never shuts the fuck up, and everyone in Suicide Squad (excluding the extended edition) is only defined by their intro scenes.

Again, I do believe that Zack Snyder’s take on characters is that good guys are badasses, villains are nerds, and bad guys just want to punch you. This is why we got two entire films about Superman feeling sad and isolated and then saving humanity…for what reason exactly? Batman’s .50 caliber killing spree bewildered everyone, just everyone. As an audience, we weren’t ready for any of this. Because these aren’t the characters that we know. These characters are not living up to their previous depictions – the Superman symbol and the Bat insignia are two of the most recognizable symbols in the world. The Flash was Justice League’s comic relief, but instead of just quipping or hitting one-liners, he was given a personality that didn’t know anything about the world. As if he had never communicated with a human being before, or even seen human beings communicate on TV. Presumably the studio thought this would make him more easily digestible, so that we know we are supposed to laugh every time The Flash talks.

There are decades of valuable source material that show fully constructed blueprints to get the characters to a place that audiences appreciate. People who love Batman blowing up henchmen and claim, “that’s what happened in the comics”…yeah they clearly don’t read comics. Because almost anything imaginable has happened with EVERY character. People are always switching to the evil side, becoming zombies, betraying their allies, and every other twist that you can think of — it comes with the territory when you’re in constant publication for 75 years. But GOOD comics exist, and they aren’t hard to find. Those are the ones that people talk about, and those are usually paramount in the construction of the characters that we pay money to see. Warner Bros. needs to shift their focus to telling stories about characters with human personality and problems. (“But he’s a Kryptonian!!!” Fuck off.)

And no, I won’t talk comics with you because I’m too busy reading comics getting chicks.

The Tone

You can probably guess my thoughts on this one. It’s weird to watch Clark Kent kill tens of thousands of innocent bystanders fighting Zod and then make out with Lois Lane in the wreckage. Sad Boy Superman is the wrong tone…check the earnings for any Marvel movie to reaffirm that. Now I don’t think Marvel gets nearly enough criticism for throwing in humor and undercutting their own dramatic climaxes, but DC could undoubtedly use a bit more levity. Batman v Superman is a slog through the mud, a war of attrition between viewer and screen. Morose, macabre, and oddly pessimistic, fans did not respond well. Suicide Squad spends the entire film selling us the idea that these bad guys don’t play by the rules. When push comes to shove they’ll break from convention to serve their own interests, which is what makes them interesting. But once the final act rolls around, the characters follow all of the normal tropes and conventions. They sacrifice themselves for the team and the greater good, and their personal altruism wins out over self-preservation. And the quirky characters can stand out against a tone, that’s what makes them work, but the characters’ quirks control the tone.

justice league

Justice League made strides to work towards a lighter tone. It had the fingerprints of two directors, but I think the decision was a correct one. Hopefully as the franchise continues, they keep moving in that direction. There is a direct correlation between the characters in DC and the tone they should strike, especially in the crossovers. The Justice League is NOT The Avengers. The Avengers is much closer to a private strike force, and the Justice League is much closer to a pantheon of gods. The Justice League has to be facing world-ending threats, and even then, that might not be a problem for them. So, the tone has to match that. The appeal of the film has to come from the characters and the story. Not a dramatic tonal shift in the final act that makes us believe a big ol’ fight where some of our characters may die is the key to our enjoyment. More than anything, DC would benefit from a consistent tone throughout, ideally one of more lightheartedness than what we have seen so far. These characters have the power to inspire and empower; within their worlds, and into ours.

