April 11 – Penalty Shot

Line Dancing

As hockey fans around the world gear up for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Sip Advisor thought it might be a good time to look at some of the sport’s greatest line combos. This list was narrowed down by taking into account the success of the line, as well as how awesome the name they were given was. Let’s get the puck rolling:

#5: West Coast Express – Brendan Morrison, Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi

After a string of dismal years, Vancouver Canucks fans finally had something to cheer about again, when this line began filling the back of the net and piling up points. Once put together, each enjoyed the best years of their career, with Naslund and Bertuzzi even finishing second and third in league scoring during the 2002-03 season. Sadly, a long-awaited Stanley Cup never materialized, thanks in part to Bertuzzi’s indefinite suspension, after punching Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore in the back of the head. The West Coast Express is actually a commuter train line in the Sip Advisor’s home area, connecting people living in the suburbs of Vancouver to the downtown core.

West Coast Express Canucks

#4: Capital Punishment Line – Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley

Playing in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, the Senators enjoyed their greatest success as a franchise on the backs of Alfredsson, Spezza, and Heatley. The trio took the Senators all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2007, but they were defeated by the Anaheim Ducks in five games. The three stars were also given the nickname ‘The Pizza Line’ thanks to the Pizza Pizza chain offering to give away free slices to ticket holders, anytime the Senators scored at least five goals. With the line racking up points that season, it happened often. Ironically, Canada abolished capital punishment in 1976… I guess this threesome never got the news!

#3: Legion of Doom – Eric Lindros, John Leclair, Mikael Renberg

For a time, Lindros was the most dominant player in the game, utilizing his size, strength, and natural talent. Flanking him on the wings were Leclair and Renberg, who each enjoyed great seasons playing with ‘The Big E’. The line combined for 305 goals and 361 assists over three season, highlighted by a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1997. The line’s name was created (or at least borrowed) by teammate Jim Montgomery, before being used and promoted by Flyers announcer Gene Hart. While they weren’t as successful as the Broad Street Bullies of the 1970’s, the Legion of Doom ushered in a new generation of Flyers dominance.

legion-of-doom-flyers

#2: Red Army – Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Vyacheslav Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov, Viacheslav Fetisov

As if three forwards weren’t enough, imagine icing an entire five-man unit that could cohesively work together and dominate the opposition. All hailing from Russia and formerly starring for that country’s national team, the Red Army had been built by Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman, who had always admired the USSR’s playing style. The gamble worked out well for Detroit, as the team won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and repeated the feat in 1998. Sadly, Konstantinov was not part of the second championship, as just days after the 1997 win, he was involved in a serious auto wreck, which ended his career. The only thing missing was a Russian goaltender to complete the on-ice sweep.

#1: Trio Grande – Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies

When New York Islanders coach Al Arbour combined these three young, highly-touted players in 1977, it’s what would eventually push them over the edge and produce a four-year Stanley Cup dynasty. The line combined for 668 goals and 1498 points, throughout the years, piling up trophies, team records, and other accolades, during that time. Both Trottier and Bossy would win the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP (1980 and 1982, respectively), proving the line was also quite productive in the crunch time that is the playoffs. All three members of the line have had their numbers retired by the Islanders and been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Penalty Shot

Penalty Shot Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.25 oz Gin
  • 0.25 oz Tequila
  • 0.25 oz Citron Vodka
  • Pinch of Cinnamon
  • Garnish with a Cinnamon Stick

Honourable mentions go to the French Connection (Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin, Rene Robert), the Triple Crown Line (Dave Taylor, Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne), and That 70’s Line (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson). While not making up a complete line, one of the most prolific scoring duos in hockey history, Brett Hull and Adam Oates, were given the nickname Hull and Oates, a play on the musical act Hall and Oates… too bad neither of them rocked a great 80’s porn stache!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This shooter had a nice blue colour until I added the dash of Cinnamon and then it all turned into a fuzzy green hue… I think it still looks okay, though. I used a Cinnamon Stick for garnish to imitate a good ol’ fashioned wooden hockey stick. As for taste, this all came together like a Long Island Iced Tea, just miniaturized. And that’s a drink that goes down easy.

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September 12 – Furry Purple Squirrel

Mascot Mess

Teams largely have mascots to engage young fans and as a merchandising opportunity. I don’t know why college teams have mascots, as well, but I guess alcohol and people dressed as animals is always a winning combination. Each major league (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL) is guilty of poorly chosen characters. Here are some of the worst mascots in the wide world of sports:

Carlton the Bear – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

How in the hell is a bear the mascot for this team? Did they just want to be able to sell oodles of merchandise using a cute teddy bear? The team’s mascot should really be a dude dressed up in a leaf costume and they could do this performance introduction, where the leaf blows through the sky and lands flat on the ground, only to be crushed by passersby. Just like the team itself… symmetry, my friends, symmetry. Leafs suck, btw.

Carlton the Bear

Heh, golfing… just like the Maple Leafs every spring!

