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The Opening Faceoff: Playoff anthems

by Shawn P. Roarke / NHL.com

Stand up and be counted
For what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We'll give you everything you need
Hail hail to the good times
'Cause rock has got the right of way
We ain't no legend, ain't no cause
We're just livin' for today
For those about to rock, we salute you
For those about to rock, we salute you
We rock at dawn on the front line
Like a bolt right out of the blue
The sky's alight with the guitar bite
Heads will roll and rock tonight
For those about to rock, we salute you
For those about to rock, we salute you
For those about to rock, we salute you
Yes we do

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You), AC/DC

If the NHL ever got around to writing a soundtrack for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, these Aussie rock legends would be the ones to do it. Their brutal, straight-ahead, simple rock n' roll would provide the perfect backdrop for the physically brutal, north-south, simple game that defines hockey’s spring.

And if the AC/DC boys were too busy to pen a new classic, they could just re-work For Those About to Rock, the title track of the album they released in 1981. CTN heard it the other day and was struck by how appropriate it is to describe the postseason.

Like rockers, hockey players are in the entertainment business, delivering a product to a loyal following. Heck, the rock n' roll acts often use the same venues as hockey players. In those arenas, the fans spend their time exhorting their heroes on to even greater heights, be it musically or athletically. And in the communion that develops between participant and audience member, the performer feels the necessity to salute the crowd for its part in the process.

So for those about to rock this spring – both the players from the 16 qualifying teams and the fans that will pack the arenas – CTN felt it was the perfect time to salute you all.

And just like last season, CTN felt the best way to kick off Crashing the Net’s postseason coverage is to present a lyrical breakdown of the 16 playoff teams. This time around, though, CTN has limited himself almost exclusively to music from the 1980s. What can CTN say, other than he has been listening to too much First Wave music on the satellite radio this month. So aside from one pre-’80s song and one post-’80s song, the rest of the lyrics are all from the '80s soundtrack that have influenced so much of all our lives.

CTN would love to hear from readers about lyrics they think are appropriate to various playoff teams. We’ll even run the best ones in next week’s Penalty Box. So send your suggestions, or any other hockey-related comments, to roarkeblog@nhl.com. Remember to include your name and hometown.

The Opening Faceoff

CANADIENS

We carry in our hearts the true country
And that cannot be stolen
We follow in the steps of our ancestry
And that cannot be broken

Dead Heart, Midnight Oil

Of the 16 teams in the playoffs, none carry the burden Les Habitants march under each postseason. Montreal is the most successful franchise in hockey, which approaches a religion in the city. Each team – and each player – is held to standards set by those that came before. The Canadiens players can’t escape the legacy of the past. Fortunately, they don’t even try.

PENGUINS

I don't care if Monday's blue
Tuesday's gray and Wednesday too
Thursday I don't care about you
It's Friday I'm in love
Monday you can fall apart
Tuesday, Wednesday break my heart
Thursday doesn't even start
It's Friday
I'm in love

Friday, I’m in Love, The Cure

You can hear the optimism and hope in Robert Smith’s voice as he belts out this song about the power of new love. The message is simple: What has come before no longer matters because he is in love again. Well, that’s what has happened in Pittsburgh. The city loves its hockey team again. The on-ice struggles, the off-ice issues, the arena battle, they all have been forgotten by a team that is hard not to love and had a chance at the Eastern Conference title on the last day of the season.

CAPITALS

Fast and furious
We ride the universe
To carve a road for us
That slices every curve in sight
We accelerate,
No time to hesitate
This load will detonate
Whoever would
Contend it’s right
Born to lead
At breakneck speed
With high octane
We’re spitting flames

Freewheel Burning, Judas Priest

If those lyrics by Judas Priest don’t describe how the Capitals play hockey when they reach top speed, CTN has no idea what does. The song’s message especially is appropriate for Alex Ovechkin, the leader of this motorcycle gang of a hockey team. He’s fast and furious, he doesn’t hesitate, he always accelerates and he’s always ready to detonate. Washington is a high-octane proposition for sure.

DEVILS

In my mind and in my car,
We can't rewind we've gone too far
Oh-a-a-a oh
Oh-a-a-a oh
Video killed the radio star.
Video killed the radio star.
In my mind and in my car,
We can't rewind, we've gone too far,
Pictures came and broke your heart,
Put the blame on VCR
You are a radio star

Video Killed the Radio Star, Buggles

The Devils have played virtually the same style for the past 15 years. Yes, the players change, but the commitment to fundamental, defense-first hockey never wavers. And why should it? The Devils have been a perennial power since 1994 and have won three Stanley Cups since 1995. But the club has won just two playoff series since their last Cup, in 2003. Could it be time to change and look in a new direction? Smarter minds than CTN know that answer. CTN is just asking the question and reminding all of the price associated with not progressing at the pace of your industry’s innovations.