 

Despite the clear problems that we all see, I find plenty of things that I like. Yes, I’m carrying over some serious bias. Yes, I’ve loved these characters my entire life, so I give them a pass on a lot of things. But I’m not so blinded that it makes me love the movies unconditionally. The magic of seeing these characters on screen can only hold so much weight. It’s been very hip to refer to Justice League as a box office bomb, but it has a reported budget of $300 million and is about to hit $600 million in worldwide earnings. So, let’s not pretend like the sky is falling. There have been some incredibly beautiful moments. When Clark Kent takes his first flight, when Diana realizes that Men can be evil on their own, when Bruce Wayne charges into the collapsing skyscraper…these flashes give me hope. Even in a world full of negativity and entrenched cynics, I am eternally optimistic. I want every one of these movies to be good. I want to love them all. Maybe they just need a few changes.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexIanGarcia

OTHER

I’m Not Positive That Riverdale Is Actually Good, But You Should Definitely Be Watching It

Let the record show that I love teen dramas. I’d call them my “guilty pleasures,” but I don’t feel guilty about it whatsoever. The truth is, you probably feel the same way even if you don’t identify as a fan of the genre. So you just happened to walk into the living room right as your sister was starting new episodes of One Tree Hill? Got it. You watched Friday Night Lights only for the football scenes? Ok dude. Now I can admit that shitty teen dramas are some of the trashiest TV you’ll ever watch, but when these kinds of shows are hitting the right notes, it’s can’t-miss stuff. I maintain that Season 1 of The O.C. is one of the best television seasons of this millennium, and I kept watching Degrassi WAY after guys my age presumably stopped watching the show. If you’re like me and have shows like Mr. Robot in your weekly rotation that make your brain hurt, then you need a popcorn show that makes you say shit like “ugh that BITCH.” May I suggest Riverdale?

Based off Riverdale’s strong ratings and Netflix popularity, there’s a solid chance you already watch the show or have at least heard of it. But if not, don’t worry about it. Allow me to catch you up to speed like Jughead does before every episode (I’ll be much less of an ass about it). Riverdale is based on Archie Comics, with the main cast taking the exact character names and looks. You don’t need to know anything about the comics (I didn’t) to quickly understand what’s going on. These characters fit perfectly into the teen drama stereotypes that have been around since 90210. And while the show does a good job of paying homage to its source material, it still takes place in 2017. Like Betty and Veronica have their face-to-face meetings while drinking milkshakes at Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe, but most of their communication happens through texting. Oh yeah…it’s also a murder-mystery that takes place in a paranormal town! YUP, it’s a pretty weird show.

I’ll avoid major spoilers in here since this blog exists as a recommendation to watch the show, but here’s something you’ll discover pretty much immediately: all of the characters are hot. It’s the foolproof formula of casting borderline models or actual models in their twenties to play high schoolers that has been followed by…well…just about every teen drama ever. But for a show that prides itself on being progressive and self-aware, you’d think that Riverdale maybe wouldn’t prioritize looks during its casting. NOPE! They brilliantly did the opposite and chose to flaunt it. Within the first five minutes of the pilot, you see Betty in a bra and a shirtless Archie flexing his abs. One of the literal first lines of the show is, “Gamechanger! Archie got hot!” And judging by the multitude of babes that Archie gets with and the reactions of just about every girl I know who watches the show, he is, in fact, hot (which is beyond impressive considering it looks like they dyed his hair using a Ronald McDonald Halloween kit). There’s a representative for just about anyone’s type: you have the sweet girl-next-door Betty (#TeamBetty for life), the spunky it-girl Veronica, the crazy redhead Cheryl, the fiercely independent Josie and her Pussycats, the friendly jock Archie, the mysterious hipster Jughead (I’m being generous here…I don’t get the love for him at all), the suddenly jacked gay-best-friend Kevin…and those are just the kids on the show. But Riverdale fans of all genders and orientations know what’s good…its ladies run the show. If they aren’t already, then Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes are bound to become the next Blake Lively and Leighton Meester. They both seem like locks to become stars. (Realize I’m swimming near the shallow end here, so I should acknowledge that they’d become super famous mainly because they’re both legitimately great actresses. But yeah…it definitely helps that they’re really fucking hot.)

