November 02, 2010
There's nothing more joyously cathartic for a hockey fan than being in an arena amongst likeminded individuals and seeing the puck enter the net, the referee signal it's a goal and the arena coming to life with horns, sirens, lights, cheers and songs.
(Conversely, there's nothing more devastating than having all of that occur and the goal being waved off. But let's not dwell on the negative.)
Each arena has its own flavor, its own way of celebrating a goal. It means something to the fans and, frequently, to the players; or did you miss the psychological damage inflicted by the Blackhawks' goal song last postseason?
Coming up, the top 15 Eastern Conference NHL arena goal celebrations for the home teams. The ranking is based on uniqueness of the experience; whether an opportunity for an even greater celebration may have been squandered; the quality of the goal horn; the quality of the goal song; and, of course, the personal preferences of the Puck Daddy editorial staff on what we like to hear.
The Western Conference ranking will be posted in the early afternoon later today. Now, pop on your headphones and get ready to chant, scream and wave your rally rags (or whatever giveaway you may have handy) ... and perhaps even learn a thing or two about your conference neighbors.
We didn't want to burden you with 15 different video clips, so please do check out the "Listen Here" links for a sample of each goal celebration.
We've used the most recent information available on each goal song. If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments. Also, check out Dave Caldwell's fine piece from the NY Times last April on goal song trends.
And here ... we ... go.
15. Boston Bruins: (Listen Here) Two guttural booms of a fog horn that sound like something off the "Inception" soundtrack, and then a pedestrian appropriation of "KernKraft 400" by Zombie Nation. We're as surprised as you are that we're left wishing the Dropkick Murphys were featured here. Missed opportunity.
14. Florida Panthers: (Listen Here) Emphatic horn, right into "KernKraft 400" by Zombie Nation. In the past, they used to slip little cat growls into the goal celebration, which struck that difficult balance of being totally awkward and totally kitschy. Didn't hear any on this Cory Stillman clip, though. Bottom line: Why aren't they mixing in more Randy Moller into the goal celebrations?
13. New Jersey Devils: (Listen Here) As if Lou Lamoriello would have it any other way, the Devils' goal celebration sounds about the same as it did roughly 15 years ago: Blaring horns leading into "Rock and Roll Part II," so the same fans chanting "Rangers Suck" during games and who scream "sucks" after visiting player names during intros have yet another forum for their mockery: Doing the "Hey, You Suck" during the Gary Glitter tune. But c'mon, you're Jersey and the Devils: That's a lot of squandered potential for a more unique tune.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins: (Listen Here) Fans will no doubt complain that the goal horn sounds different than it did at Mellon Arena, but it's still darn impressive. "Song 2" by Blur is too generic for a team with the star-power and history of the Penguins; get Girl Talk on the case for mash-up glory.
11. New York Islanders: (Listen Here) Controversy! The Islanders have a classic goal horn that takes you back to the days of Mike Bossy potting goals for Al Arbour's teams. But after the horn ... no Gary Glitter, no Pennywise, no Blur. Nope, the Islanders have chosen "Live is Life" by Opus, a "na na na" ear worm suggested by center Zenon Konpka and agreed upon by his teammates. Opus is an Austrian band, and "Life as Love" was released in the 1980s. Said Konpka: "So many teams play the same old thing. ... This song is unique to us in the NHL. By the time we scored a few goals when we debuted it, you could hear the fans doing the Na Nas. It's fantastic. I know it's only to get better. This team, these incredible fans...this is our song." For better or for worse ... maybe a Gogol Bordello cover is in order. The "Woos" at the end are a nice touch.
10. Washington Capitals: (Listen Here) An impressive goal horn that blares for nine seconds over a siren, which continues on while "KernKraft 400" by Zombie Nation plays. The siren takes this thing up a notch over similarly themed celebrations.
9. Montreal Canadiens: (Listen Here) A rather high-pitched goal horn hits a few times before rolling into the chorus of "Vertigo" by U2. Good stadium rock song, for sure; but using an anthem that features "hola" and "que pasa" in that notoriously language-scrutinizing province? Sacrebleu!
8. Tampa Bay Lightning: (Listen Here) Solid air horn, which had been followed by "Rock and Roll Part 2" in the past. But on this Steven Stamkos goal from earlier this season, it's MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This." And when Marty St. Louis scored a game-winner against the Penguins, it was "Louie Louie." So they're getting creative down in Tampa. We approve.
7. Atlanta Thrashers: (Listen Here) The Thrash had used Blur's "Song 2" as a goal celebration ditty, but have added "Ole!" by Bouncing Souls to the mix; apparently using the former for even-numbered goals and the latter for the odds. A bit of an annoying horn, but two good tunes:
6. Toronto Maple Leafs: (Listen Here) Classic hockey horn blares for about five seconds, and then a new song this season. Some fans hear a remixed version of last season's Zombie Nation song; others hear a remixed version of Metallica's "Wherever I May Roam." Whatever it is, the song has booming bass and loud guitars that are somewhat undermined by a piped in "GO LEAFS GO" during the tune.
5. Philadelphia Flyers: (Listen Here) The Flyers have an annoying goal horn, which is incredibly appropriate considering the team doing the celebrating. Philly uses "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise as a goal song, and it's a perfect fit for that madhouse ... even if the Chicago media gave the decision to the Blackhawks in the Battle of the Goal Songs last Stanley Cup Final.
4. Ottawa Senators: (Listen Here) Like the Detroit Red Wings, this is a team that does player-specific goal songs. After a train horn blasts several times, the Sens have a variety of songs. Last year's collection including "I Gotta Feeling" by Black-Eyed Peas for Jason Spezza(notes) and "Beautiful Day" by U2 for Daniel Alfredsson(notes). Best ever: "Mike Fisher" by Thousand Foot Krutch for when Mr. Underwood would score.
3. New York Rangers: (Listen Here) Written by MSG organist Ray Castoldi, "Slapshot" is the unmistakable goal song for the Rangers that follows a bellowing goal horn. It starts with a siren, includes plenty of "heys" for the fans and a chorus of "Let's Go Rangers." As in-house, tailor-made versions of stadium anthems go, it's a keeper:
2. Buffalo Sabres: (Listen Here) The horn sounds like an express train pointed at your living room window, and it segues right into an air raid siren. The song they use is "Hell Yeah" but Rev Theory. The whole thing works, and makes us angry that so many of the Sabres' forwards are underachievers.
1. Carolina Hurricanes: (Listen Here) Starts with a deep, drowning goal horn playing over Blur's "Song 2," and then things get freaky. There goes Ric Flair, saying "that's a Ca-ro-lina Hurricanes' goal! Woo! Wooooo!" There's a "Yabba Dabba Doo!" and a Homer Simpson "d'oh!" and a Dice Clay "oh!" And is that Chewbacca we hear?
(Note: We're assuming the Hurricanes have kept this as their goal celebration. Alas, in their first two home games of the season, they did not score.)