By Mark Lazerus – WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The NHL and the league office have decided on a new term to describe what it means to be in the Stanley Cascades: The best hockey team in the NHL.
It’s a term that, if applied to the NHL, might mean that the team that wins the Stanley Cups of the Eastern Conference is the best team in all of sports, at least in the minds of the average fan.
“The term is the ‘best’ team,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in a phone interview on Monday.
“It’s going to have a negative connotation in a lot of people’s minds, but it’s the best hockey we have and the best group of guys that we have in the League.”
The NHL and NHLPA had agreed to the term in an effort to promote unity and make the playoffs more entertaining.
“We’re trying to be as inclusive as possible,” Daly said.
“The only thing we’re really going to get is a collective response.
There are a lot more people who care about this than I thought.”
While the term is being used by fans and the media, Daly said that it doesn’t apply to other teams in the playoffs.
“If you want to call the San Jose Sharks the best teams in hockey, then that’s up to you, but if you’re looking for the best, that’s a different discussion,” Daly told Reuters.
“It doesn’t mean they’re the best.
It doesn’t say they’re in the top 10.
It just means they’re at the top of the standings.”
Daly said the term has been in the works for some time and that he expects it to be adopted.
The NHL, which is in the midst of the first round of the playoffs, has used the term for years to describe teams with strong hockey cultures and that have the best chance of making the Stanley Playoffs.
In a statement, the league said it’s using the term to promote “competition, competitiveness, and teamwork.”
“This is an important step to build on the current collective-sport model,” the league added.
“We look forward to seeing how it translates to the fans, players, and media.”
The term will be part of the NHL’s new slogan and is the result of a yearlong discussion between Daly and NHL Players’ Association executive director Jeff Zatkoff, the union said.
The union is asking players to vote on the slogan, which Daly said will be officially unveiled on Tuesday, with players and fans in attendance to vote.
“I think it’s a good start,” Zatko said.
“One thing I like about the term and what we want to do is we’re not trying to just say ‘this is the word.’
It’s an extension of what we’ve always done and that’s to try to create something new.”DALY: ‘It’s the Stanley’s way of saying we’re proud of you’The term also is being applied to other hockey teams, including the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.”
To me, the term ‘the Stanley’s Way of Saying We’re Proud of You’ is a very strong one,” Daly added.
Daly also said he would like to see more NHL players, who have been outspoken about their support for the Stanley, speak up.
“There is a sense that if you’ve ever been out there and witnessed a player being booed in a locker room, you know how tough that is to get over,” Daly noted.
“What we need to be talking about is how are we going to do things to get these guys out of the locker room if that’s the only way they’re going to be able to get their message across?”‘
There’s a lot that goes into winning’The NHL’s decision to use the term “best team in hockey” is a bold move by Daly and a clear nod to the “team of the year” awards that are now handed out annually to the league’s best team.
The term has its critics, with many sports fans complaining about how it sounds and some sports pundits calling it a slap in the face to the Stanley.
“They’ve tried to redefine it,” Daly remarked.
“I don’t know what the definition of ‘best team’ is.
I just know that they’ve tried and they’re trying and it’s not working.”