Personally, I couldn't care less what started the NHL Cupcake hashtag meme, but apparently it has something to do with the Islanders. What mattered to me was the enormous influx of other people's humorous takes on what certain players, teams and concepts associated with the NHL would be like in an actual, anthropomorphic cupcake form. What resulted, for me at least, was 3 straight hours of coming up with my own NHL cupcakes. There are literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of other NHL cupcake ideas, some of which have been highlighted over at Wings Win, Eh? which you can read here. This list is all of the ideas I came up with during my little marathon session.
The Shoot-Out cupcake: people liked it at first, but now they've had way too many and it just sucks.
The Martin Havlat cupcake: used to have icing, but Kronwall knocked it all off.
The Bob Probert cupcake: all sold out, and will be sorely, dearly missed.
The Fernando Pisani cupcake: makes you shit your pants.
The Larry Aurie cupcake: haunts you after you decide not to serve with with your best cupcakes.
The Ilya Bryzgakldshglaoc cupcake: you have a hard time ordering it, but is pretty cheap and it's actually an alright cupcake.
The Pavel Datsyuk cupcake: steals the toppings from all the other cupcakes.
The Ilya Kovalchuk cupcake: should be good if someone actually buys the damn recipe already.
The Eastern Conference cupcakes: the best is only about half as good as the Western conference's best cupcake.
The Detroit Red Wings cupcake: everyone else hates it just because it's better than their cupcakes and they can't have it.
The Jimmy Howard cupcake: might have taken 6 years to make, but thank god it was as good as it was.
The Brett Lebda cupcake: tastes like rum raisin. Minus the raisin. And minus the cupcake.
The Todd Bertuzzi cupcake: used to be good, but you ate it at breakneck speed. Now it's not so great.
The Chicago Blackhawks cupcake: customers only know they're there when a good batch is made.
The Sidney Crosby cupcake (part 4): only tastes good when the other cupcakes around it taste good.
The Derek Boogaard cupcake: way too pricey when all you wanted was a whisk to beat some eggs with.
The Staal cupcakes: how many are they going to make?!
The Mike Modano cupcake: might be a good addition to your dessert, but if not, you're probably good with what you already have.
The Darren McCarty cupcake: looked really hard to eat, but was surprisingly sweet.
The Atlanta Thashers cupcake: really just a Chicago Blackhawks cupcake in a different wrapper.
The Stan Bowman cupcake: hardly even a cupcake anymore, because he can't read Dale Tallon's recipe.
The Gary Bettman cupcake: even after you complain about the Referee cupcake, maintains it's the best cupcake out there.
The NHL Referees cupcake: I'd like to tell you how they taste, but they're too damn inconsistent.
The Ken Holland cupcake: he makes it with a bunch of random ingredients no one else wanted to use, and still tastes great.
The Sidney Crosby cupcake (part 3): has no taste at all in the presence of the Henrik Zetterberg cupcake.
The Rick Tocchet cupcake: how much do you want to bet that it'll be delicious?
The Nick Kronwall cupcake: keep your head up while you eat it, or you may end up unconscious.
The Sidney Crosby cupcake (part 2): disappears in Jimmy Howard's catching glove.
The Todd Bertuzzi cupcake: don't blame the cupcake if it tastes bad, Marc Crawford made it that way.
The Johan Franzen cupcake: just when you think you're about to finish it off, it scores 4 goals on you.
The Jonathan Ericsson cupcake: it's really big and hot, but it just isn't really that good.
The NBC cupcake: you never want to eat it, but sometimes you just have to, and you always end up hating it.
The Nick Lidstrom cupcake: has no icing on it, because no one can top it.
The Pavel Datsyuk: It's never where you thought you left it and ends up behind you.
The Red Wings Cupcake: even without half of it's ingredients, it's still better than most of the cupcakes out there.
The Kris Draper cupcake: really wishes the goalie cupcakes were doughnuts.
The Sidney Crosby cupcake: Should just be a cake, it didn't do anything to earn a Cup.
The Gary Bettman cupcake: You pay over $7 milion for it, and tastes like Sidney Crosby's balls.
