April 29, 2011

The NHL Playoff Mascot Battle Part Two: Red Wings v. Sharks

We continue with the second of four analyses: "Which NHL mascot would win in a fight?"

What’s a Red Wing?
Of all team “mascots,” insomuch as a wheel with a wing on it can be a mascot, this one is the most elusive (only the Blues would be tougher to personify). A Red Wing is essentially, nothing. It’s a nickname based on a nickname. From Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Hockey League:
“(Detroit Falcons' owner) Norris had been a member of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, a sporting club with cycling roots. The MAAA's teams were known by their club emblem and these Winged Wheelers were the first winners of the Stanley Cup in 1893. Norris decided that a version of their logo was perfect for a team playing in the Motor City and on October 5, 1932 the club was renamed the Red Wings."
So, a Red Wing is a symbol: a single wheel with a single wing, but given the inspiration for the symbol, the Red Wing is a more usefully, more literally, a cyclist.
I ride bikes! And use Pert Plus!

What’s a Shark?
A shark is a deadly fish that ruined one summer for Roy Scheider.

Will Joe Thornton ever win the big one?

What if a Deadly Fish fought a Cyclist?
In the Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg movie The Other Guys, there’s a nice scene of antagonism between characters which provides precedent with which to discuss a battle between land dwelling and ocean bound animals.
If I were a lion and you were a tuna, I would swim out in the middle of the ocean and freaking eat you, and then I'd bang your tuna girlfriend.

OK, first off: a lion, swimming in the ocean? Lions don't like water. If you placed it near a river, or some sort of fresh water source, that makes sense. But you find yourself in the ocean, 20 foot wave, I'm assuming off the coast of South Africa, coming up against a full grown 800 pound tuna with his 20 or 30 friends, you lose that battle, you lose that battle 9 times out of 10. And guess what, you've wandered into our school of tuna and we now have a taste of lion. We've talked to ourselves. We've communicated and said 'You know what, lion tastes good, let's go get some more lion'. We've developed a system to establish a beach-head and aggressively hunt you and your family and we will corner your pride, your children, your offspring. […] You just lost at your own game. You're outgunned and out-manned.
Since game one of this series is in San Jose, the Shark/Cyclist battle must therefore take place in the shark’s home arena (i.e. the Ocean). Though cyclists have incredible lung capacity and thigh muscles, riding a bike in the ocean is next to impossible; actually, the bike is a definite impediment (have you ever tried to swim in running shoes? Like, way harder than that), and the cyclist is easily (b)eaten by a shark. If the Red Wing had home ice advantage and game one took place in a velodrome, I suspect the cyclist would gain advantage. We'll never know what could've been, though Shark in a Velodrome is possibly a good indie band name.

If Pavement stuck with their original name, Shark in a Velodrome, they would still hate you.

Result: Sharks win (just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water with your bike….). In these literal mascot battle scenarios, I wonder if anything will beat a shark (Lightning maybe? A Bruin-Shark final could be interesting, and is the premise of a 2001 book by Chris Bachelder.)

Fun Fact: Based on a 1990 fan vote, The San Jose Sharks original name was to be the San Jose Blades, but owners were concerned about the association with weapons and gang violence. The Shark received the second most votes, and history was sort of made.

Later Today: Mr. Lightning Goes to Washington.

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