Quick, name a current NHL line that has a catchy nickname. Drawing a blank? Yeah, you probably are, and there may be a few reasons for that. One, hockey nicknames have taken a hit as of late. They don’t really have the zest they used to. For every inspired nickname like Johan “The Mule” Franzen, you have multiple nicknames such as Patrick “Kaner” Kane. Another reason you may have a tough time coming up with a nickname for an NHL line combination is that lines aren’t often together for prolonged periods of time in today’s NHL.
The days of throwing three players on the ice and keeping them together for extended periods are gone. These days, the pressure to win at all costs is extremely high. When a player’s production dips or surges, the coach changes line combinations — in a hurry. A third reason we don’t get memorable line nicknames today is because the days of three players staying on the same team and playing productive hockey together are dwindling.
Back in the pre-salary cap days a team could sign two or three superstars and keep them together for a long time, allowing them to develop some chemistry. For the most part, those days are behind us as well. In the big picture, it’s pretty silly to get hung up on something like a nickname, but it does add some personality to the NHL. As these nicknames are slowly phased out of the sport, it’s nice to look back on the old days. With that in mind, here are the five best NHL line nicknames in NHL history.