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NHL Blueline Review: #RoarBacon Should Win the Hart Trophy

Like many who watched Wednesday’s rivalry clash between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, I relegated the game to a peripheral interest after the first period, with the Blackhawks comfortably ahead 5-2. The TV was on in the background when I heard a Blues goal. And then another, late in the period.

I rushed back in, just in time to see David Backes tie the game up in the final minutes of the second. After that, the Blues’ Instagram account gave us the opening shot of what could prove to be the rallying cry of the 2015-16 season:

roarbacon-Salute

Courtesy St. Louis Blues Instagram

As you see from the screenshot, Blues fans picked up immediately on it, and made it a sudden hashtag that trended (It certainly helped that Vladimir Tarasenko wound up scoring the game winner in overtime to cap the comeback). It continued through the week, and was celebrated in our Power Rankings last week. A mascot (shown above) was adopted. A new Twitter account has memorialized it.

As for the genesis of the odd rallying cry, it was likely computer-assisted. Most company social media accounts, including those of hockey teams, are administered by staff using smartphones, which have infamously and irrepressibly used auto-correct programming to change messages. Thus, the likely-intended message of “roar back” slipped to become “roar bacon.”

These are the kinds of things that lead to Stanley Cups. The Florida Panthers‘ one and only Cup run was littered with toy rats. The Detroit Red Wings turned a clever number joke into their yearly octopus fixation. Even the Cardinals, the Blues’ baseball neighbors, rode the Rally Squirrel to 2011 World Series title.

This should be taken under advisement: the Internet and social media are notorious for trends that are here today and gone tomorrow. If the Blues slip into mediocrity and yet another early playoff exit, it will end with a whimper. Other teams may attempt (or are currently attempting) to forge their own auto-correct inspired memes. St. Louis may switch to beef, a more Kosher option.

We don’t see that happening. #roarbacon is here to stay. Get ready to see slices of thick-cut maple pork belly fly and land at the Scottrade Center during the season. Those famous St. Louis barbecue joints could see an uptick in requests for bacon baked beans. Go Blues, Roar Bacon.

THREE TO WATCH

Ottawa at Nashville (Tue., 7 CST, Fox-Tennessee [en], TSN-5 [en], RDS [fr]): 80-percent of the league is playing on a very busy Tuesday night, but this is the game you need to watch. Both teams are threatening for leadership of their divisions. The Sens’ top scorers are Mark Stone and Kyle Turris, and the Preds offense is led by Roman Josi and James Neal – and all four are not shy about playing physical.

Winnipeg at Dallas (Thu., 7:30 CST, Fox-Southwest, TSN-3): The Stars have the league’s two top scorers in Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, and could be on a four-game winning streak heading into this game. It’s a game the Jets need to stay in the chase and to keep Dallas running away with the Central Division.

Detroit at Boston (Sat., 7 EST, NHL Network, Fox-Detroit, NESN): Original Six, identical records, could loom huge in the playoff chase – how can you go wrong?

THREE TO DODGE

Buffalo at Tampa Bay (Tue., 7:30 EST, NBCSN): This is getting the national audience treatment on the Peacock Jock Network, but I have no idea why. Maybe there’s a hidden market for people who want to see Jack Eichel get beaten to a pulp.

Calgary at Washington (Fri., 7 EST, SportsNet-West, CSN-DC): The league’s worst defense hits the road to visit Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie. Great.

Colorado at Montreal (Sat., 7 EST, TVA-S [fr], SportsNet [en], Altitude [en]): I’m sure the good people of Montreal will welcome back Patrick Roy with warm hearts and open arms.

GIRLFRIEND QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Every week, I watch dozens of hockey games with my girlfriend, who is also a big hockey fan. Unlike other girlfriend-viewing situations, her questions tend to be about finer points of tradition, strategy and technique, and not the typical “What’s ‘Offsides’? Is that like it is in football?” type. Here’s this week’s question:

She: “Why do the Montreal Canadiens have a big orange dude as their mascot? Isn’t he a little too warm and fuzzy for a hockey legacy like that?”