Raymond – Tampa Bay Rays (MLB)

There’s just no zip to this name and the character is even worse, described as a seadog and wearing large sneakers and a backwards ball cap. Raymond is really just a slacker, complete with unkempt facial hair. Why couldn’t the mascot be a sting ray, with the tag line “I killed Steve Irwin, so don’t mess with us!” Now that would be bad ass.

Bear – Utah Jazz (NBA)

They couldn’t even give their mascot a decent nickname? The marketing department sat around and just settled with Bear? I’d be more impressed with Bear if he occasionally picked up a musical instrument and belted out some jazz scat tunes. Then again, the Jazz name doesn’t even work in Utah and is only a carryover from the franchise’s New Orleans origins. Ridiculous all around.

Rowdy – Dallas Cowboys (NFL)

Rowdy looks like Fix-It Felix from Wreck-It Ralph… except he appears a little more Broke Back Mountain than the team would probably want. The Cowboys legacy as a rough and tumble team doesn’t hold up so well when Rowdy is paired with that lineage. He has to be the creepiest looking cowboy I’ve ever seen, making the blood of Clint Eastwood boil to extreme levels.

Rowdy Cowboy

Spartacat – Ottawa Senators (NHL)

I don’t get the orange hair. Doesn’t the Senators organization know that the world hates gingers!? Not myself, I find them to be loveable folks, but I am a rare breed. Readers know of my love for cats, but this one just doesn’t sit right. The name is okay too, but I just don’t see the necessity for that orange hippie hair. Call me crazy (and I’m sure you have), but I just can’t get past that.

Screech – Washington Nationals (MLB)

How awesome would it be if the Washington Nationals mascot wasn’t a anthropomorphic bald eagle, but was, in fact, Screech from Saved by the Bell!? Other than that minor note, I really don’t have any problem with Screech. He falls in line with the team name and the city the franchise plays out of. I probably should have left him off the list… but that Saved by the Bell thing still bugs me.

Hip Hop the Rabbit – Philadelphia 76ers (NBA)

Sure, basketball teams need to cater to the hip hop market and fans of the music genre, but this is really taking things a little too far. Hip Hop looks like a “gangsta” Trix Rabbit on roids, who instead of searching aimlessly for the beloved cereal, performs slam dunks off trampolines to pass the time. Let’s just hope Hip Hop doesn’t become a casualty of the East-West Rap Feud.

Hip Hop the Rabbit

Stinger – Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL)

How anyone could consider an insect cute and cuddly is a question I’ll never be able to answer. Still, this pest was able to find work with the Columbus Blue Jackets, despite being a yellow jacket bug. That mixed with the teams blue colours, has turned him green, just to confuse people even more. I foresee a large swatter and a satisfying splat in Stinger’s future!

Sparky the Dragon – New York Islanders (NHL)

Why a dragon is the mascot for this team is perplexing. Sure, the owner, Charles Wang (heh… wang) is of Asian descent, but is that enough to justify this move? Not to mention he simply transferred the character over from his former Arena Football League franchise and you have the makings of a mascot conspiracy. We must form a task force to get to the bottom of this!

Dinger – Colorado Rockies (MLB)

The Colorado Rockies entered Major League Baseball around the time that Barney the Dinosaur was huge for many youngsters. I guess they decided to capitalize on that marketing craze when conceptualizing Dinger. Apparently, making Dinger a Triceratops was based on reports of dinosaur fossils being discovered as the franchise built its Coors Field stadium. I have to say that I do like the name Dinger, though.

Dinger the Dinosaur

Bernie Brewer – Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)

This mascot has to be the closest thing to resemble a 1970’s porn star in the sporting world, complete with a full, bushy, handlebar moustache. I bet under that jersey is a chest full of wild, curly hair and if we keep travelling downwards, a Ron Jeremy-esque member. The Brewer probably drinks a ton, too, and may be the best candidate on this list to party with!

Youppi – Montreal Canadiens (NHL)

The only thing worse than a bad mascot is a bad mascot that was meant for another team. When the Montreal Expos were relocated to become the Washington Nationals, Youppi became a free agent, quickly snapped up by the Canadiens. I do have to give credit to Youppi for being the first mascot ever kicked out of a Major League Baseball game, which occurred in 1989 following LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda complaining to umps about the mascot’s behaviour.

Drink #255: Furry Purple Squirrel

Sept 12

  • Rim glass with Grape Candy Powder
  • 1 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1 oz Light Rum
  • 1 oz Coconut Rum (I used Malibu)
  • Top with Club Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

I must admit, I left off the many amateur sport mascots that could have filled three of these lists. Olympic mascots have always been ridiculous too. Just to keep things simple, I only focused on professional team mascots. Did I miss any? Leave a message after the beep. BEEEEEEEP!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is an interesting recipe that includes floating the Coconut Rum on top of the drink right before serving. I picked this cocktail because it somewhat went with the topic of today’s post and because the blend of ingredients intrigued me. My Grape Candy Powder rim worked out better than others. I still don’t understand why every drink that purports itself to be purple never turns out that way and remains blue. Maybe I’m not using enough Grenadine, but then again, I don’t want to use a ton of Grenadine.