The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing Part 6

No, New York Islanders fans, you’re not missing your team play in the Barclays Center quite yet. But there’s plenty of other reasons to be disappointed with the lockout this season. See what they are here!

—–The NHL lockout is like playing a dump and chase game, except it doesn’t look like anyone is giving chase.—–

The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing Part 5

Penguins fans, don’t be mad.

Part 5 of WWAM is devoted to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Love em or hate em, they’re an interesting team. So give it a hate click or do it out of curiosity right here.

Continue to check out the Sportz Broz every few days to see a new review of each team as they’re posted. If you’re an NHL fan you won’t regret it.

The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing Part 4

Unfortunately a certain large storm disrupted some of the Keystone Sports Spot’s progress over the last week, but we’re now back up and ready to link you to the next editions of The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing.

Next up in WWAM: Part 4 featuring the Anaheim Ducks and the Calgary Flames.

Click here to check it out!

The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing Part 3

Part 3 is now up on the Sportz Broz.

It features the Washington Capitals, Phoenix Coyotes and New Jersey Devils.

Check it out here!

Enjoy!

The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing Part 2

The next installment of what we’re all missing in the NHL is now up on the Sportz Broz! This segment features the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks. Click here to check it out.

The 2012-2013 NHL Season: What We’re All Missing Part 1

Times are tough hockey fans, but when the going gets tough, hockey fans pull the sweater over that adversity’s head and pummel it. Check out the first installment of “What We’re Missing at The Sportz Broz. It features the Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Enjoy.

The Pittsburgh Logos Project

Before this season, the Toronto Blue Jays, Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles all announced some changes to their look before the season.  The Marlins completely altered their identity. They are now the Miami Marlins and have new colors, logos, uniforms and a new ball park to boot. The Blue Jays and Orioles simply changed their logos back to similar designs they used in the past.

Without question, tons of money was spent in all three cases so the teams could develop these logos, generate interest and marketing campaigns for them, and ultimately decide if they would help the public perception of those teams. (A friend of mine works for the company that rebranded the Marlins and he informed me that the transition was no small financial or physical undertaking.)

Although the Marlins and the Blue Jays both failed to make the playoffs, the Orioles powered their way into the postseason and lost to the Yankees in the ALDS. Regardless, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles and their revamped logo will be thought of as a winning team, especially compared to most other Orioles teams in recent history.

Ultimately that’s what matters.

In my opinion, the primary goal of a logo change is to associate the new logo with a winning team (and winning tradition) and to be accepted by the fans as a true seal of that franchise, both presently and historically. If both of these criteria are met, then merchandise revenue will go through the roof and people will instantly recognize a symbol and think “winner.”

There are a few “winner” symbols that are recognized across the U.S.: the Yankees’ “NY,” the Detroit Redwings’ winged wheel, and of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ triple hypocycloids all come to mind. These are iconic logos long associated with winning, just like the McDonald’s arches is an icon long associated with obesity.

Recently, the success of the Orioles and their new logo got me thinking about the success of the Steel City and its logos.

Pittsburgh has had its fair share of winners throughout its professional sports history. The Steelers have six championships while the Pirates and Penguins have won five and three, respectively. Even without mentioning championships, the Steelers and Pirates are historically winning franchises; the Steelers have a .523 all-time win percentage and the Pirates are at .503 all time. And the Penguins aren’t far behind with an all-time points percentage (points divided by maximum possible points) of .497.

So here’s the question I posed: Where do all the professional Pittsburgh sports logos rank all time in win percentage amongst the three teams?

To answer this question, I keyed in on a few very helpful resources. Using Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page – www.sportsLogos.net (“Your virtual museum dedicated to education of the history of sports logos and sports uniforms.”), I was able to identify practically every logo that the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins ever used. There were a few gaps in which the franchises played but no logos are listed, but for the most part the information is relatively comprehensive. Then, I cross-referenced the logo’s years with the statistical data of each team using www.pro-football-reference.com, www.hockey-reference.com and www.baseball-reference.com.

I compiled all the information and boiled it down to an easy-to-read catalogue of black and gold (and red and blue and a surprising array of other colors used in Pittsburgh logo history) for your browsing pleasure. At the bottom of this entry are charts indicating the chronological order of the logos used for each franchise, as well as each logo’s all-time franchise rank and all-time Pittsburgh rank in win percentage. Before those, you’ll find the win percentage ranking, one by one, of all the logos ever used by the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins.