Answer: She, of course, refers to Youppi!, the Habs’ mascot since 2005. Here’s a look:

youppi

Courtesy Montreal Canadiens

Not exactly the face of the infamously hardcore Quebecios fanbase that terrorizes opponents (and occasionally their own team) at the Centre Bell. But this is a tale of compassion by the Habs: Youppi! – which is French for Yippee!, and yes, that name does include the exclamation point – was the longtime mascot of the erstwhile Montreal Expos. When the Expos were forced onto the poor citizens of Washington, Youppi! stayed behind. He was threatened with fading into oblivion when the Canadiens picked him up and replaced a baseball jersey with a hockey sweater. Fortunately, this happened before the Alouettes or Impact could sink their respective claws into him.

Hockey mascots are common, but not universal. They range from the venerable (Calgary’s Harvey the Hound) to the obnoxious (Anaheim’s Wildwing) to the actually-pretty-cool (Pittsburgh’s Iceburgh).

COACH DEATHWATCH

Players get cut, traded and sent to the AHL all the time. If you REALLY want your team to stop sucking,it starts with firing the coach. Here are the coaches around the NHL that should get their resumes in order and buy the Rosetta Stone Swedish program, listed in descending order of their imperilment.

Todd Richards, Columbus

Patrick Roy, Colorado

Bob Hartley, Calgary

Claude Julien, Boston

Bruce Boudreau, Anaheim

Dave Tippett, Arizona

Mike Babcock, Toronto

Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles

Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis

Todd McLellan, Edmonton

Paul Maurice, Winnipeg

McLellan is back on the Hot Seat. With Connor McDavid out until St. Patrick’s Day, that means that the Oil are now being led offensively by Taylor Hall, whom Edmonton will trade to the Rangers in February for some magic beans and an Xbox. And it’ll somehow be the coach’s fault.

We’re also putting Paul Maurice on the spot now. It’s been a few years, and the Jets have tasted the playoffs, and they expect regularity or else. Nobody in this town wants to watch the Blue Bombers any sooner than they have to.

THE WEEKLY GOAL HORN REVIEW

Click the link! Push the button! Cheer!

The Calgary Flames. I’ve often joked that the worst team in the NHL should be forced to use a Nickelback song for goals the following season, which means that Flames fans should feel threatened. However, this song doesn’t make that a sufficient punishment. It’s just another mediocre kegger-rock song from the early 2000’s.

Grade: C-

“YOU HAD TO KNOW THAT WAS GONNA HAPPEN”

For the 30th season in a row, the NHL is trying to cut down on fighting. Instead of simply penalizing players, the NHL Blueline Review believes we should study the CAUSES of hockey violence. Each week, we’ll look at a fight and how it could have been prevented. Increase the Peace!

San Jose’s Micheal Haley is ready to go! just called up from the AHL (San Jose’s AHL team is also in San Jose – great money-saving move there, guys), and he wants to prove he belongs. His first target: Florida’s Shawn Thornton, who also has racked up the frequent flyer miles back and forth to the AHL.

That’s hunger. That’s two guys who want a spot on the roster so bad, they set a fight in the middle of play to prove how bad they want it. And Haley didn’t stop there: he went after Anaheim’s Clayton Stoner Saturday night. We’re going to pencil him in for the Blueline Review’s 4th Line of the Year.

HOCKEY FOR VEGAS DEGENERATES

We see how it is; now that the DFS apocalypse has come to pass, you gamblers want to come crawling back to betting on games? Very well: every week, we’ll give you a Tuesday night game to plop money on with our for-entertainment-purposes-only expertise!

Vancouver (-110) is a dog on the road to Columbus? There will be a little awkward in the air when they visit old coach John Tortorella and his new team, Columbus, but the Jackets aren’t playing well enough to be favored anywhere.

Blueline Review Season Record: 1-3

HOCKEY COURT

Hockey Court is a semi-regular feature of the NHL Blueline Review wherein our crack legal experts critique suspensions and disciplines laid down by NHL VP of Player Safety Stephane Y. Quintal. This week, we look at…

…Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, who is on a first-name basis with the NHL DPS staff. Let’s see what he did to the Habs:

That’s it? He had to try to excuse that? I’m not one of those “HOCKEY’S GETTING SOFT DUURRRRR THEY NEED TO LEGALIZE HEADSHOTS AGAIN LIKE THE 70’S” types, but this is nothing but a beautiful and legal hit from Byfuglien. Glad the league agrees with me here. Let ’em play, and keep your head up.

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