Shit's about to get fierce in here.
First off, we care a lot about the quality of websites in the NHL.
We just do.
They have a lot to represent in a short amount of time. They are meant to grab the attention of the fan and provide a snapshot of the essence of the team for all to see.
If the website doesn't look fierce and confident, how can we have any faith in the team? However, there is often an irony in who is doing the best job at being fierce, and who is falling flat. Thus it comes as no surprise that we visited the Tampa Bay Lightning website this morning and were greeted by this splash page (note: all images can be clicked for full size):
If you have any sense of good taste whatsoever, your eyes are immediately drawn to Brother Steven there on the left, his eyes seemingly looking into your soul, communicating to you an air of bravery, chivalry, and overall success. Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis are mere footnotes to the brilliance of this shot. Often, the sign of a good model is the ability to draw attention to themselves in a busy photo.
Steven Stamkos does just that.
And let's not even get into their new season slogan.
Together we will?
Together we will. . .what, exactly?
Get to set early for hair and makeup?
Surely they don't mean "make the playoffs."
Overall, this splash page is a fine representation of the Lightning as a team. By which we mean: coherence and beauty.
Seeing a well-executed splash page like this begs serious questions.
It's July. Are any of the League's other teams taking this prime opportunity to be at their fiercest? They have all the time in the world. And the splash page to a website is a fine vehicle for this concept.
First, we hunted down all the teams who are having splash pages in the middle of the summer. After seeing Tampa's, we expected greatness. We were taught a valuable lesson: if you're impressed by something the Lightning has done, don't expect greatness from anyone else.
Here are the Bruins, promoting their upcoming Winter Classic appearance with a nice shot of Timmybear. Okay, okay. We can deal with this. It's not anywhere near as fierce as Steven, but they tried.
The Winter Classic logo this year is pretty cute and it gives this design a much-needed dose of style. Even if that style kind of looks like it is for a girls' golf tourny. But. . .like we said. They tried.
The Buffalo Sabres = the antifierce.
What a terrible performance. A boring serif font is also good for a golf tournament, but not one that you expect anyone to actually be interested in.
This little girl is fierce as hell. But she's pulling it off all on her own. The Hurricanes made it to the conference finals this year, for Christ's sake. Shouldn't they be getting people pumped about shit already? Might we suggest players who are capable of being very, very fierce on film:
CamCam (even looking fierce in a casual photograph--never turn your fierce off, boys)
Detroit has managed here to combine a very terrible play on words with. . .Johan Franzen? Is that Johan? We can't tell because someone made him redder than he was before (which we never thought possible) and saved the .jpeg at what appears to be a somewhat middling quality.
We all know the Red Wings are happy to show up and have fashion shoots together, especially when they get to be all Swedish and wear jeans together, so what gives?
You can't blame the economy for this failure.
They're just milking the designs for all they're worth because their centennial was a fucking disaster. When you pay someone to design a fancy number 100 for you, you might as well use it, instead of embarrassing yourself trying to make Carey Price look like a winner. Not fierce, but can you blame them?
Second only to the Sabres page in antifierceness. As Penguins fans, we should be glad that they didn't cart in Mike Richards and Jeff Carter for glamour shots, but if you want to be the Broad Street Bullies, do something. When the Flyers try to look tough they end up looking kind of homoerotic, but that serves these purposes very, very well! Can't they see the light? Bring on the gay. It's a damned splash page.
. . .Now, while this has all been very enlightening, we became even more curious.
If not with a fierce splash page, how are all of the other NHL teams drawing your eyes to all the important parts of their website?
Not that we expected a ton from Anaheim.
This is acceptable. Acceptable doesn't mean fierce, but that's okay.
The top banner is just flat. It's like it didn't even try. You can refresh the page to get a different player gracing your sidebar, which is always a fun feature. We chose Bobby Ryan because Bobby, of all players on the Ducks roster, knows how to behave in a way which is fierce. And, in his own words, how to "be glorious." What a beautiful person.