riverdale-betty-veronica

The actual best thing about Riverdale though is how it owns its identity as a teen drama while staying extremely original. It mostly avoids the common and overdone tropes of the genre, and when Riverdale goes conventional, it does so almost to the point of satire. Like there isn’t nearly as much jealousy and heartbreak as you’d probably expect for a show like this, and when there is it’s usually subplot. The writing is sharp, filled with witty pop culture references and metahumor, and avoids those cringy instances of adults trying to write how they think teens actually talk…for the most part. (I still haven’t fully recovered from the early “you totally would’ve been a trending topic last year” line yet.) The storylines never really go full soap opera, and Season 1 moves along at an exciting pace with a climax that is some truly gripping shit. The town of Riverdale also could not be any more different than the settings of most of the classics. It’s a place that’s constantly foggy, dimly lit, and probably wouldn’t show up on any maps. For a show that airs on The CW and probably shares a huge chunk of its audience with the Kardashians, its production value is pretty incredible. They totally nail the aesthetics of a creepy yet charming town that looks like it’s constantly time traveling between the 1950s and 2017. It’s apparently a small town, but it still manages to be filled with murderers, Ponzi schemers, gangs…just about every type of criminal you can imagine. It’s a completely unrealistic story in a completely unrealistic place, but that’s 100% intentional and honestly what makes the show so addicting.

I’m hyping up Riverdale like it’s the greatest show ever and deserving of all the Emmys. That is…not the case. There is A LOT to criticize here. The pilot does a solid job of introducing us to the town and the characters, but its plot is almost irrelevant to the point where it seems like the writers changed their minds on the direction of the show after its script was finished. (Seriously, would we think Archie and Betty even like each other’s company if she wasn’t constantly reminding us that they’re best friends?) The show also aims to be as #woke as possible, and they miss the mark a few times with it. Like the episode all about slut shaming definitely had a strong message, but Betty and Veronica’s methods of shaming the slut shamer are so preposterous that the message kinda gets lost in the shuffle. Or how about when Josie tells Archie that the Pussycats only play songs written by people of color, and then Archie writes them some music like two seconds later? (To be fair, a lot of Riverdale’s social commentary is effective. Season 2’s tension between the powerful Northsiders and marginalized Southsiders is topical, unforced, and fits naturally into the story.) I’m also concerned that the show might go so extreme on the absurdity with some of its elements that it could start to border on disinteresting. This is the exact issue that derailed The O.C. in my opinion, and we’ve seen flashes of it in Season 2 with Jughead. (Jughead is played by Cole Sprouse…yes, the wimpier twin from the Suite Life…and this season he *MINOR SPOILER* becomes the de facto leader of a biker gang. It’s just about as convincing as it sounds.) And do not even get me started on Archie’s singing scenes or the HUUUUUGE misfire also known as the Ms. Grundy storyline.

But all things considered, I could not recommend Riverdale highly enough. It’s as close to a phenomenon as a network show can really be anymore, and it’s always good to be in the know of whatever is so hot right now. And if you’re adamantly against watching it because it’s “for chicks” or something like that, then it sounds like you could use Riverdale as a conversation point at bars instead of your fantasy football teams. Like I mentioned earlier, Season 1 is already streamable on Netflix and we’re only about halfway through Season 2. So cancel whatever plans you might have with other human beings next weekend, get comfortable, lock yourself in your bedroom, and set aside a huge chunk of time. Because I guarantee once you start watching Riverdale, you’re not gonna want to stop until you’re caught up.

 

Follow PJ on Twitter @Real_Peej

OTHER

Lets Move 9 NHL Teams To Canada and Create the Great North American Sports Rivalry

Let me put this out there before I get too into the plan: this is actually a terrible idea. From business and logistical standpoints, it would be an absolute shitstorm for the NHL. It would make Gary Bettman look like Gary Busey. Uprooting franchises sucks, and something tells me a mass exodus to that ice desert known as Canada would not be well received. BUT JUST THINK HOW COOL IT WOULD BE.

