Dawn of Another New NHL Season

It’s finally fall once again.  The sun is out in the city and elsewhere, the air has a notably crisper feeling.  It’s my favorite season for a reason, and a big non-weather-related part of it is the return of hockey after a long, dreadfully boring and foggy summer.  As the now thirty-one teams of the NHL take the ice for the few remaining games of the preseason, I feel like some regular order has been restored in the universe.  Beyond all of the wild speculation of July and the barren news-less wastes of August, we’ve actually got something to talk about now.  That said, I feel like throwing a few final darts in the dark.  Here’s my own stab at wild speculation — the final standings for the 2017-18 NHL season.  It’s been awhile since I did this, mostly because of how pointless it is.  And sure, the season is still over a week away, but it’s not like this prediction is going to be any more-or-less accurate based on what unfolds over that time, right?

Basically what I did was throw every team into a spreadsheet with last year’s point totals, and gave them multiplier coefficients based on a number of observations, such as:

  • PDO reversion: basically inverting last season’s number so each team starts at 100%.
  • Injuries: an estimate based on man-games lost and a reversion to the mean, using a multiplying factor based on the standard deviation.  Obviously, this cannot account for which teams get rocked by injuries this year.
  • The offseason: a guess based on whether they addressed obvious weaknesses, lost key players, changed staff, and/or other general wtf-ness (looking at you, Florida).  Big name prospects and rookies go here.  Potential breakout performances are entirely unaccounted for.
  • Gut feelings and other generally uninformed nonsense: does the number look like it makes sense?  If no, adjust it.  This was used more to diversify the results and make them fit a more typical point spread and postseason cutoff than to invalidate the above factors.

Very scientific I know.  Following that strict and infallible methodology, I’ve compiled the above results.  I think some explanations might be needed here:

The Lightning were murdered by injuries last year.  With a healthy roster, growth from the kids, and continued defensive strength, they’ll handily win the East, and in my scenario, the Presidents’ Trophy.  Washington takes a step back, but even losing 16 points in the standings is enough to overtake a significantly weakened Pittsburgh team.  Toronto takes another step forward, but their exceptional injury luck last year should catch up with them a bit.  Carolina’s got the right stuff (read: fancy stats) and made improvements, so they make enough of a leap to pass three teams in the division, with the Flyers right behind them in pursuit.  CBJ comes back to earth, and both New York teams regress.  Buffalo takes a giant step forward, but it’s not enough to make the cut.  The Senators move back a smidge, and Boston drops like a rock.  The Devils do somewhat better, while the Red Wings and Panthers fall further into the basement.

In the west, the Pacific shapes up very similarly to last year, with the Ducks and Oilers finishing neck and neck near 110 points.  Dallas comes back with a vengeance to win the Central and the Western Conference (and might just be my preseason Cup pick, were I to make one), while the Hawks and Wild regress somewhat; both still finish with 100 points.  Meanwhile, the Jets kids and goaltending should finally get it together enough to steal a wildcard spot from the Pacific.  The Sharks and Blues slip slightly but only the former can sneak into the playoffs thanks to the relative strength of their respective divisions.  The Flames improve, but can’t break past the Central wildcards.  Nashville maintains.  The Coyotes leap ahead, yet like Buffalo, it’s not quite enough to breach the post-season.  The Kings continue their slide backward, now with much worse possession numbers due to coaching turnover.  The Canucks do slightly better than last year thanks to the kids, as do the Avalanche, who gain over 20 points, but that shouldn’t be hard, right?  Vegas finishes last overall — it just feels right, especially with that roster.

Overall, the median point total increases slightly due to Vegas existing, while the deviation tightens up thanks to Colorado giving away points.  Half of the teams got better, while half got worse.  Playoff turnover sees five teams getting back in, and necessarily, five missing.

This is not particularly what I want as a fan of certain teams, so it must be at least a little bit accurate.  I’ll be sure to check back in on this when the playoffs begin!

But right now, it’s finally hockey season again.  (Almost.)

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Wishes for Adidas’ NHL Takeover

With Adidas being the parent company of Reebok, they’re set to assume production of all NHL jerseys for the 2017-18 season.  Last time this happened, when Reebok took over in the offseason of 2007, all NHL team jerseys were redesigned to fit the new Edge template.  With this change being forced upon each team, some took the opportunity to rebrand or refresh their looks.  Some overhauled completely (Dallas, Vancouver, and Washington for example).  Others made minor tweaks to their jerseys.  Some made basically none.

Some teams made mistakes.  A few of them, unfortunately, still live to this day.  I’ve taken it upon myself to present a few concept logo blocks with my vision for team primary logos and colors going forward.  If these changes don’t happen, I will be disappointed, but I won’t give up hope — I’ll continue adding to this collection when inspiration strikes, provided that my ideas don’t magically come to life before then.

First up, my Buffalo Sabres:

Buffalo SabresBuffalo Sabres (Away)

Ditch the silver lines, return to a real, vibrant blue, and voilà!  That’s all they need.  This look is clear, identifiable, and timeless.  If they’re going to hoist the Cup at some point, I desperately hope it’s in these.  With the Sabres scheduled to play as the home team at the 2018 Winter Classic, we may see this jersey appear as soon as then — hopefully they do the right thing and elevate it to primary duty afterward.  If not, the likely worst case scenario is it would become a full-time third in 2018-19.  If that happens, they will have earned my money.


Calgary Flames (Third)Calgary Flames (Fourth)

Fixing the Calgary Flames would be simple: return to the 1980s.  Get rid of the black.  Promote the existing third to primary and add a road counterpart.  You won the Cup in these jerseys; why wouldn’t you want to promote them?  ’nuff said.


