One emo or punk song for every NHL team: ‘Why Bother,’ ‘Heartbreak No. 53’ and much more angst

So, we (Arthur Staple, Sean Gentille and Charlie O’Connor) decided this had to happen. One emo/punk song for every team as we enter the 2022-23 season — a track to capture all your emotions about your favorite club. These are in no particular order other than how desperate we got trying to find a song that worked or how delighted we were with our choices.

If you don’t see your favorite song here, please feel free to add in the comments. If you think our picks suck, also hit the comments. Spotify playlist embedded at the end.


Igor Shesterkin stands alone. (Brad Penner / USA Today)

New York Rangers

“The Reasons” — The Weakerthans

Charlie: It’s not quite fair to call the Rangers a one-man team, but let’s be honest – take away Igor Shesterkin last season and they’re not sniffing 52 wins and a conference final berth. Consider this song a thank you to Igor from fans, players and everyone connected with the organization. You might roll your eyes at this, Mr. Shesterkin, but they’re all so glad that you exist.

Staple: Keeping Shesterkin upright and happy is priority No. 1 for this team. If we were in the U.K., the fans would sing the chorus to this every night at The Garden. That would be a delight.

SG: My initial idea was to find a song with lyrics from Shesterkin’s perspective — something about how our narrator was angry over doing everything by himself. Charlie’s idea was better, partially because it’d remind everyone that we could’ve applied the Weakerthans’ most well-known song to the Jets and gallantly did not.

New Jersey Devils

“Welcome To The Black Parade” — My Chemical Romance

Staple: This was an easy choice and not just because the Devils have wisely taken this on as their theme song. “Give a cheer for all the broken / Listen here, because it’s who we are” – if there’s a better way to describe being a Devils fan circa 2022, I haven’t heard it yet.

SG: Could’ve thrown a dart at a wall full of My Chem songs and not gone wrong. The Devils are spooky and from Jersey. That’s shared DNA. Also, I distinctly remember listening to the first My Chem record in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot with my friend Jesse and saying, verbatim, “I think they have too many songs about vampires to be popular.” Whoops.

Charlie: I’m envisioning Lindy Ruff asking Jack Hughes before Game 1 of this season if he’s ready to be the savior of the broken, the beaten and the damned, and I’m cackling.

New York Islanders

“You’re So Last Summer” — Taking Back Sunday

Staple: Summer of 2021: Lou Lamoriello and the Isles were riding high, coming off a second straight Eastern Conference final, keeping contracts secret, the whole deal. Summer of 2022: Heads are called for, the secrecy isn’t so cute anymore. You’re a touch overrated – maybe so. TBS are Islanders too, so how could we not?

SG: Picking a non-Long Island band here would’ve been a disgrace. I assume Arthur said “If I’m just bad news, then you’re a liar” to Lamoriello last year when he had a desk full of unannounced contract extensions.

Charlie: You know, this song also kind of works as a semi-breakup song for Lou and Barry Trotz, with the latter screaming the chorus back at the former. I have trouble imagining Trotz swinging a mic at a presser Adam Lazzara-style, though.

Sidney Crosby, JNCOs not pictured. (Tom Horak / USA Today)

Pittsburgh Penguins

“You’re Never Going Out Of Style” — Teenage Bottlerocket

Staple: Sid, Geno, Tanger … together basically since every reference in this one was hip. I have no idea if they’ll be any good this year since we’ve all been predicting the Pitt crash for a few years now, but those three are like “The Humpty Dance” checked in this track: Familiar. Comforting. A little dated, but it still works.

SG: Are we sure Sidney Crosby never owned a pair of JNCOs? Are we certain?

Charlie: Easier to imagine: Crosby wearing JNCOs, or Malkin in a Members Only jacket?