Something else probably worth mentioning before I unveil this ridiculous idea: the NHL is fine. Stanley Cup Finals TV ratings will probably never compare to the other Big 4 leagues, but the numbers are up big compared to those scary post-lockout days. A 20-year old won the MVP last season. The Winter Classic is awesome. And purists of the league can still bank on ancient traditions like the Capitals choking in the second round. Still, all this isn’t to say that the league can’t get bigger and better. There’s definitely major room for improvement in America when it comes to publicity for NHL players. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are legends in their home countries, but I’m not sure they’d get swarmed in any American malls outside of Pittsburgh and DC. Auston Matthews is essentially Steph Curry in Toronto, but even in his home state of Arizona he’s more like Zaza Pachulia.

Hockey is at its best when there’s international ramifications involved. The gold medal game at the 2010 Winter Olympics between the US and Canada is easily the most hype hockey game of my lifetime. Zach Parise suddenly became a common knowledge name to sports fans with his game-tying goal, but before the game I would’ve guessed that Parise rhymes with Clarice. And that’s coming from someone who follows the NHL at a decent level. Casual sports fans probably think TJ Oshie is a Top 10 player in the league ever since he single-handedly beat Russia in a shootout in the 2014 Olympics. Oshie is good but yeah…that’s not the case.

And if you ask me, things are just too damn cordial between the US and Canada these days. Just look at how their pretty boy Prime Minister diplomatically accepted this mental undressing from the First Daughter. We would’ve unleashed Mad Dog Mattis on his ass for half of that back in the day. And we know those Canadians with their universal healthcare and next-to-nothing crime rates and generally more positive outlooks on life can’t be trusted for anything, so it’s once again left up to us to start this war. The current NHL structure in theory should set up some US vs. Canada battles in the Stanley Cup Finals, but go figure, they can’t uphold their end of the bargain. So we’re gonna do what Americans do best: rig the system and create some totally unnecessary tension.

LOCKS TO STAY (14)

  • Original Six (Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings)

I’m crazy but I’m not an anarchist.

  • Other 5 Canadian Teams (Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators)

Even though the team that plays in Canada’s fucking capital couldn’t sell out its arena for playoff games, it would be counterproductive to uproot any of the existing Canadian teams. I warned you that this isn’t the best idea.

  • Metropolitan Powerhouses (Washington Capitals, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins)

These teams aren’t Original Six, but they’re the next closest things. They’ve all been around since players didn’t wear helmets, they’ve each spent time as the class of the league, and they’re now integral to the NHL’s identity.

YEAH THEY AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE (5)

  • St. Louis Blues

People may think that St. Louis is a dying sports city because the Rams just bailed, but the Cardinals are one of the most successful MLB teams and I think the Blues have the potential to get there in the NHL. They have a ton of young talent and were among the league leaders in attendance last season. I’m also not gonna be the one to stomp on Tony X’s mojo.

  • Los Angeles Kings

You’ll soon realize that I’m not crazy about hockey teams in warm places. But the Kings were a part of the NHL’s original expansion, they’ve won two Stanley Cups this decade, and they’ve done the impossible by finding a loyal fanbase in LA.

  • Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning are probably the most surprising team in this tier, but honestly they are closer to being a lock than a team missing the cut. They do well in attendance, have some solid history, and officially became a free agent destination once Steven Stamkos chose to come back.

  • Nashville Predators

Carrie Underwood. Last year’s Finals run with their insane home-ice advantage put Smashville on the map, and I don’t think they’re going away any time soon. Also, Carrie Underwood.

  • Minnesota Wild

You can always bank on the Wild for an embarrassing postseason exit, but you can also bank on them to dominate in attendance and land some of the biggest free agents.

