Sports clichés - the lingua franca of the hockey world


Clichés – love them or hate them. They are prevalent in just about every sport out there. But, for some reason, they seem to be at their worst (or best?) with hockey.

It’s like a whole ‘nother language when you put a microphone in front of a hockey player. They’re so adept at speaking in nothing but clichés that you’re left wondering if that’s how they speak all the time. The players have gotten better over the years – or perhaps the clichés have changed over time so that they’re not as noticeable – but they sound more genuine now than they have in the past. Some still speak the language of their forbearers, however; the current master in speaking this language fluently is probably Sidney Crosby.

So what makes a cliché? Is it a phrase that’s been used over and over and over again until it’s just overused? Or is it just something so general that it can apply to just about anything? Maybe a little of both?

I asked a group of SB Nation hockey writers to roll off some clichés, and here’s what we came up with:

  • "Play a full 60 minutes"
  • "Throw the puck on the net"
  • "Backs against the wall"
  • "Net presence"
  • "Good road period"
  • "Get the puck on the net"
  • "Score that ugly goal"
  • "Dog the puck"
  • "Already plays with men"
  • "Unbelievable"
  • "You know"
  • "Better and better"
  • "Giving 110%"
  • "Taking it one game (or one period, or one shift) at a time"
  • "Whoever scores the next goal will have all of the momentum"
  • "Squeezing the stick"
  • "We got some lucky bounces"
  • "The guys are hungry"
  • "Shaking off the rust"
  • "Keep it simple"
  • "Need to shoot more"
  • "Can’t look at the standings"
  • "Play both sides of the puck"
  • "Remember that save"
  • "He’s a high energy guy"
  • "In the best shape of my life"
  • "The next goal is huge"
  • "Doing what he does best"
  • "He’s good in the room"
  • "The big save"
  • "Standing on his head"
  • "He does all the little things right"
  • "He knows how to win"
  • "Big body presence"
  • "The goalie is the team’s best penalty killer"
  • "He’s willing to pay the price"
  • "Compete level"

I can go on, but you get the idea. My personal pet peeve is "better and better". I really hate that one the most.

What clichés have we left out? What are the ones that make you grind your teeth the most? And who is the worst cliché machine on the NHL team that you follow? Please leave it in the comments!

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