Philadelphia Flyers

“Self-Destruction (As A Sensible Career Choice)” — Spanish Love Songs

Charlie: I’ve been yelling from the mountaintops – OK, mostly just on Twitter – for the past two years that this is the only choice for the Flyers’ theme song. The first line is literally “Well, all I hear is ‘patience,’” which essentially was GM Ron Hextall’s (ultimately fruitless) mantra to the fans for half a decade. Now, after building a roster that has embarrassed itself on the ice for two consecutive seasons, Chuck Fletcher is left needing about “30 goddamn miracles” for this team to return to legitimate contention. And come on – the chorus is basically just angry Flyers fans screaming at the one poor remaining foolish optimist left. “It won’t be this bleak forever?” Yeah right. Have you seen the Flyers lately?

Staple: Chance that Torts says “need about 30 goddamn miracles” in a postgame presser this season? 93.1 percent.

SG: “I’ll die here in the Midwest” will apply when they’re in Columbus, finishing up their eighth loss in 11 games.

Washington Capitals

“At Your Funeral” — Saves The Day

Staple: Another Metro team whose demise keeps being forecast. They can be so much fun though. I’d offer you my hand / It would hurt too much to watch you die” – no one wants to see the Ovechkin era end just yet. Well, maybe some other teams’ fans do.

Charlie: Flyers fans certainly thought they were going to be singing the requiem as the Caps slowly faded from relevancy while their team ascended. Welp.

SG: I’ll eulogize the Caps when Alex Ovechkin is living in Moscow full time and not a second before.

Carolina Hurricanes

“I’m A Loner Dottie, A Rebel” — The Get Up Kids

Staple: The Canes zig when everyone else zags. They snap up interesting free agents or make cool trades, then they change a year later. They’re the internet darlings of the NHL but somehow always out of reach. “I won’t come back / I hope you’ll understand” – they just leave us all wanting more.

SG: A couple more playoff series losses may, indeed, mean the rest of their lives.

Charlie: If they follow the actual path of The Get Up Kids, they’ll watch the next wave of teams following their model for success actually be the ones who grab the brass ring, while they just miss out on the ultimate reward. So what, does that make the Avalanche … Fall Out Boy? Stay tuned.

Columbus Blue Jackets

“Doublewhiskeycokenoice” — Dillinger Four

SG: One of the great “alright, let’s get this going” songs of all time. A Johnny Jump-Up, in addition to being a lovely thing and what the Blue Jackets got themselves over the summer, is Jameson and cider. Also, Green Day ripped off the intro to this song for “American Idiot.” Not in a “these songs just sound similar” way, either. It’s flagrant.

Staple:I got a basement full of booze / And some blues to lose” – the Jackets deserve a little sunshine after all the desertions.

Charlie: D4 being a classic midwestern punk band is just the icing on the cake for this one. I feel like Jake Voracek, being a huge Springsteen guy, would find something to appreciate here too.

Tampa Bay Lightning

“Where The Lightning Strikes Twice” — Foxing

Charlie: The Lightning are utter cowards for not making this their theme song during their 2021 run to a second straight title. Try to tell me that the song’s “Knights of Cydonia”-lite vibe wouldn’t have played well in an arena, too. You can’t. Cowards, I say.

Staple:With everything we gave it / It’s hard not to feel devastated” – maybe not the most inspiring rallying cry after the three-peat fell short last year, but they’ll be back.

SG: It took us too long to land on this one.

Best of luck to Jonathan Huberdeau and the Panthers. (Winslow Townson / USA Today)

Florida Panthers

“Scott Pilgrim vs. My GPA” — Mom Jeans

SG:It’s hard for me to see exactly / where the hell I went wrong,” are the words of a baffled, dumped guy. Sounds like Andrew Brunette, Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar to me.

Staple:I’ve given up on luck” – with Tampa and Toronto there, somehow it feels like the Panthers need some major good fortune to make it out of this division. Like, ever.

Charlie: The closing “I sleep well alone now” mantra could also be Aaron Ekblad trying desperately to convince himself that he’ll be just fine propping up a pretty underwhelming blue-line corps on paper with Weegar now gone.

Buffalo Sabres

“Planning a Prison Break” – The Receiving End of Sirens

Charlie: Let’s be honest, the Sabres have been planning their prison break from the league’s basement for nearly a decade now. Might this particular attempt actually be the clean getaway their fans so desperately want it to be?