JUST MADE THE CUT (3)

  • New Jersey Devils

Mayyybe there’s some bias here because I’m from Jersey. But the Devils have been to the Finals in each of the last three decades and low-key have themselves a really nice arena. And c’mon, New Jersey has way too many fucking people not to have a professional team of its own.

  • Buffalo Sabres

When I first came up with this idea, I thought the Sabres would be on the chopping block for sure. But the more I thought about it, the more I think that the Sabres will become the next Predators within 5-10 years. The roster has some building blocks in place and they’re in a trendy sports city. If Bills Mafia gets ahold of a sick hockey team? Literally stay 100 miles outside the Buffalo city limits.

  • San Jose Sharks

Not gonna lie, I’m not psyched about the Sharks being the last team in. I don’t think the Bay Area needs a hockey team. But they do well enough in attendance and it feels like they’re in the playoffs every year. Plus the Shark Tank is one of the better stadium nicknames in sports. And for those reasons, they are not out.

EXPANSION TEAMS (2)

  • Vegas Golden Knights

If I had written this blog last year, there’s no shot I would’ve given Vegas a team. But the Golden Knights have been ELECTRIC so far and Vegas seems to have something real. The jerseys aren’t any fun to look at, but everything else about the Golden Knights is awesome.

  • Second Toronto Team

The first new team! With only 31 teams currently in the league, everyone knows another NHL squad is coming soon to balance things out. While there’s a good chance the 32nd team actually ends up in Seattle, we’re gonna follow the blueprint and bring the team north of the border. Toronto is hockey-obsessed and is the fourth most populated city in North America, so the potential fans are definitely there. A lot of people way richer than me have fought to bring a second team to T Dot and have even submitted stadium proposals, but it just hasn’t happened yet. This team will be the NHL equivalent of the Mets, and everyone knows they have the happiest fans in all of sports.

The Move: And the newest NHL team is…the Toronto Toros! I was gonna suggest the IceHogs since “Hogtown” is apparently a nickname for Toronto, but I was STUNNED to find that the name is already taken by the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. The Toros were an actual team from 1973-1976 in the World Hockey Association. The WHA was the biggest ever competitor to the NHL and was the original home of the Oilers and Jets. Plus, they already have a pretty dope logo and jersey.

JUST MISSED THE CUT (1)

  • New York Islanders

If I take any shit for this blog, I expect it to be for this decision. I have a good amount of friends who are Islanders fans, and it’s not ideal to move a team that has won four Stanley Cups. But facts are facts, and the facts are this team is essentially homeless. The move to Brooklyn was an unmitigated disaster, so much so that a bid has already been made to bring the team back to Long Island. But let’s be real about Long Island’s Team…does the NHL really need Long Island’s team? They finished in the Bottom 10 of capacity attendance in each of their last five seasons playing in Nassau Coliseum, including a dead last finish in 2010-2011.

The Move: And the New York Islanders become…the St. John’s Islanders! Probably not the best call to have this as the first relocation idea since it’s the least plausible. Newfoundland and Labrador has roughly the population of Wyoming, but almost half of the province’s people live in St. John’s. It was also the home to the Canadians’ AHL team until this year, and the city is supposedly working to bring professional hockey back ASAP. I’m usually gonna get more creative with names for the new teams, but this serves as a nod to the Islanders’ actually good history and makes sense for their new home. Newfoundland is, news to me, an island. It was originally settled as a fishing town too, so the Islanders can still roll out these alternates that everybody totally loves. St. John’s is also so far east that it might as well be in fucking Greenland, so the Islanders overnight go from one of the worst home-ice advantages to one of the best.

YEAH THEY GOTTA GO (4)

  • Colorado Avalanche

Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure like 99% of tourism to the Denver area is based around winter sports. And yet people there still don’t give a shit about the Avalanche. No one goes to the games, the team blows, the uniforms are ugly…they won’t be missed.

