Many of you may have read my column on how I have become a hockey fan after years of following football, baseball, and basketball. Living in Cleveland, I have the minor-league Lake Erie Monsters to watch in person and root for, but I'm going to need a rooting interest in the NHL as well.
So I'm turning to the Bleacher Report community to help me out. If you believe I should adopt your favorite team as my rooting interest, please message me or comment a few lines on why I should root for your squad. Once I have made my decision, I will post the best responses I received as well as my decision for my adopted team.
Just to get you started, here is some criteria for consideration.
1. I don't want to bandwagon on a team with a history of winning lots of championships or recent titles. That pretty much cancels out the Pittsburgh Penguins. I prefer to jump on with a team that has yet to win a great deal so I don't feel like I've missed a lot.
2. No teams with awful uniforms. This may sound silly, but I've had no choice but to wear an ugly Cleveland Browns jersey all my life. You don't have a choice with your hometown teams, so for my hockey team, I want to be able to wear an awesome-looking jersey. So there goes the Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers.
Finally, I'll toss out a couple of my top contenders at this point. Of course I could be easily swayed by a great argument for any other team.
Pros - The logical choice geographically. Most of their games are televised on local television in Cleveland. They have nice-looking uniforms and have only been to the playoffs once, so when they do eventually win, I'll be along for the ride.
Cons - It took the Jackets nine years to finally make the playoffs and now, a year later, they are back in the dumper. Rooting for Cleveland teams, I'm not sure I need yet another perennial loser in my life. Also, this is the only time I have a whole league to choose from for a team, picking Columbus seems a tad, uh, safe.
Pros - The Avs are the parent organization for my Lake Erie Monsters, so I can continue rooting for the Monsters players once they are called up to the big show in Colorado. Lake Erie and Colorado wear similar uniforms and the Monsters even wear an Avalanche patch on their jerseys, so I'm kind of rooting for them already.
Cons - The franchise was the Quebec Nordiques from 1979 until they became the Avs in 1995. The first season as the Colorado Avalanche, they won the Stanley Cup. Something about that doesn't sit right with me. As a Browns fan, I'm very sensitive to that sort of thing. Moreover, they won two Stanley Cups in their first six years in Denver. Sounds like a spoiled fanbase to me.
Pros - Classic team with, in my opinion, the league's best uniforms. They play in historic Madison Square Garden. On their team website, I found out about a contest fans can enter and winners receive a jersey off the back of a player after the last home game. What a GREAT promotion!
Cons - Playing in the middle of Manhattan, it isn't likely that I would be able to attend very many Rangers games, if at all. They are owned by James Dolan, who also owns the New York Knicks and is none-too-popular in NYC. Finally, how could I genuinely root for a New York team to win a championship, as if they need more parades?
So there is a good starting point, but I need help making my final decision, so keep the input coming!