26 September 2007


You know what there is a serious dearth of these days? Really good line names. Just think about it--if you're the Podunk County Ice Mice, and you're going up against the Boston Bruins and the Dogs Of War line (Cashman, Phil Esposito, Hodge), wouldn't that be a wee bit intimidating? No one watching that game is going to think you have a prayer! (And they would be right to think so, because you are the Podunk County Ice Mice going up against the Boston Bruins during an era in which they won two Stanley Cups. But I digress.)

You just don't see it any more! Let's take a trip in the Wayback Machine to the golden bygone days of really good line names.

One of the most famous and as far as I'm concerned, the best: The Production Line. Gordie Howe, Sid Abel, Ted Lindsay (but after Abel was sent to Chicago they stuck Alex Delvecchio up there. This was not a problem, because he also ruled). I mean, come on. Simple, to-the-point, and bone-shakingly scary to go up against--do not forget that in 1950 they went 1-2-3 in scoring. A Detroit classic.

A close second is The French Connection, Perreault, Martin and Robert. Three talented players, but I'd make the argument that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts here. Oodles and oodles of goals and records, but since they were tragically playing for Buffalo, none of them ever won a Cup. Such is life when you play for Buffalo.

The Legion of Doom. I don't even like Philadelphia, but if that isn't one of the great intimidators in sports I'll eat my hat. Eric Lindros, Leclair, and Mikael Renberg. I'm not even going to make fun of Philadelphia in this entry, that is how terrifying that name is.

Now see, let's compare and contrast to some current line names.

The Shamrock Line. NY Rangers, Shanahan, Matt Cullen, Ryan Callahan. Are you kidding me? I would prefer my team to have only the slimmest possible connection with St. Patrick's Day. Thank you.

The S-Mac-K Line. I can't believe I actually just typed that. Anyway, Anaheim, Selanne, Andy McDonald and Chris Kunitz. I oppose the "let's take their initials and form something amusing!" shtick because you usually wind up with something like "the HMO line!" or "the CVS line!" which are not very interesting OR terrifying OR even worthy of comment, but this one just takes it to a whole new level of stupidity for me.

Like: The ABC Line. Chicago Blackhawks, Arnason, Bell and Calder. That's the best they could come up with? Nothing like the "Most Likely To Get In Trouble For Alcohol Abuse Line Excepting Maybe You Kyle Calder?" ABC? ABC??? Maybe if it was a reference to their not being able to reliably recite the alphabet, but, just...no.

There are a few lights in the darkness, though.

My personal favorite, The Two Brothers And A Brother Line. Vancouver, the Sedin twins and Anson Carter. The first time I heard this I laughed like a drain. Good one, Vancouver. See also: The Mattress Line--two twins and a (Jason) King.

The Czechs-Mex Line. Edmonton, Sykora, Hemsky, and Raffi Torres.

Two of a kind: The Grumpy Old Men Line of Dallas, Kirk Muller, John McLean and Mike Keane, and The Two Kids And A Goat Line of Detroit, with Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Brett Hull.

So not all is tragic in the line names of the hockey world. It looks like there may be hope yet for an inspiring nickname for the Sens' trio of Alfredsson, Spezza and Heatley other than "the ASH Line" or "the Cash Line" or "the Pizza Line," because let's face it, those names suck. Maybe this season some ass-kicking trio will show up and actually deserve a nickname like The Railroad Line or The Line of Battle. I can keep hoping, right?

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