The Move: And the Colorado Avalanche become…the Quebec Nordiques! My last relocation suggestion was probably the most ridiculous, but this one might be the sanest because I could actually see it happening. It makes zero sense that Quebec City doesn’t have a NHL team. The Nordiques played in the league from 1979-1995 until they became the Avalanche, and I’m pretty sure that no take-backsies agreements expire after 22 years.

  • Columbus Blue Jackets

The Blue Jackets have actually put a really solid squad together lately, but no one in the Buckeye State has seemed to notice. They have some pretty dismal attendance figures, including a last place finish in capacity percentage in 2012-13. Turns out people in the Rust Belt didn’t take to ice hockey. Who would’ve guessed?

The Move: And the Columbus Blue Jackets become…the Brunswick IceJacks. We have ourselves another shaky suggestion since New Brunswick has less people than North Dakota, but this one could actually work. A 2013 study by FiveThirtyEight estimates that the Saint John-Moncton market has more hockey fans than seven actual NHL markets. And after reading more Wikipedia pages on Canadian history than one person should ever do, I’ve learned that New Brunswick also has some proud heritage in forestry. You can already imagine a logo of some grizzly dude taking a jackhammer to the ice.

  • Anaheim Ducks

If we’re blowing up the system, the first rule that goes out the window is that the LA area needs two pro teams for every league. The Ducks have done just about everything possible to piss off hockey fans lately too. They chose to distance themselves from one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time but for some reason still kept the Ducks name, ditched the D3 jerseys for maybe the grossest look in all of sports, and fielded a roster full of players that everyone hates. I’d move this team to the Yukon Territory if I weren’t taking this mildly seriously.

The Move: And the Anaheim Ducks become…the Victoria Cougars! It’s pretty weird that no professional North American team is the Cougars, and in my head actual cougars just roam the streets in Canada. So I knew I wanted to make one of these fictional teams the Cougars, and Victoria was on my short list of cities to make the cut since it’s pretty much a consolation prize for Seattle. And THEN I discovered the Victoria Cougars were an actual team back in the day. Not only that, in 1925 they won the Stanley Cup! Yeah…THAT Stanley Cup. Welcome back!

  • Dallas Stars

It’s hard to find a more “meh” sports team than the Stars. I really don’t have much to say about them. They’re just so boring that it feels like they need a fresh start. I feel like you could make a lot of money in the future challenging people at sports bars to name the 1999 Stanley Cup champs.

The Move: And the Dallas Stars become…the Hamilton Steelheads! Students, if you could now take out your Canadian Geography textbooks. You might be thinking it’s overkill the cram three NHL teams into a small part of Ontario with Buffalo right nearby too, but this would be fine. First things first, the dude who founded BlackBerry has actually been trying for a while to hijack any American team and bring it to Hamilton. Also think about it this way: right now the New York/New Jersey market has three teams with Buffalo kinda close by and that’s worked out ok enough for the NHL. Now peep that FiveThirtyEight article I referenced before and check out how the Greater Toronto area has roughly more than twice the amount of NHL fans than the NYC/NJ region. As for the team name, the city is called “Steeltown” since the steel industry has apparently always been the backbone of Hamilton’s economy. Take that, do a little play on words with a common North American fish, and we have a solid name for the new hockey town.

LOCKS TO LEAVE (3)

  • Arizona Coyotes

All right, I know I’ve opted to let Los Angeles and Tampa keep their hockey teams. But fucking PHOENIX cannot have a team. It’s like 120 degrees there every single day. Not only that, but the Coyotes have ZERO history and all of the 80 year olds who live there during the winter are playing bridge or watching NCIS instead of going to games. The ice is figuratively and literally melting for this team.

The Move: And the Arizona Coyotes become…the Saskatchewan Stags! The common theme with this tier is that all of these relocation ideas are pretty reasonable options that should be heavily explored but probably won’t be. Even though the home base of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (god dammit Canada) would be the smallest market in the NHL, even including my other suggestions besides St. John’s, the people would come Ray. The people most definitely would come. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are pretty much the Packers of the CFL. Their fans are rowdy as hell and apparently pretty welcoming too since they recently opened their arms for Trent Richardson. There’s already a NHL-sized arena in Saskatoon and you gotta figure these lunatics would fill it up night after night. The Stags is also a layup of a team name when you consider the white-tailed deer is the province animal and that alliterative names are inherently better.

