The Pittsburgh Penguins finally took down the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7 last night to clinch their first Eastern Conference championship in seven years, in the process ending the Bolts oh-so-close “back-to-back” Cup final appearances. It also sets up our 2016 Stanley Cup Final matchup where for the first time we’ll not only have two animal logos facing off against each other, but a matchup where one logo is actually eating the other one! (no seriously, the original Sharks logo shows a shark chomping down on the Penguins logo).
With the end of the NHL’s two conference finals we have a whole new set of “phantom championship” merchandise to share, these are the various caps, t-shirts, pennants, flags, and anything else that would have been sold if the teams that lost had actually won their respective series’. This year your phantom conference champs are the St Louis Blues out of the west and the Tampa Bay Lightning from the east.
We’ll start with the team with the longer conference champion draught, the St Louis Blues:
The Tampa Bay Lightning 2016 Eastern Conference Champions merchandise:
Merchandise is also created for potential cup final matchups, known within the industry as “duelling” designs. With four possible scenarios there are three sets of “phantom” duelling merchandise for us to look at.
2016 Stanley Cup Final: Pittsburgh Penguins vs St Louis Blues
2016 Stanley Cup Final: Tampa Bay Lightning vs San Jose Sharks
2016 Stanley Cup Final: Tampa Bay Lightning vs St Louis Blues
Check back in two weeks when we’ll have our Stanley Cup “phantom” champions collection on display for either the Pittsburgh Penguins or San Jose Sharks… next up, probably my poor Toronto Raptors in the NBA Eastern Conference. Stay tuned! In the meantime, if you liked this sort of thing you can look through our “phantom” champs archives and re-live the memories of the Carolina Panthers championship at Super Bowl 50, or the Mets triumph over Kansas City in last year’s World Series.