Detroit Red Wings cupcake: you get 11 in the same time it takes to make 4 Chicago Blackhawks cupcakes.
The Vile Leino cupcake: Was supposed to be really good, but got bitter after you ate a few better cupcakes first.
The Mikael Samuelsson cupcake: You tried to eat it in Detroit, but it kept missing your mouth.
The Gordie Howe cupcake: Will always be better than the Wayne Gretzky cupcake, no matter what.
The Kovalchuk cupcake: Probably would be really good, but it's too expensive to even try to eat.
The Kyle Wellwood Cupcake... wait... where'd they all go?!
I'm feeling a little generous lately. Watching the debacle that is the Chicago Blackhawks' salary cap situation got me feeling sorry for them, so me and a few budding capologists compiled a list of the best ways to solve the problems heading into the upcoming season. If you've got a few ideas that aren't on the list, leave them in the comments section, or drop me a line over on Twitter and I'll get them to Stan Bowman.
So without further ado, here are the options to fix Chicago's salary cap troubles:
Bake sale every 2nd Sunday of the month. (I hear Marian Hossa makes a pineapple upside down cake that is to die for.)
Hold a monthly bottle drive to pay players under the table, lessening their cap hits. (Take these forty million bottles to the store, will you?)
Restructure contracts providing 18 players playing for free each year. (We'll pay you next year, we swear!)
Identity fraud to pass stars as AHL call-ups (Shmantii Shmiemi who?)
Naming the arena after free agents to lessen their salary (Kovalchuk-Modano Arena, anyone?)
Also, sell the ad space on the boards to players (Imagine Slava Kozlov getting checked into his own board ad. Hilarious!)
Renting players on a per game basis. (Don't bother buying a jersey.)
Organize an 20-piece team band and book battle-of-the-band gigs on off nights. (Rookies carry the veterans' guitar cases now.)
Dressing only 2 lines per game. (Your TOI league leader, Patrick Sharp, averaging 43 minutes a game.) [Andy]
Opening an Official Chicago Blackhawks Etsy page. (Buy a Patrick Kane charm bracelet, complete with 2 dime charms.) [Lola]
Borrowing players from the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. (I'm sure Gary's still got David Stern's number on speed dial and would allow it.)
League wide key party. (Hey, you pulled Hjalmarsson's key after all, San Jose!)
Rent the "Day(s) With the Cup" out to the other members of the Atlanta Thrashers. (I mean, who doesn't want to see Evander Kane with the Cup instead of Patrick Kane?) [Tom]
Auction players out for dates with bidding women, or men... (Hey, depending on how the date goes, that bonus doesn't count against the cap next year!) [Cath]
Register as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt religious organization. Change uniform to saffron robes and require all players to go bald. (On the plus side, no extra penalties for not tying it down in a fight!) [Christine]
Along with that ...accept charitable donations and sell cult pamphlets in airports for extra cash. (Isn't that how they got most of their 'fans' this year, anyway?) [Christine]
Pay players in Chicago style deep dish pizza. (May be counter productive due to condition coaches' raises, though.) [Andy]
Instead of Santas working for Salvation Army, they could put Vince Vaughn on the street ringing a bell next to the kettle. (The fake Santa beard is about as genuine as their playoff beards will be this year.) [Marlon]
Put Liz's dad in net for $100 bucks and a deep dish. (Fuck your league minimum, that's an expensive pizza!) [Liz]
Relocate to Osaka, Japan, one of their sister cities. (What's your CBA say about yen, Gary?!)
"The Official Chicago Blackhawks Lemonade Stand" (Just don't let Patrick Kane be the cashier.) [Marlon]
NOT signing Derek Boogaard to a 6.6 million dollar contract over 4/5 years. (There's not really any better punchline that I can come up with...) [Marlon]
Wearing Penguins jerseys and getting a blind eye from Gary. (Also saves money on Halloween costumes!) [Pete]
Step one: Call MacGyver. Step two: Give him some gum, a stapler, a fax machine, and a copy of the CBA. (Assuming they can afford all those supplies) [Kris]
Sign the members of the band Chicago. (I'll take "Baby, What a Big Surprise" over "Chelsea Dagger" any day. And that's how we'll all feel when they score.)