  • Carolina Hurricanes

I’m gonna have to spend a little extra time on this section, because the Carolina Hurricanes in all actuality might not be a team in 5-10 years. The good thing about the Canes is their existence makes me feel better about some of my dumber suggestions because Gary Bettman approved putting a pro team in fucking Raleigh. The bad thing about the Canes is I get irrationally angry when I think about how they have a Stanley Cup and the Caps don’t. They’ve actually had a ton of talent come through over the years, but no one besides their 4 fans seemed to care. Seriously, by looking at their arena during games you’d think the Hurricanes play in 1986 Chernobyl. I’d make a hurricane joke about their attendance figures, but I’m pretty sure those will never be in good taste.

The Move: And the Carolina Hurricanes become…the Halifax Highlanders! Halifax should absolutely have a team. The people are there, the interest is there, the arena is already there, and the studies to back up its credibility are there. At this point it’s just about picking the team name. I thought about going with the Ospreys, since it’s the province bird and birds of prey are automatically solid mascots. (I’d argue that every bird is a bird of prey, but that seems like another blog for another time.) The Highlanders is the most common pick around the web, and for good reason. I already mentioned that alliteration gets the people going, and it’s a nice shoutout to the province’s proud Scottish history. Nova Scotia is Latin for “New Scotland,” something I definitely figured out on my own.

  • Florida Panthers

Fun assignment for Thanksgiving dinner: ask one of your aunts what sport the Florida Panthers play and see if hockey is one of her first five guesses. Seriously, why is this team a thing? Did the league see all those Dolphins games in their half-full (I’m a positive guy) stadium and think, “give me some of that!” The team name makes negative sense for the sport, the jerseys look like they belong in some Russian developmental league, and the team happens to suck. Oh, and the funniest thing about the Panthers took a turn for the really creepy over the past few weeks.

The Move: And the Florida Panthers become…the Montreal Maroons! Before you start to think, “well that’s a weird fucking suggestion for a team name,” this was an actual team from 1924 to 1938. And guess what? They won a Stanley Cup…two of them in fact! The Maroons were a successful organization until their sudden demise due to some Canadian economic event called The Great Depression. Seriously though no one thought to try to bring this team back once people, you know, had money again? I’m pretty sure the NHL was just handing out franchises to any rich person with good manners in the 60s and 70s, and “asking nicely” is pretty much Canada’s favorite pastime. Montreal has more than enough people for two teams, and this year a $200 million arena was opened in the suburb of Laval. How about we stop terminating or moving teams that have won the Stanley Cup, ok? (Unless these teams are the New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, or Carolina Hurricanes.)

American East American West Canadian East Canadian West
Boston Bruins Chicago Blackhawks Brunswick IceJacks Calgary Flames
Buffalo Sabres Detroit Red Wings Halifax Highlanders Edmonton Oilers
New Jersey Devils Los Angeles Kings Montreal Canadians Hamilton Steelheads
New York Rangers Minnesota Wild Montreal Maroons Saskatchewan Stags
Philadelphia Flyers Nashville Predators Ottawa Senators Toronto Toros
Pittsburgh Penguins San Jose Sharks Quebec Nordiques Vancouver Canucks
Tampa Bay Lightning St. Louis Blues St. John’s Islanders Victoria Cougars
Washington Capitals Vegas Golden Knights Toronto Maple Leafs Winnipeg Jets

NOW LETS KICK THOSE HOSERS’ TEETH IN AND MAKE THEM EAT THEIR POUTINE THROUGH A STRAW!!!

 

Follow PJ on Twitter at @Real_Peej