Disclaimer: Before you check out the list, there are a few things you should know. All the information below is based on the primary logo for each team at that time. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the logo used on the uniforms or even the logo you were most used to seeing most of the time. All of these franchises have used alternate logos throughout their histories (which you might have thought were the “main” logos), but those are not included in this list.

 Secondly, to compare logos across different sports, I used win percentages for football and baseball and points percentage for hockey. They aren’t the same statistic, but both are the most useful in their respective sports to judge the amount of winning the teams had done. Also, ties have a different statistical bearing in the NFL than they do in MLB AND the NHL. Since 1972, the NFL has counted each tie a half a win. So you’re not confused, I counted all ties (even before 1972) into my win percentages for the Steelers.

 Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really doubt there is some type of correlation between win percentage and a primary logo. There have been some studies that suggest there is a correlation between uniform colors and winning, but remember, these primary logos didn’t necessarily appear on the uniforms of the teams they represented. I’m no scientist, but I’m guessing the teams in this list with the highest winning percentages probably would have won just as much had they been represented by any other primary logo.

This is not a scientific study that is meant to be broken down and analyzed in terms of WHY certain logos were successful and WHY others were not. I’m just revealing that some WERE and others WERE NOT. Perhaps the Pirates logo from 1908-1909 had magical powers. Or perhaps it was because those years just happened to feature one of the greatest Pirates to ever play baseball. (I’m guessing the latter.)

 So why, you ask, did I take all the time and do all the work for this list?

 For the sake of fun and curiosity. And because I knew I would uncover some interesting stuff.

Here are some of the fun facts I discovered:

  • The first three primary logos for both the Steelers and Penguins were all losers.
  • The Pirates first primary logo with a win percentage under .500 was their fifth (1915-1919).
  • The longest tenure for any one logo in Pittsburgh is the Steelers fourth franchise logo, which was used for 32 years (1969-2001).
  • The logo with the most championships in Pittsburgh history (four) is also the Steelers fourth franchise logo (1969-2001).
  • The Pirates have had only three logos with losing records in team history (1915-1919, 1948-1959, and 1997-Present).
  • The Pittsburgh logo with the lowest all-time win percentage was the first primary logo for the Steelers. At that time, they were the Pittsburgh Pirates. Go figure. The uniforms worn by the team using that logo are the current Steelers’ throwback uniforms.
  • The Steelers primary logo was actually changed after the 2001 season. Even though it looks practically identical, the new logo (used from 2002 to the present) features slightly darker colors throughout.
  • The Pirates changed their logo 10 times in the franchise’s first 35 years and each time the change was to another depiction of a “P.”
  • Out of the three current primary logos used by the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins, only the Steelers’ logo ranks among of the top 10 all-time Pittsburgh logos in win percentage.
  • All Pittsburgh franchises featured both black and gold in their logos from their inception – except for the Pirates, who didn’t use both colors in their primary logo until 1948.
  • The most successful Pirates logo (and Pittsburgh logo) was used from 1908-1909. Those years also featured arguably the greatest player in Pirates history, Honus Wagner. One of the rarest and most valuable baseball cards in existence is a Wagner card from 1909.
  • Both of the current throwback/alternate uniforms for the Steelers and Penguins were from teams represented by logos with the lowest win percentage each franchise’s respective history (1933-1939 Steelers, 1968/69-1970/71 Penguins).
  • The Pirates are the only Pittsburgh franchise to use the same logo during two, non-consecutive periods in team history (1921 and 1932).
  • All three franchises have used the color blue in the primary logos at some point in their history.
  • Sixty-five percent of all Pittsburgh professional primary logos are winners (17 of 26). Thirteen of those winning logos are from the Pirates franchise.

If there’s anything else you notice and I didn’t mention before, feel free to let me know. But above all else…

Enjoy.

 Starting with the primary logo with the lowest win percentage in Pittsburgh professional sports history…

24. 1933-1939 Pittsburgh Steelers (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Record: 22-55-3

Win percentage: .293%

23. 1968/69-1970/71 Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 67-120-43

Points percentage: .384%

22. 1960-1968 Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 45-72-7

Win percentage: .391%

21. 1948-1959 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 770-1077-10

Win percentage: .417%

20. 1997-Present Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 1115-1473-1

Win percentage: .430%

19. 1915-1919 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 325-401-9

Win percentage: .451%

18. 1967/68 Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 27-34-13

Points percentage: .453%

17. 1971/72-1991/92 Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 654-799-221