Atlanta chooses to medicate us with some intense Ilyaface. Colby and Kari are fierce as hell but that is a coincidence and not a consequence of their design skills. The background is just awful. Banner is okay, though. We're not going to get picky, but if the Lightning are going to be so fierce, why not Atlanta?
Jarome Iginla here approaches fierce, but at a speed of maybe 5 miles per hour. The flames and typeface in the banner look like something out of an action movie title sequence circa 2002. Frankly, it's not something we feel comfortable with. Calgary could do a lot better.
Chicago, we have to address in two separate parts, just because in term of their team's aesthetic they've always been pretty spot-on, non-PC team logo aside.
First, the banner is nice. The logo in the background is straight from their regular home jersey and you can see the stitching and the texture.
And second, their sidebar refreshes to a variety of players, all looking pretty fucking fierce, with a neat little inset to show their name, number, and signature. Here is Patrick Sharp. This photo says: "I am part of a young dynamic team. That just signed Marian Hossa for 12 years. Fuckkkkk. But I still look fine."
Colorado is doing an okay job. They're managing to put the fierce in the text. Somehow. Don't ask us how. Either way, it's working. What with Matt Duchene coming up, the Avs might be the team to baby next season. We're all for "The Avalanche Experience", whatever that is.
Okay, so, the Blue Jackets website could be a lot fiercer. It doesn't have anything on the right side of the page, just black void. Admittedly, the banner is pretty adorable. And that front page story about the "new law"? It's about making sure little boys and girls wear helmets. Which just says a lot about the organization. We love the Jackets. Do they have to be fierce? Not really. But it might help.
In refreshing the relatively fugz Dallas page in search of a fierce player, we realized that they had nothing fiercer than a man who plays with the consistency of an alcoholic.
The Oilers page is just weird.
What is with the bottom left?
What are they trying to convey about their team image?
That there are random facial features sticking out of the corners?
This had potential. The soft blue tint to the players in the sidebar could have been atmospheric, not that the Panthers are atmospheric. In retrospect, the fact that they just made it Nathan Horton's gremlinface is totally representative of their franchise.
No. . .no matter how many times you refresh it, it still kind of looks like the cover of a medieval-themed porno. Which, if shot by Nigel Barker (noted fashion photographer), could probably be fierce. We need to get Nigel out there behind the goal, putting his camera through one of those goofy little holes behind the glass, and making people beautiful. And less tacky. Or is it more tacky?
Now, on to the Minnesota Wild. First off, the banner is pretty cool. Christmas colors aside (and god, they are pretty hard to get past), they have an old-timey, joyful aesthetic that, while it doesn't suit the team, manages to be somewhat delightful and cute.
Nearby, however, is their little sidebar. It has a few things that you can refresh to see. But on my own first visit to the site, I got the fiercest thing ever. It even reappeared time and time again after multiple refreshes.
WORK ITTTTTTTTTTTTTTT BOYYYYYYYYY
Welcome to nothingness.
It's like a black hole with Shea Weber hanging out in it. Which is pretty much what the Preds are. So we applaud them for getting the team concept right.
We can improve upon this though. Just a little.
We assume that the "it" in "IT STAYS WITH YOU" means Pepper.
Otherwise we'd have to assume other, much more painful things. You know, any memories you may have of genocide and war. Herpes. The pregnancy you didn't abort before it was too far along.
We understand the confusion experienced by the Devils organization in thinking they were selecting typeface for the cover of a young adult novel (perhaps about wizards and vampires and shit, as is the trend nowadays) rather than for a fucking Atlantic Division hockey team. At least they have a heartwarming commemorative brick offer to reel in the gay and take it home. . .or something.
They have Nickelback?
Fuck it. They've gotta be fierce.
Greasy Boy Canada will help them in that department too.
Plus, the Isles logo has a certain classic quality to it.
The ripped paper thing.
The New York Rangers have successfully conveyed a certain feel here. But that feel just says "WE RIP PAPER OH HERE'S HENRIK LUNDQVIST."
