Â“Speak with criminal slang/that's just the way that I talk, yo.Â”
Â– Big L
If there's one thing I want more of in the NHL, it's nicknames. And calling Dustin Penner Â‘Pens' or Brett Clark Â‘Clarkey' isn't going to cut it. Â‘Sid the Kid' is good, especially if we continue to call him that well into his 30s (it's not like, had he lived past his early 20s, they would have started calling Â‘Billy the Kid' something like Â‘Billy the Middle-Aged').
Working at The Hockey News, we naturally come up with a lot of shorthand for teams and players, many of which would be super-fun (not to mention easier) to use in headlines and stories if only people knew what the heck we were talking about.
With that in mind, and at the suggestion of senior editor Brian Costello, I'm a bust out a little bit of my personal office slang today. Feel free to spread the gospel.
The Dirty Birds Â– The Atlanta Thrashers. They play in hip hop's Dirty South and they're named after a bird. The NFL's Falcons also had this name and if Ilya Kovalchuk wants to pump his arm up and down, then left to right after a score, a la Jamal Anderson, I have no problem with that.
Lil Bryan Â– Staying in Atlanta, this is our name for rising rookie star Bryan Little. This is also the best joke that THN web columnist Adam Proteau ever made, noting that Atlanta is also home to hip hop star Lil Jon, who happens to love the Thrashers, as an added bonus. In mimicking the popular Dave Chappelle sketch about Lil Jon, I also like to add a Â“What?Â” every time Bryan Little's name is announced.
King Louie Â– Roberto Luongo isn't exactly killing things so far this year, but let's face it; he's usually one of the best goaltenders on the planet. And the best goaltender on the planet needs a good name. I like Â‘King Louie.' It's simple, to the point and reminds me of the orangutan from The Jungle Book. And really, wouldn't an orangutan make a pretty good goaltender? Especially the King of Orangutans?
Cool Bryz Â– Anaheim goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Pronounced Â‘Cool Breeze,' this one is pretty self-explanatory. The Ducks toss Cool Bryz into the fire every time Jiggy goes down and the laid-back Russian just rolls with it. No Stanley Cup without him, don't forget thatÂ…
MOVEMENTS OF YOUTH I'm not saying I predicted Jiri Tlusty would score two goals in his NHL debut for Toronto, but the thought definitely ran through my head yesterday when I heard he would be in the lineup versus Pittsburgh. I certainly didn't predict his first goal would go in off his backside, but hey, results are results.
The idea of giving teenagers a shot on the big squad is one a lot of teams are going to be giving more credence to in the coming days. Milan Lucic is playing huge in Boston, as is Phil Kessel, who just turned 20 earlier this month and is in his second campaign. Jordan Staal worked out pretty well for the Pens last year and The Dirty Birds' Lil Bryan (gotta get the jargon going) doesn't turn 20 until Nov. 12.
Sure, you'll get a Luc Bourdon in Vancouver who needs more seasoning elsewhere, or a Jonathan Bernier, who the Kings rightly thought would get more defensive support with Lewiston of the Quebec League, but rolling the dice can often lead to great things.