Points percentage: .456%

16. 1951-1959 Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 48-57-3

Win  percentage: .458%

T-15. 1936-1947 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 926-909-24

Win percentage: .504%

T-15. 1987-1996 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 787-765-2

Win percentage: .504%

14. 1920 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 79-75-1

Win percentage: .513%

13. 1968-1986 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 1577-1431-3

Win percentage: .523%

12. 1960-1967 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 680-599-3

Win percentage: .532%

11. 2000/01-Present Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 428-363-80

Points percentage: .536%

T-10. 1910-1914 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 411-350-13

Win percentage: .540%

T-10. 1933-1935 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 247-210-1

Win percentage: .540%

9. 1922 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 85-69-1

Win percentage: .552%

8. 1923-1931 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 778-602-8

Win percentage: .563%

7. 1921/1932 Pittsburgh Pirates

Combined record: 176-131-1

Combined win percentage: .573%

6. 1969-2001 Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 292-209-1

Win percentage: .582%

5. 1907 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 91-63-3

Win percentage: .591%

4. 1992/93-1999/00 Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 331-214-75-6

Points percentage: .595%

3. 1900-1906 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 639-377-12

Win percentage: .630%

2. 2002-Present Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 107-57-1

Win percentage: .651

1. 1908-1909 Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 208-98-3

Win percentage: .680%

Here’s the breakdown by chronological order and franchise…

(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE, THEN CLICK YOUR BACK BUTTON TO RETURN TO BLOG ENTRY)

An Ode to Sidney Crosby

I hardly consider myself a poet, but today I felt like I wanted to give a special thanks to Sidney Crosby for agreeing to a 12-year deal worth $104.4 million. What was amazing about the deal wasn’t the length of the contract, but the fact that Sid agreed to never get a raise for the rest of his life. His previous deal paid him $8.7 million a year.

His new deal will pay the same amount.

He could have asked for more money and the Penguins would have given it to him. But he didn’t because he wanted to give the team the cap space to put other quality talent around him.

Sid’s primary goal is to win Stanley Cups.

He knows how it feels to win one and he will never forget how terrific that sensation is. He is a Captain, a leader and the greatest player in the world. Here’s to Sidney Crosby’s unselfish actions. Expect the key to Pittsburgh to be given to him shortly.

An Ode to Sidney Crosby

In sports there are men who come and go,

without much meaning or care.

Then there are men who always know,

the fans who want them there.

—————————————————-

They play hard and say the words,

that are right each and every time.

They carry themselves with pride and calm,

even when things aren’t fine.

—————————————————-

These are the leaders who sacrifice,

for the better good of the whole.

These are men like Sidney Crosby,

who believe that Cups are the only goal.

—————————————————-

In 2005 he came to the Burgh,

touted highly as a star.

Then he proved it with 39 goals,

his stats were right on par.

—————————————————

From then on out he was a leader,

soon getting the “C” on his chest.

But it wasn’t until 2007,

that he proved he was the best.

—————————————————

That’s when he won the Art Ross and Hart,

And was on the NHL first all-star team.

He also won the Lester Pearson,

by winning his peers’ esteem.

—————————————————

In 2009 he helped win the Cup,

in Game 7 on the road.

Becoming the youngest captain ever,

to whom Lord Stanley was bestowed.

—————————————————

But times since then have been rough,

playoffs and injuries have not been kind.

The critics questioned if he was tough,

and if he was right of mind.

—————————————————

But triumphantly he returned,

and looked like the old Sid.

His critics were quietly spurned,

and he smiled like a kid.

—————————————————

Today he signed a contract,

that makes him a Penguin for good.

He could have asked for more money,

like many thought he should.

—————————————————

But in his mind he had no doubts,

about where he wanted to play.

Consol would be his permanent home,

even for smaller pay.

—————————————————

What the future holds for this Pens star,

cannot be truly known.

But a Cup winning team can be built around him,

and a contender will be grown.

—————————————————

So with Sid and Geno and Letang and Flower,

the future is quite bright.

The Penguins currently have the power,

to put up the NHL’s best fight.

—————————————————-

So here’s to Sid’s decision,

like Mario’s before.

To keep the Pens a contender,

for now and ever more.

Paul Martin’s Handling of Head Injury Clouded by Poor Performance

Earlier today, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Josh Yohe tweeted some disturbing information about Penguins defenseman Paul Martin:

Josh Yohe ‏@JoshYohe_Trib:

“Pens D Paul Martin just told me that he played the first three games against the Flyers with concussion-like symptoms.”