Staple: Feel like Sabres fans have been quietly saying “This is the last night in my body” for a while.

SG: If this is Charlie comparing Buffalo to a prison, I simply won’t stand for it.

Boston Bruins

“Looking Good” — Grumpster

Staple: Love this one because the song title implies things are fine, but the song does the opposite … kind of like how the Bruins, with their core still intact, may just crumble under the weight of major injuries and getting old. “Any second now I could blow this up / It’s not looking good for us” – maybe a new coach can keep this thing together. Maybe.

Charlie:How do you sleep at night knowing what you’ve done” brings me back to Don Sweeney’s classic bungling of three straight first-round picks in 2015. Truly a legendary moment in bad drafting.

SG:Any second now I could blow this up” could apply to several different folks within the organization. Patrice Bergeron had the opportunity over the summer but passed.

Montreal Canadiens

“Heartbeat in the Brain” — The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

SG:Making some promises like ‘I’ll see you again’ / So when will I see you again?” is as uncertain as it gets — as is Carey Price’s future.

Staple: I think Price’s future is pretty certain there, buddy. This is a nice track though.

Charlie: Love going with The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die as the band for the Montreal Canadiens. It’s perhaps in the only current band name as long as the Habs’ average pregame ceremony.

Detroit Red Wings

“The D in Detroit” — The Anniversary

SG: This would’ve worked a little better last season — the Red Wings’ “D” is a little less scary now that we’re in the Moritz Seider era — but hoo boy, that’s a lot of money for Ben Chiarot.

Staple: Maybe it’s scary in a good way? These guys could be … better at least. That’s something.

Charlie: At the very least, Seider is pretty scary, and not just because he’s really good. “We collide, and onward we fly” is a pretty solid way to describe his brand of physicality plus high-end skill on the back end.

Ottawa Senators

“The Middle” — Jimmy Eat World

Charlie: The Senators clearly aren’t a bad team anymore. But they might not be a good team quite just yet. They’re … in the middle. Perfect for the peppy Jimmy Eat World megahit that exudes the newfound positivity surrounding the team while also acknowledging that it still might take some time for them to put it all together. But everything will be alright … right?

SG: This is good advice that a solid chunk of Sens fans is not going to follow.

Staple: If the Sens were to go full Devils and make this their theme song for 22-23, that would be bold. And tremendous.

Toronto Maple Leafs

We couldn’t pick just one for everyone’s favorite team, so each of our choices is below.

“The Obituaries” — The Menzingers

Charlie: A fan suggested to me last year that the Flyers use the chorus of “The Obituaries” as their new goal song; sure, it was never going to happen, and the Wells Fargo Center would have had to bleep out the best parts anyway. But the profane chorus is perfect as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan theme. Hey, the Leafs always do.

“Heartbreak No. 53” — Mikey Erg

Staple: Technically we’re on Heartbreak No. 55 or so, right? All three of us came up with Leafs choices basically within seconds and none of them are hopeful. Maybe that says more about us than them. I mean, they’re gonna be good. It’s just a matter of what comes next.

“100 Resolutions” — The Lawrence Arms

SG: This entire song is about trying to convince yourself that everything will be different — including yourself — because the calendar just changed. Not difficult.

Minnesota Wild

“Waiting Room” — Fugazi

Staple: I picture our Mike Russo playing this one on a loop after the latest first-round exit. “I am a patient boy / I wait I wait I wait I wait” – he and the fans have been singing this one for a long, long time.

SG: The appointment has been on the books since 2012, and the line is long.

Charlie: What happens first? Fugazi plays a reunion show, or the Wild finally make it back to a conference final?

Jordan Kyrou is hungry for a karaoke duet. (Jeff Curry / USA Today)

St. Louis Blues

“Hey Look Ma I Made It” – Panic! At The Disco

Staple: This team feels like a perennial contender now, something I never thought I’d say about them. They’ve got their kids locked up for a while, Vladimir Tarasenko might even want to stay and they just chug along among the elite. Maybe they can’t get past the Avs, but this is still not your big brother’s Blues.