Carolina Hurricanes (Third)Carolina Hurricanes (Fourth)

The Carolina Hurricanes need a uniform update, badly.  Their 2013 redesign was horrendous, but thankfully they kept their unique third in reserve.  I wouldn’t mind seeing them upgraded to full-time duty.  The flag logo is far better than the swirl, even though they did win the Cup in the latter, but there’s also the fact that I’m not a fan of black primaries.  What about red?  I think that looks damn hot, even if it is a (tropical) storm warning flag.


Colorado Avalanche (Third)Colorado Avalanche (Fourth)

The Colorado Avalanche have been using the 2007 Reebok transition look for a decade; they’re the last to maintain use of the “apron string” look.  It needs a change more than any other team.  Their current thirds are decent, but I’m not sold on them being a primary.  They’re just a bit too experimental, plus burgundy has always been the Avs’ color.  How about these?


Columbus Blue JacketsColumbus Blue Jackets (Away)

The Columbus Blue Jackets‘ third is a great, great look.  I love the jersey, the color scheme, and the logo.  It’s more distinct, compared to the Jacket’s current palette which features zero unique colors.  The only problem is that vintage white cannot be used as an away jersey base, so to solve I’ve made it white across the board.  Looking sharp!


Minnesota WildMinnesota Wild (Away)

The Minnesota Wild are rumored to be going forward with a green jersey, similar to their Stadium Series jersey from last season.  I’m for it.  I think they should keep their away white jerseys and use them template for the homes.  Easy.  I bet this is exactly what we see come Draft Day, more-or-less.


Ottawa Senators (Third)Ottawa Senators (Fourth)

The Ottawa Senators are in dire need of a new look, having used the same original Reebok template since 2007.  Luckily, they’ve already created a complete set that would do nicely.  The “O” logo ties the franchise back to its predecessor in Ottawa, while ditching the tired look of the three-quarter-profile cartoon centurion.  Same as with Columbus, the vintage white is normalized to pure white.  There was a rumor swirling earlier this year that something like this was in the works for the future.  It’s been quiet on that front recently, but I’d still imagine this has a very good chance of happening.

Alternatively, they’ve been sitting on this cleaner version of their original profiled Senator logo for awhile.  It’s not on their jerseys anywhere, for some reason.  If the classic look isn’t to be, why not revamp the jerseys with this badass logo on front?  Hell, I’d be okay with a return to the black primary if this is what it looks like.


San Jose SharksSan Jose Sharks (Away)San Jose Sharks2San Jose Sharks (Away2)

This is more of a thought than a hope.  The San Jose Sharks used the Reebok takeover to refresh their Shark-biting-stick logo in 2007; modernizing while maintaining the overall look.  It’s been a decade since then, and the franchise has matured to a point of ubiquity and success in the Bay Area.  It’s time to grow the logo to match.  We know it’s a hockey team, so there’s no need for a stick in the logo.  This past season the Sharks released a beautiful set of “future” secondary logos for marketing purposes, which went more-or-less unused: see the clean full-bodied shark above.  There’s also a variant with a more triangular shape and a subtle SJ at the vertex.  Either one I think would be a great primary look.


Washington CapitalsWashington Capitals (Away)

Last but not least, look at this.  The Washington Capitals have used this stunning secondary logo since their transformation in 2007.  How is it not the primary?  I get that the wordmark is an update of their original logo, but come on.  This would be an incredible primary logo.  It’s simple, easily reproduceable and identifiable, and it’s freaking brilliant.  It forms a “W.” It’s got the Capitol in negative space.  The angle in the neck invokes the Washington Monument.  It’s wonderful.  After their latest playoff failure, it might just be a decent time to re-brand.  Make this the primary now.


I have a few more wants that I’m not sure how (read: am not skilled enough) to express visually:

Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings would do well to add purple back to their look.  I’m not sure if that requires a whole new logo or not — I’d lean toward the latter, given all of their success with their current setup.  Perhaps just a trim on the jersey?  The league needs more purple; ie any purple.


Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks have a great set of uniforms, and it hurts to suggest changes because of their mixed history.  I like the orca logo, but the “Vancouver” wordmark needs to go.   Alternatively, promote the third to full time and go full 1970s.  Either way, that’s all I want, so there’s nothing really new to illustrate here.  The design of the jerseys and their colors are perfect already.

In conclusion, I’m surprised by how content I am with the look of the NHL these days.   Only a handful of teams need a redo on the logo, jersey, and/or colors.  For the rest, a few uniform tweaks here and there would be nice, but overall I think these aforementioned changes would be enough to make the league the best it could possibly look.  Now, if only we could make color versus color jerseys for games the norm, only then would we have perfection.

Officially Official

Well, well, well, would you look at that.  After a few extra months of waiting, I finally finally got my PE license.

Okay, that’s not entirely true yet.  I haven’t received a notification from the board directly nor a physical certificate, but, out of curiosity I looked myself up on the California Board of Professional Engineers’ website and, wouldn’t you know it, my name is actually on the list, along with the most important piece of information I’d been hitherto missing: a license number.

That means it’s officially official!

You might be wondering why it took four months to get here since I got my passing notice in December?  Well, stupid me didn’t technically complete his application one year ago.  I left out one key step, causing the whole process to fall into limbo until resolved.  I didn’t even consider the problem until one of my former colleagues floated an idea a little over a month ago.  As it turns out, upon inspection of my copies of the forms, he was 100% right.  I took action immediately and got my application process unstuck.  Whoops.

At last, the wait is over.  I have a couple extra letters after my name now and a whole shitload of responsibility.  So, where do we go from here?  Exactly what I said last time: be a professional engineer.

Hooray!