So much more could be done. We're not sure what, but they play in one of the world's most important, dynamic cities and their fanbase has a certain persona. That amounts to more than ripped paper and Swedes.
WE'D LIKE TO INTERRUPT THIS SYSTEMATIC ANALYSIS TO BRING YOU SOMETHING FAR MORE IMPORTANT
Apparently one other NHL team has a splash page that we didn't know about before.
AND IT IS UNDENIABLY THE FIERCEST THING YOU HAVE EVER FUCKING SEEN.
Yes, more so than Steven Stamkos.
It's a motherfucking Blingee.
This may all be a ploy to gain the affections of PH Staff after they robbed tolerable teams in the League of Alexei Kovalev.
It is a brilliant ploy if so.
Do you see the way the logo is also smiling with its eyes?
Do you see it as the embodiment of the Ottawa Senators franchise?
It brings the gay. In a delicate, gorgeous way.
FIERCEST SPLASH PAGE EVER AWARD
BACK TO HARSH CRITICISMS AND OUR REGULAR BROADCAST
We think that's Bryz but it's kind of hard to tell.
More Bryz would make this sufficiently fierce.
He could make a pile of dog shit fierce, let's be honest.
Aside from the obvious issue that the color of Nabby's uni awkwardly fails to match the color of the overall page, there just isn't a lot of fierce here.
Promoting your state as the current holders of the President's Trophy shows a lot of sass. It's like saying "Yeah. . .we choked in the first round. . .but we at least set ourselves up for a better fate."
It's a "fuck alls ya'll", if you will.
But we could stand to see Joe Thornton creeping out from the top right corner and asking us if we want a rum and Coke.
That'd be fierce.
At first glance, St. Louis looks like it's par for the course.
But then you have to realize: the logo up in the banner is actually like, half of someone's torso melting off into a gradient. It's awkward. It nags at the soul.
We have to give them credit for generally picking good facial expressions for their players. Not fierce necessarily. . .but they're not bad.
Except this one.
This is mere inches away from being a face a dude makes when strenuously fucking someone from behind.
And that isn't appropriate for the frontpage of your hockey site.
Wrong kind of gay. You know?
Nothing about the Toronto page is important except for the total "wtf" moment you get from looking at the right side of the page.
Like. . .whose bright idea was this?
What does it have to do with Toronto? We see no relation to the city, the team, its fans, or really anything real whatsoever. It's just mind-bogglingly unfierce. We all know that Vesa and Luke are fully capable of being sexily fierce when called upon, so where the hell are they?
Now, the Canucks page is a little something we like to call fierce without the tack.
Note the straight lines of the design, the cleanness of their typeface, and the overall "I'm motherfucking fierce" look of Roberto Luongo in his gear.
This is not the giddy crescendo of fierce achieved by the likes of Tampa Bay and Ottawa, but it gets its name called first at least one week and has its shot displayed as digital artwork in the house.
How to address the problem of the Washington Capitals?
They picked a really awesome, fierce photo of Ovechkin. In terms of Ovechkin photos, this is a fucking stellar image where he looks totally virtuous.
But you can't accomplish the impossible and make the Capitals fierce with a slogan like "RED IS CAPS HOCKEY." It would be understandable if they had a long tradition of red. But they don't. Home uniforms were primarily white forever and we of course all remember when they were doing that weird sea green/eagle thing:
So what gives, Washington?
Red is, like, Red Wings hockey.
Caps hockey isn't really analogous to a color at this stage of its life.
Get over it.
Oh, and you've probably noticed the obvious omission by now.
It's pretty much as fierce as it gets over on the Pens site.
The Penguins actually won the Stanley Cup this year.
It's the only fashion accessory we'll ever need.
Malks owns the picture in the sidebar. Max owns that goal celebration. TK just owns.
We hope you've enjoyed the day's education in Fierceness.
I mean, it's the middle of July.
But in the fierce way.
Saturday, July 18, 2009