So, a few months back, I was asked my opinion on why I thought the Red Wings were so hated among the fans of the other teams in the league by Jennfrom Hockey Blogette for an article she was working on. What I wrote in response basically grew into another post of it's own.
However, somewhere along the line, things got mixed up, people got busy, and it just stayed in a folder on my desktop, fading into nothingness.
This is my response, my personal reasons and feelings why the Red Wings get so much hate from outside of Hockeytown.
I can come up with three solid, equal ideas. Some people fall into all 3 categories. Some only fall into 1. Ignorance, jealousy, and pride.
Ignorance: This is the reason I think is most applicable to the fans who hate the Red Wings. These are the fans who like their team, but don't like hockey. These are the fans who don't know the ins and outs of the game, let alone the business behind it. They think that the Red Wings are the New York Yankees of hockey. They saw the big free agent signings and the wins that came along with it and assume that the Red Wings were out buying Cups. They didn't bother to look into the deals and the inner workings of the organization to see what was really going on. They didn't see the pay cuts players took to open salary room to get the free agents to sign. And they didn't see the players ignoring larger, more lucrative contracts from teams on the bottom rungs of the NHL ladder and making less money all for a chance to win the Cup.
They never looked into our draft picks and saw that a lot of the major cogs of the dynasty were put in place by smart, tenacious scouting and excellent drafting. They never saw the trades made to bring in low key role players.
All they saw was the superstars raising the Cup.
Another major reason I think that the Wings are hated by pseudo-fans due to ignorance is because they so often get put in their place by Red Wings fans. They open their mouths in the playoffs or on message boards online-- and Red Wings fans, who are far more knowledgable, often shut them up. They like to pick out the trivial, useless things and try to attack the Wings and their fans using them. Wings fans don't back down once you call them out, so they often get labeled as "assholes" or "pricks" and that translates over to the team itself. Even if the Detroit supporters are polite, tactful, and receptive, they still get put down because they so effectively crush the dreams and spirit of the other fans. So Detroiters and the Red Wings all get thrown under the bus.
Jealousy: When the Red Wings have won more Cups in the past 20 years than some teams have playoff game wins, fans are going to get jealous. They're going to be angry that their teams just can't bring it all together like the Red Wings can. They're going to kind of revere the Red Wings, but they don't know how to show it. They get so much respect for the Wings and what they've done for the past 2 decades that it festers inside of them and turns into a hate.
Like the way you hate your neighbor for buying that nice new car or the beautiful addition he puts on his house. You wouldn't hate him if you knew how to do what he was doing right and could do it for yourself. If there was more parity in the league, the Red Wings wouldn't have so many haters.
Pride: There are, believe it or not, true fans of the other teams in the NHL. Usually, they're quiet and reserved because, well, they don't have much to cheer about. And that's because the Red Wings always put a good old fashioned ass whooping on them. They get so tired of having their teams' seasons ended or just being embarrassed by the Red Wings that they have no choice but to hate them. To them, the Wings are like that drunk guy at the party that comes in and pukes on the new couch and starts a fight. Everyone's having a good time, and then the Wings come in and spoil the mood. It's the more justified of the 3 reasons, but it still has it's ties into jealousy.
But the worst part about all of this is that the Wings are so hated across the league because they're just too good, but as soon as they slip up or don't do so great, they have all these haters digging a new grave in the hopes to start dancing on it soon.
We're one whole week into July, and thus one whole week into the NHL's free agency period. The Wings have been laying relatively low for the time being, not having signed any new faces to the team. Mike Modano aside, (we'll get to him later, trust me) there hasn't even been any big name courting.
This does not mean Ken Holland hasn't been busy. So far, he's inked Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves, both for one year, sub-one million dollar contracts. And word on the street is that he's close to signing many, if not all of our RFAs (the ones we actually want back).
I think this means a lot for this team for this upcoming season.