Charlie: My primary issue with this one at first glance is that the Blues just didn’t strike me as flashy enough for the extravagance of Panic! At The Disco and Brendan Urie, but it turns out they scored only one fewer goal last season than the star-powered Avs. Learn something new every day.

SG: If Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou haven’t scheduled a karaoke duet for this, they should. I bet the Panic! At The Disco guy hasn’t made $65 million.

Winnipeg Jets

“Why Bother” — Weezer

Charlie: Lots of ways this one works. First, as a nod to how many high-profile players leave for perceived “better” locales and break the hearts of the diehard Jet fans. Second, a commentary on both incarnations of the team’s inability to win a Stanley Cup. And finally, the fact that the first Jets team did actually desert Winnipeg, leaving them without an NHL club for a decade and a half. Somehow, the Jets find about as many ways to hurt Winnipeggers as Rivers Cuomo hurts still-loyal Weezer fans.

SG: Let me guess — “It’s gonna kill when you desert me” is the defensive zone singing to Mark Scheifele.

Staple: God, there are about half a dozen “Blue Album”/”Pinkerton” tracks that feel like they’re about the Jets right now. If early Weezer blends well with your hockey team, run.

Chicago Blackhawks

“All That’s Left” — Thrice

Charlie: A ghost is indeed all that’s left of their glory days. Well, I guess Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane remain … for now.

SG: Is it a ghost, or is it Patrick Kane?

Staple:We are the dead” – too bad no one will be there to see it by the end of this season.

Colorado Avalanche

“My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” – Fall Out Boy

Charlie: The Avalanche score a lot of goals, and given the quality of their core, are going to be extremely annoying for every other team in hockey for the foreseeable future. Light ’em up, indeed.

SG: Passing on other comments to note that this stupid song is nine years old already. Fall Out Boy is due for another set of songs designed to be played as commercial bumper music during sporting events.

Staple: Only took until the 20th track for Gentille to get cranky. I had the under.

The Coyotes got no place to go. (Joe Camporeale / USA Today)

Arizona Coyotes

“Everything I Own Fits In This Backpack” — The Wonder Years

Staple:You can’t send us home man / We’ve got no place to go” – the Yotes are in the wandering-in-the-desert phase right now. Also, I hear the new building is tiny, so this thing works on levels.

SG: Ah yes, a classic of the “life on the road sort of sucks” genre. Not ideal for it to be applicable to a professional sports team.

Charlie: As much as I think the Flyers song fits their current state, I have to say, I’m a bit annoyed that we’ve given the local Philly area legends to a team in the desert.

Dallas Stars

“Minor Threat” — Minor Threat

Staple: The Stars feel kind of meh, but maybe they’re laying in the weeds a little in what could be the toughest division to crack. “Pay no mind to us” – that’s what they want you to think.

SG: I’m banking on Rick Bowness’ exit to make the Stars a marginally more major threat.

Charlie: After an 81-point season at age 37, Joe Pavelski has definitely earned the line, “It’s not how old I am, it’s how old I feel.” I guess the much younger Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn duo can adopt it for the opposite reason.

Nashville Predators

“Trusty Chords” — Hot Water Music

SG:I might need a sedative, but I hate the taste of medicine.” David Poile refuses to rebuild, even though (on some level) he knows he should.

Staple:You’ll get it right sometime, you will” – yeah, maybe, but when?

Charlie: Chuck Ragan’s solo music absolutely fits in Nashville, so this one works from a spiritual sense musically, too.

Edmonton Oilers

“I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both” — Jawbreaker

Staple: The hockey world wants it so bad for Connor McDavid it feels like everyone is now that adorable couple from the fan photo with McDavid that went viral a few years back. Somehow it just never works out. “I want to call you and tell you that I’m a fan” – we get it, we get it. Let the guy breathe a little.

Charlie:All my friends know better but I can’t quite hear them,” except the narrator is Peter Chiarelli and all of his friends were, well, the entire internet-based hockey community.

SG:I don’t think I hate you enough to commit you to me” is something the Oilers front office should’ve said to Connor McDavid before his last contract extension. They didn’t, and now here we are.