RANGERS

Okay, what you say
Tell me what they're wearing this year
Go on and laugh at me ’cause you don't see
That I got something going right here
Say I'm just a dreamer
Say I'm just a kid
Well ace, shut your face
Maybe you will see or hear
You gotta look sharp
You gotta look sharp
And you gotta have no illusions
Just keep going your way looking over your shoulder

Look Sharp, Joe Jackson

The Rangers have some young kids in very important positions. Rookie Ryan Callahan is a key penalty killer. Rookie Brandon Dubinsky is an important offensive forward. Marc Staal is a rookie defenseman logging serious minutes. And despite the fact that it seems like he has been around forever, goalie Henrik Lundqvist is in just his third season of NHL play. But the team is not dreaming when it says it is a contender, even with its youth. In the end, the Rangers may silence more than a few critics – and look sharp along the way.

FLYERS

Loaded like a freight train
Flyin' like an aeroplane
Feelin' like a space brain
One more time tonight
Well I'm a west coast struttin'
One bad mother
Got a rattlesnake suitcase
Under my arm
Said I'm a mean machine
Been drinkin' gasoline
And honey you can make my motor hum
Well I got one chance left
In a nine live cat
I got a dog-eat-dog sly smile
I got a Molotov cocktail with a match to go

Night Train, Guns N’ Roses

Have you looked at this Flyers squad? They are a rough-and-tumble outfit. Jason Smith, Riley Cote, Scott Hartnell, Mike Richards, the rehabbing Derian Hatcher, Scottie Upshall – there aren’t too many shrinking violets in that group. They can be a mean machine that can ignite pyrotechnics at the drop of a glove, er, hat, CTN means. The Flyers surely will try to out-physical the Caps and turn this series into a smash-em-up affair to get the Caps’ skill players off their game. It’ll be interesting to watch, for sure. 

SENATORS

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful Wife
And you may ask yourself-well ... how did I get here?

Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads

The Senators certainly are asking themselves that very question – How did I get here? – at this very moment. How, in fact, did Ottawa arrive at its present nadir? Once, they were the most feared team in the NHL, able to score goals virtually at will. Today, they can’t score, they can’t get along and they can’t figure out what, exactly, is wrong. If they don’t find some answers soon, though, the Sens may be asking just how they ended up on summer vacation before the calendar even hit May – an unthinkable thought just three short months ago.

BRUINS

Sit there thinkin’
In your room
You feel the pressure
You’re goin’ crazy, too
The walls around you
Closin’ in
Breaking the chains around you
Nobody else can bind you
Take a good look around you
Now you’re breaking the chains

Breaking the Chains, Dokken

The Montreal Canadiens certainly have the Bruins tied up at the moment. Montreal has won all eight regular-season meetings between the two rivals this season and owns a commanding advantage in the impressive postseason history the teams share. But for Boston, none of that can matter. Spring is about rebirth and renewal and that is exactly what the Bruins need. They need to forget about the dominance Montreal has exercised over them this season and treat this first-round series like a new beginning. Forget the lopsided scores, forget the frustrations, forget the magical ride Montreal goalie Carey Price appears poised to enjoy and do the things you do best. Simply, Boston needs to break history’s chains and move forward.

RED WINGS

We’re not scared to lose it all
Security throw through the wall
Future dreams we have to realize
A thousand skeptic hands
Won’t keep us from the things we plan
Unless we’re clinging to the things we prize
And do you feel scared – I do
But I won’t stop and falter
And if we threw it all away
Things can only get better

Things Can Only Get Better, Howard Jones

Detroit has been in this position so many times. How often have they been the best team in the regular season only to come up short in the postseason? Too many is the answer from players and fans alike. But that disappointing past cannot rule what should be a glorious future for a team that is as deep and talented as any in the tournament. Detroit can’t play scared – it can be scared, but it can’t be scared to lose it all – if it wants to deliver on the promise born out of regular-season dominance.

SHARKS

In touch with the ground
I'm on the hunt I'm after you
Scent and a sound, I'm lost and I'm found
And I'm hungry like the wolf
Strut on a line, it's discord and rhyme
I howl and I whine, I'm after you
Mouth is alive, all running inside
And I'm hungry like the wolf

Hungry Like the Wolf, Duran Duran

The year before the lockout, the Sharks reached the Western Conference Final. The loss there to Calgary was made a little more palatable by the fact the Sharks believed it was just the start of something great. But San Jose has lost in the second round each of the past two seasons. Now the wait-’til-next-year mentality is no longer feasible – the time is now for San Jose. That has been obvious from how the Sharks have approached everything this season, including the trade deadline-day acquisition of Brian Campbell. San Jose is starving for a Stanley Cup and the Sharks plan to hunt it to the ends of North America this spring to finally get their fill.

