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Lay Off My Logo: PR Flaks, Equipment Guys Police NHL Locker Rooms

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Memo to all reporters covering the NHL: the logo police are back, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are enforcing the letter of the law. John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press explains: ↵
↵⇥So I'm in the Penguins locker room, which is about the size of a port-a-potty, and get chastised for stepping on the logo in the carpet. ↵⇥

↵⇥Some equipment guy or PR flak comes up to me and says, "Can you please not step on the Penguin?" ↵⇥

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↵⇥Well, if it's alive I'll try not to step on the penguin. Or was some symbol representing something more important than a sports team. ↵⇥

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↵I ran afoul of the logo police in the Washington Capitals locker room after their very last home game of the 2006-07 regular season. With the team soon to scatter to the four winds, some players obviously never to return and President's Trophy winner Buffalo visiting, the room was a heck of a lot more crowded than normal -- at least for that year, which saw the Caps at the bottom of the standings yet again. ↵

↵Now, the Caps locker room is relatively roomy, but with players doing interviews in front of their lockers, you can run out of prime real estate pretty quickly. After a win against a popular opponent, it's not unusual to see folks packing up their gear in the press box a few minutes before the sound of the final horn. The fact is, the people you're rubbing elbows with are on deadline to deliver copy, audio or video, and every second counts if you don't want to find yourself on the outside looking in. ↵

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↵As a blogger who usually doesn't have a deadline like that, you try to be considerate of the needs of your colleagues. You make yourself unobtrusive and stay out of the way -- something the equipment guys tend to appreciate, as they have deadlines of their own. ↵

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↵You stay to the edge of the pack. When you are in the scrum, you let the beat writers and the wire reporters get their questions in first before you ask your own. ↵

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↵In any case, I was stuck on the edge of a scrum recording sound on a player I could hardly see through a mass of reporters, when Caps defenseman Milan Jurcina, in the middle of his own interview, stopped dead in his tracks to correct my stance. ↵

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↵"You're stepping on the logo sir," he said quite directly. But with my with my head turned away from him and me straining to hear the other player, the message didn't quite register (being called sir was a new experience, too). So Jurcina repeated himself with a more emphasis. ↵

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↵I got the message. I looked to the floor, and indeed, I had strayed over the very edge of the logo. Careful not to disrupt my right arm as it was stuck through the scrum, I edged my left foot off the logo in such a way that it was hard not to feel like I was Indiana Jones clinging to the side of a cliff and desperate not to fall into a crevice below. ↵

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↵Needless to say, it was not fun, and I felt more than a little ridiculous. But what are you going to do? It's their locker room. ↵

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↵Thankfully, at least in Washington, our logo concerns would soon disappear with the introduction of the team's new uniform at the start of the 2007-08 regular seasons. When I returned to the locker room in October 2007, I was relieved to find the old logo was conveniently covered by a carpeted pad and eventually replaced by a logo-less carpet. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.