This was spoken by Pittsburgh Penguins hockey player Carl Hagelin after winning the Stanley Cup. It is a congruent conflation of “played our butts off” and “played our hearts out” (to an extreme degree or very hard). Out and off are the culprits here. Of course, maybe Carl is a bridge player. A big thanks to Jake Holdcroft for hearing this one on a local sports program and passing it on!
I just heard this nice word blend malaphor today. A couple of guys in the sauna were talking about the Penguins/Predators final game for the Stanley Cup and one blurted this out. It is a mash up of “nail-biter” (a situation whose outcome is marked with nervous apprehension) and “heart-breaker” (a situation that causes great sadness). Since the subject was hockey, perhaps “icebreaker” (to initiate a conversation or get it started) was also on the speaker’s mind.