It's funny you should ask that, because I'm going to explain right now.
Signing 2 players isn't going to make or break a team. Any team. But this doesn't mean it's not important. This is what I see these signings meaning next season:
One of the most important things signing these two players shows to me is that our PK is going to be alright. Both players stick out in my mind from the past season for their willingness to put their bodies on the line to block shots and passes. This is one of those intangible factors that don't really show up on the back of hockey cards (do they still make hockey cards?), but it's one of the major keys to success on a game to game basis, and bleeding over into seasonal success.
Another thing I see happening as a result of these two signing is I think they're going to be even more productive on the other end of the ice, especially Miller. Miller only put up 4 goals his first year in college, following that up with 17 the next year, in one less game. Continue further into his career and you'll see that in 06-07 in the AHL, he scored 16 goals in 79 games for the Portland Pirates. In 07-08, playing again for the Portland Pirates (which was interrupted with a 3 game playoff stint with the Ducks) he put up 16 goals again, but in only 31 games. He seems like a player that grows in leaps and bounds when he gets a chance to stick to a single system or program. He really hasn't had much of a chance to prove himself in the NHL like that, bouncing back and forth from Anaheim to Portland/Iowa. Hopefully this year he can keep up the pattern he's shown in the past and light the lamp a good number of times more than this year, which wasn't too shabby at 10 goals in 66 games.
Eaves, on the other hand hasn't shown any clear cut pattern or consistency, but he seems to be doing well in the Wings' style of play. He's routinely been about a 50/50 player, with career goals and career assists sitting at 57 and 55, respectively (including college and US team stats). In the Red Wings system, he put up the 3rd highest point total of his NHL career in 10 games fewer than his highest scoring season. I can easily see Mike Babcock turning him into a 20+ goal scorer this year, something he's only done once.
Their confidence is going to be higher, leading to improved all around play. Resigning with the Red Wings shows them that they're wanted around here. They weren't just bandages here to stop the bleeding from last year's traitors --I mean free agent departures-- and injuries. This year, they're coming in with a spot on the team more than likely waiting for them, and the support of familiar teammates as well as becoming fan favorites/fakeboyfriends.
I see good, 'breakout' seasons coming for both of these guys. I just hope they don't make me eat these words later.
The Modanos and Their Fucking Flag. As a kid growing up in Westland and watching hockey, you knew Mike Modano was from around the area. How many people knew exactly where? I did. In the neighborhood directly to the west from mine, for the entire hockey season, in the shadows of the countless Red Wing car and house flags, flew a single Dallas Stars flag. I always had a love/hate relationship with Mike Modano. I liked him for being a hometown boy. Not just in the sense of being from my own state, like the Hatchers or Rafalski, but in the sense of "I know where your parents live, and you went to high school with my aunt". I hated him because he always seemed to do well against my beloved Red Wings, and how dare you do that to the team you undoubtedly grew up watching and loving. I have a feeling that if/when he signs with the Red Wings this year, it'll be basically the same thing. I'll love it because he'd be coming home to finish his career, and it definitely would be a heartwarming story, but at what cost? Will him signing mean another player that we've already had a spot for gets the axe? Will him signing become a liability due to his old age and unfamiliarity with the way the Wings play? In my heart, I want him to sign, play, succeed, and everything ends sometime in early June with Lidstrom handing the Cup to him. In my head, however, the risks outweigh the rewards. But to be completely honest, I'm still completely split on how I feel about him coming to the team.
Also, in regards to our former #22: good fucking riddance, Butt Sucking Lips.
My earliest memory of my entire life was a Steve Yzerman penalty shot way back when, and it just grew since then. Since joining the Marine Corps, I realized that the best way to get insight on the Wings wasn't going to be through mainstream media, it was going to be the fans. After reading about every Wings blog out there religiously, I decided to try one myself. I'll probably never get to the level of the Snipe Snipe, Dangle Dangles and the The Production Lines of the blogging community, but this is where I will write about the Red Wings. I hope you enjoy reading the words I type and the personal insights I provide about the Red Wings.