Good luck forgetting this guy. (Sergei Belski / USA Today)

Calgary Flames

“Never Meant” – American Football

SG: One tweak to one of the best breakup songs (and songs period) in the history of the genre, as it applies to Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames: The night they realized they were falling out of love was sometime in June, not autumn. And Gaudreau realized it first.

Staple:Cause you can’t miss what you forget” – maybe Johnny Hockey and the city of Calgary can just move right on. I’m sure the fans will be fine with that idea.

Charlie: They certainly tried to fill in the hole in their heart left by Gaudreau with an immediate splashy rebound relationship, and I’m not sure there’s anything more classically emo than that.

Vancouver Canucks

“That’s What You Get” — Paramore

Charlie: The Canucks are a team with some really good players that can never seem to stop themselves from shooting themselves in the foot by giving out contracts far too long and too expensive to players they irrationally really, really like. In other words, they constantly let their heart win. “I drowned out all my sense with the sound of its beating” sums up the Jim Benning era, and “Why do we like to hurt so much?” could be the slogan for the entire fanbase.

SG: I like this one. Jim Rutherford’s heart won when he didn’t move J.T. Miller, and Miller’s heart/wallet just took Round 2. A divorce probably would’ve been better for everyone.

Staple: The Canucks’ emo playlist is a mile long. So much drama with these guys.

Los Angeles Kings

“Brains” — Marietta

SG:Maybe I’m just ancient to my old friends / Or maybe I’m just making things upthat’s what Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick say in a locker room filled with 23-year-olds.

Staple: Feel like these guys are gonna be good real soon and we won’t be able to make fun of them for hanging on too long.

Charlie: Unlike Arizona taking The Wonder Years from us, I can more easily accept the Kings nabbing Marietta here, given the whole “Philly West” thing back in the early 2010s. They got Richards and Carter, why not one of our old underground emo bands too?

San Jose Sharks

“Who’s Gonna Save Us?” — The Living End

Charlie: As someone who covers the Flyers, I feel like I’m uniquely qualified to state that I don’t think there’s a team in a more hopeless situation right now than the Sharks. I guess they’re just going to have to wait out those Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic contracts? Yup, this franchise needs saving.

SG: I like this one. “Maybe Mike Grier can fix this” is the best anyone around this team can muster.

Staple:We’re under powered now” says a lot.

I think the Ducks are still in love with John Gibson, left, and Derek Grant. (Jeff Curry / USA Today)

Anaheim Ducks

“Think I’m Still In Love With You” — Joyce Manor

SG: I’m imagining Pat Verbeek looking at his roster after an impressively bloodless teardown and saying, “Look at me now, there’s nothing else left to break.”

Charlie: This is about them trading Derek Grant at the deadline back in 2020 only to quickly re-sign him the next offseason, right? Or maybe their unwillingness so far to find John Gibson a new home?

Staple: Wondering if “Nothing I could do or say / Is ever gonna make you want to stay” will be ringing in our ears when the Trevor Zegras/Troy Terry extension talks start.

Seattle Kraken

“An Introduction to the Album” – The Hotelier

Charlie: The Kraken are just getting started as an NHL team, making them the perfect candidate for an intro song that really isn’t. And also, this allows me to take a shot at their underwhelming approach to the expansion draft last summer, with the song’s closing line: “I had a chance to construct something beautiful and I choked, I choked, I CHOKED.”

SG: Are we applying “You shot from the hip and missed” to the expansion draft overall or giving more than $35 million to Philipp Grubauer? Doesn’t matter. This one works.

Staple: I’m not as down on the Seattle expansion draft experience as others, but the Kraken are certainly in prime emo phase right now.

Vegas Golden Knights

“Sugar, We’re Goin Down” — Fall Out Boy

Staple:Am I more than you bargained for yet?” What a ride for these guys. Feels like it’s about to come apart though, and it could be a wild time on the way down.

Charlie: Nah, the bargaining line is a reference to them constantly exceeding the collectively-bargained salary cap ceiling.

SG: Can you go down in an earlier round if you don’t make the playoffs?

(Top photo: Nick Turchiaro / USA Today)

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