 “Martin said nothing to trainers until after Game 3. At that point, he was shut down for the rest of the series.”

 “Martin is fully recovered from the concussion and is working out every day in Minnesota.”

“Martin said the concussion took place at some point in Game 1, but he isn’t sure precisely when.”

Yohe later elaborated on Martin’s injury and prospective future with the Penguins in a story you can see here.

In Yohe’s article, he quoted Martin saying the following:

“I wasn’t feeling well during Game 1,” Martin said. “But I never said anything to the trainers. I didn’t feel well in Game 2. Then, after Schenn hit me in Game 3, I felt really bad but still finished the game. The next night, I felt worse. I talked to our trainers then, and told them about the symptoms. That was it. They shut me down.”

“The whole thing was tough,” he said. “I took a test and supposedly did fine. But with what had happened with Kris and with Sid’s (Sidney Crosby’s) problems, I think they were being overly-cautious.”

This should upset every Penguins fan.

My No. 1 criticism of the NHL the past couple of years has been the epidemic of concussion problems that has struck pretty much every team in the league. The main problem I’ve had is how the league has been inconsistent with its punishment of head shot offenders. I’ve also taken issue with the fact that players have not changed how they hit others on the ice; head shots are still happening at a high rate and both the league and its players need to make changes to make the game safer.

But in Paul Martin’s case, I’m not mad at the league nor an offending player.

I’m upset with Paul Martin.

Martin plays on a team that has been at the forefront of the concussion debate for two years. Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby spent two seasons dealing with a head injury and as the face of the league, he garnered plenty of attention for it. He was part of the reason the NHL adopted changes to Rule 48, the rule that deals with the penalization of head shots.

Not only did the Penguins have to suffer through a slow recovery from Crosby, they also faced a similar situation with star defenseman Kris Letang. Letang suffered a concussion on Nov. 26 after taking a big open ice hit from Montreal Canadians forward Max Pacioretty, but returned later in the same game. His symptoms became worse over the next few days and he ended up missing 21 games because of them. Later in the season, he dealt with concussion symptoms yet again after taking a hit to the head by Dallas Stars forward Eric Nystrom.

So the fact that Paul Martin played through the pain and tried to ignore concussion symptoms over a three-game span baffles me. He, as well as every other NHL player, is surely aware of how serious a head injury can be. If not treated properly, it can lead to permanent brain damage that may cause major problems for the rest of a players life — and eventually end it. One only has to look as far as Pat LaFontaine, Scott Stevens, Eric and Brett Lindros, Michel Goulet, Brian Bradly, Nick Kypreos, Adam Deadmarsh, Jeff Beukeboom, Matthew Barnaby, Paul Comrie, Keith Primeau and Marc Savard to understand how devastating a brain injury can be — not to mention the death of Derek Boogaard in 2011, which was caused by an accidental drug and alcohol overdose while he recovered from a concussion.

Now, I also understand why Martin didn’t tell trainers about his concussion symptoms until they were debilitating. In professional sports — particularly in hockey and football — players are taught to have tough-guy mentality. They want to go out there and prove themselves, even if it comes at their own physical peril. After all, nothing says you’re a team player more than playing injured and team players get paid and respected.

And for Paul Martin, he had even more incentive to play injured than most players. He had a terrible year, one of the worst in his career. He wasn’t playing at a level anywhere near where a $5 million-per-year player should play. Because of his let-down season, Martin felt that he needed to play, regardless of injury, to prove that he was better than his season had shown. Going into the postseason, Martin had already begun to hear rumblings from fans and media that the Penguins should trade him in the offseason.

Yohe illustrates that here:

Martin was aware of negative talk from local fans and media outlets, and admitted this may have affected his performance.

“Coming from New Jersey,” Martin said, “it isn’t a fishbowl like Pittsburgh is. All it takes is for someone to write an article and people can jump on board. It’s hard to ignore it. When you’re a player, you notice things. I take pride in my job, and when people are telling you that you aren’t doing your job well, you don’t like it.”

Here’s another telling Martin quote from Yohe’s story:

“Do I think the same team is going to be back in Pittsburgh next year? No. But I hope I’m one of the guys who is back. I want to prove to myself and to reestablish to everyone the player that I am.”

Fans, other players and team management want to see players doing everything they can to prove themselves. Unfortunately, that mindset is quite valued. This tweet from Yohe proves that point:

“Obviously Martin’s judgment can be questioned for playing with the symptoms. Can’t question his commitment to the team, though.”

