Major League Baseball and its Players Association recently announced the much-ballyhooed Players Weekend which will take place August 25-27. For the first time ever, all 30 MLB teams’ players will wear a nickname of their choice on the back of special jerseys. They will also wear custom caps plus a shoulder patch with the name of someone who has inspired them in life.
Naturally, as hockey fans, one automatically considers how the staid NHL could execute this concept and liven things up on the ice.
Note: all jersey pics below can be enlarged by clicking them.
2017-2018 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017-2018 Pittsburgh Penguins, defending Stanley Cup Champions for a second straight season:
- Players arranged in descending projected level of importance to 2017-18 season, except #41 Daniel “Spronger” Sprong
- Most of these names are self-explanatory or chosen by the players themselves
- One common theme from the MLB nickname jerseys is that every team had one or two players who simply used their real last name. Most of them are in the “hard-working, no-nonsense, no showboating, American white guy who plays the game the right way” category. I am not implying Scott Wilson falls into that category. He is Canadian anyway.
- Other nicknames are the creation of this writer
- #81 – Phil Kessel – “WEENIE ROAST” would fit nicely with the hot dog storyline foisted upon him. Pensblog Peep had a nice takedown of the Toronto writer who started it all and G-Off chimed in as well. Imagine all the “Tee-hee-hee-hee, Weenie!!!” pointing and chortling from pre-pubescent boys watching the pre-game skate at PPG Paints Arena.
- #30 – Matt Murray – “WARRIOR”. Because he’s played like one. And he uses a Warrior goaltender stick.
- #4 – Justin Schultz – “CHUG I” & #3 – Olli Maatta – “CHUG II” – Unless you missed the parade pics…
- #37 – Carter Rowney – “ROWNEY PIPER”. Rowney Roddy Piper. Admit it.
Please. No one complain about the fact that we didn’t sew a nickname patch for defenseman Dietrich Pouliot. This is the double-dozen group of Penguins that will make the biggest impact starting in October and as such, deserve to be part of Players Weekend. Pouliot isn’t one of them. Full stop.
50 YEARS OF GREAT ALUMNI
As the NHL continues to celebrate its centennial year, the Penguins continue to celebrate 50 years, five Cups and the beginning of their golden anniversary season. Ladies and gentlemen, a golden shower of 24 notable Pittsburgh Penguins alumni nickname jerseys:
- Alumni arranged in ascending numerical order, pre-Mario, peri-Mario, Mario, and post-Mario
- I’m a big believer that learning about team history connects different generations of Pens fans. All of us should have nothing but respect for the men who toiled in the earliest days of the franchise at Civic Arena in front of sparse crowds, against the specter of bankruptcy and relocation, not realizing they were helping to slowly build a hockey culture for future generations in Pittsburgh and Western Pa. My hope is that some of these names will prompt fans – new and old – to learn about some of the great players who have played for the Penguins
- The internal Pensblog council vetted one nickname I originally wanted to use for a recent despicable alumnus. His replacement is a far better hockey player and better human being than [unnamed] will ever be. I thank the council for restraining me.
POSSIBLE NICKNAME JERSEYS FOR OTHER TEAMS
- All self-explanatory