WILD

You burden me with your questions
You'd have me tell no lies
You're always asking what it's all about
But don't listen to my replies
You say to me I don't talk enough
But when I do I'm a fool
These times I've spent, I've realized
I'm going to shoot through
And leave you
The things, you say
Your purple prose just gives you away
The things, you say
You're unbelievable

Unbelievable, EMF

No matter what the Wild does, it can’t seem to win the affections of the hockey community outside Minnesota. They are accused of playing defensive hockey, even though they scored more goals than five other playoff teams, including Western Conference favorites San Jose and Anaheim, the defending Cup champion. They are accused of lacking stars, yet have game-breakers like Marian Gaborik and Pavol Demitra. They are tagged as not tough enough for a long playoff round, yet they rarely have been out-muscled since being abused by Anaheim in last year’s playoffs. In the end, it doesn’t really matter, though, because Jacques Lemaire, their coach, doesn’t need to justify anything. His 11 Stanley Cup rings are justification enough for anything he does with his club.

DUCKS

Ain’t found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat
Seems every path leads me to nowhere
Wife and kids, household pet
Army green was no safe bet
The bullets scream to me from somewhere
Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah, here come the rooster, yeah
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, ya know he ain’t gonna die

Rooster, Alice in Chains

When you picture the rooster in this anti-war song by Alice in Chains, you picture someone that could easily play for Randy Carlyle – a tough son of gun that knows his way around the block and will do what it takes to survive. You can almost see a Chris Pronger or a Brad May, decked out in camouflage and war paint, gliding through the jungle on a mission, can’t you? The Ducks roster is full of rooster-like guys, and all their toughness and guile will be tested as the rest of the Western Conference tries to kill off the defending champion. CTN, for one, thinks the Ducks have the mettle to handle that daunting challenge.

STARS

Well, they blew the horns
And the walls came down
They’d all been warned
And the walls came down
They just stood there laughing
They’re not laughing anymore
The walls came down

Walls Came Down, The Call

Every year, prognosticators write off the Dallas Stars' playoff chances, pointing to past disappointments. Every year, the Stars say it will be different this year. They have to be right once in a while, no? One of these times, the Stars will put it all together, won’t they? Marty Turco will play well at the same time the offense is clicking and the Stars will become a tough out. You all have been warned, so don’t be surprised if this is the year Dallas knocks the playoff walls down.

AVALANCHE

The change, it had to come
We knew it all along
We were liberated from the foe, that's all
And the world looks just the same
And history ain't changed
'Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war
I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
No, no!
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Won’t Get Fooled Again, The Who

Could there be a more appropriate song for the Avs? Yes, a lot has changed for Colorado in the past few years. But they still are riding the foundation of their glory years as they embark on another Stanley Cup campaign. Thanks to some late-season signings and trades, Colorado has Peter Forsberg and defenseman Adam Foote to once again help captain Joe Sakic lead the quest for the Cup. Despite the fact that those three hockey legends are getting up there in age, it’s not too bad a ruling troika to rely upon. But it is certainly a case of meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

FLAMES

Tell me, am I getting in too deep?
Every night I'm talking in my sleep.
Lately I am so confused.
I really don't know what to do.
Could you be the one I'm thinking of?
Could you be the girl I really love?
All the people tell me so,
But what do all the people know?

What Do All the People Know, The Monroes

The Flames are one of those teams that a lot of people enter the postseason harboring reservations about. Yes, they are good, but not great. Plus, they have a tough draw against the red-hot Sharks. But, they have some players – captain Jarome Iginla, defenseman Dion Phaneuf, goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, and coach Mike Keenan – that can be the difference in at least one series, if not more. So while they might not be the odds-on favorite to win the Cup, they have to be considered a dark-horse candidate. And, like The Monroes ask in all their one-hit glory: What do all the people know?

PREDATORS

Some may say
I’m wishing my days away, no way
And if it’s the price I pay, some say
Tomorrow’s another day, you’ll stay
I may as well play
Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon
I hope my legs don’t break
Walking on the moon
We could walk forever
Walking on the moon
We could be together
Walking on, walking on the moon

Walking on the Moon, Police

CTN is not a big fan of the Police usually, but Walking on the Moon is a righteous song about the power of love. And it is applies perfectly to the Preds here. Nobody believes their playoff run is meant to last, that they are mere fodder for the top-seeded Wings, but the Preds themselves don’t believe that. While they are over the moon to get into the postseason after such a difficult season, they believe they can make some noise in this tournament – and that is neither wishing their days away nor walking on the moon, friends. The Predators are a very dangerous team.



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