Martin may have thought he was helping the team by playing injured, but he was potentially doing the exact opposite. The old saying goes “Loose lips sink ships,” but when it comes to head injuries, it’s the sealed lips that hurt the most. No team will ever benefit from a player that is unable to get back onto the ice because of a devastating head injury. It looks like Martin got lucky because he doesn’t seem to have any long-term symptoms of his head shot.

It’s tough to say whether or not Martin will be in a Penguins sweater next season. Many people agree that he should be traded, but his high price tag will make it tough for Penguins GM Ray Shero to move him after the terrible season he had. Pittsburgh has plenty of depth in the AHL that could take Martin’s place next year, but if the Penguins can’t move him and are unwilling to eat the remainder of his contract, he may be on the blue line in Pittsburgh for another year. Ultimately, that will be what saves Martin from being traded, not his ill-advised effort to play through a head injury in the post season.

If Martin is a Penguin next season, I’ll expect him to be better on the ice.

But I’ll expect more from his decisions off of it.

Offseason 2012: First Crosby Rumors of the Year

Yesterday, Pittsburgh sports radio pundit Mark Madden told listeners on 105.9 the X that he heard Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby reportedly wants a deal worth $125m over 14 seasons, equating to $8.92 million per year. The Penguins and Crosby’s agent can officially begin negotiations on July 1, leaving one year remaining on Crosby’s current contract.

Considering that he makes $8.7 million now, the dollar amount is a bargain for the Penguins — especially if the salary cap goes up after the next collective bargaining agreement.

The obvious point to consider is the contract length. Fourteen seasons is a long time — an entire career for most hockey players. But more importantly, it’s a long time to sign a player with concussion problems.

The Penguins nor their fans will forget the agonizing days during Crosby’s recovery. We didn’t know if he would play again in the 2010-2011 season or EVER AGAIN. And then after his second setback in this year’s regular season, doubts were at an all-time high regarding Crosby’s ability to take hits without re-aggravating concussion symptoms.

I remember asking myself if this was something Penguins fans would have to go through every season until an early Crosby retirement. How long could the captain possibly last in the NHL if he couldn’t take an occasional hit up high? Whether the NHL cracked down on head-shots or not, the accidental hit would still undoubtedly occur.

But fortunately Sid recovered from his second head-shot and was able to play in the final 28 games of the season including six playoff games. In that span, he still collected 37 points with eight goals in the regular season and eight points and three goals in the playoffs.

Those were numbers posted by a guy coming off of a brain injury with far less time on the ice practicing his craft before hand. Now that he’s completely healthy again by all accounts (including his own), he has the opportunity to conduct a full offseason without distraction.

The last time he was able to do that was the summer before 2010-11. And if you remember that season, you remember why he’s the best player in the NHL. In 41 games, he had 32 goals, 34 assists and was on pace for 64 goals, 68 assists and 132 points. And during that span, he had a 25-game point streak in which he notched 27 goals (including three hat tricks), 24 assists, and 51 points.

To me, there’s no debate about whether or not to give him this contract. It’s a great big, bold, double-stamped YES.

Sure, there’s risk involved. But there’s always risk involved in a collision sport like hockey. Any player’s career could end on opening day this fall — especially if the NHL doesn’t start to crack down more on hits to the head. But when you’re dealing with the best player in the world, you give him what he wants.

If Crosby stays healthy, the Penguins will sell out for at least 14 more seasons and probably have a chance at the Stanley Cup for all of them. As Madden said on his show, that contract “gives the Penguins a license to print money.”

Penguins GM Ray Shero could also go a different route by offering Crosby more money, but fewer years on the contract, so his past concussion problems wouldn’t be as big of a liability.

I’m guessing Crosby would be a lot less receptive to that idea. If the whole issue was about money, Crosby would ask for a lot more money, not just $228,571 more per year. Sid is financially set for life, he doesn’t need more money.

It’s the length of the contract that’s the primary issue for Sid.

And let’s say that Shero did offer him fewer years and more money and Crosby doesn’t accept. Do we really want there to be negotiation issues and possible bad blood? What if he holds out and there’s a ton of drama and uncertainty. I wouldn’t expect that to happen, but you never know when you’re dealing with a player’s livelihood, especially one with as much popularity in Pittsburgh as Sidney Crosby. Contract negotiations can be a real pain and create real distractions. Crosby doesn’t want that. Shero doesn’t want that. The fans don’t want that.

Signing Sid for forever for whatever amount is a good deal for Sid, the Penguins, the city of Pittsburgh and the NHL.

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