Monday, 28 July 2008

Alternate Information

With all that was happening this weekend, I neglected to post anything on this blog (as you may have noticed). I helped my brother move into his new house on Friday night, went to Jeff and Melissa's wedding on Saturday, and spent the final day with my extended family on Sunday before they returned to southern Ontario. However, a friend of mine did text me with the subject of "New Alts 4 NHL" along with a HockeyBuzz link. As you know, our good friend and hockey prognosticator, Eklund, works for them, so I was slightly skeptical of the information he was sending.

It turns out that Howard Berger was writing the article, and he's come up with descriptions of each alternate jersey he has seen thus far. Some sound reasonable while others sound like a three year-old designed them. I'll run through them quickly, posting Howard's description followed by my thoughts.

"ATLANTA: The club will introduce a dark red jersey with the word 'THRASHERS' on the front, just above the player’s uniform number, which will appear on both sides of the design. A broad white stripe will adorn each arm of the jersey with a dark red number in the stripe. A broad white-and-dark blue stripe will run down the sides of the jersey."

Can't they just replace the god-awful baby blue jerseys? If anything, these sound like Dallas' home uniforms, only in red. I wasn't fond of Dallas' design, but Atlanta's alternate jerseys will be a definite improvement over the hideous home jerseys they currently wear.

"BOSTON: The Bruins will unveil an all black jersey with the club’s alternate logo on the front – a black bear with the word 'BRUINS' above it in a semi-circle. Two gold stripes will appear on the arms, with gold numbering above the stripes and on the back."

We had seen a variation of the Bruins' alternate duds earlier this year, but the video has since been removed from YouTube. I think they looked pretty decent. The logo, as Mr. Berger wrote, will look like their shoulder patch. I think these jerseys will be alright, and a definite improvement over the Winnie-The-Pooh designs. I still would have preferred them to go with the early-1990s version of the Bruins uniforms or even their 75th anniversary throwbacks, but these new uniforms should get a passing grade.

"BUFFALO: The Sabres will bring back their original road jersey – the blue design with the round 'cross-sword' logo on the front, and the three gold stripes on the arms and the bottom of the jersey. It’s the uniform the Sabres’ first GM/coach, George (Punch) Imlach, requested; a design similar to that which Imlach's Maple Leafs had from the 1967 playoffs through 1969-70. And, it’s the jersey Buffalo wore during road games from the beginning of the franchise in 1970-71 to the end of the 1995-96 season. Beginning in 1996-97, the Sabres switched to a black, red and white uniform, and completely redesigned their logo. Another redesign occurred prior to the 2006-07 campaign, with the team returning to its blue and gold color scheme."

These alternate jerseys should be their home and road design. High marks from this writer in bringing back these alternate jerseys. Now if they could only wear them on the road as well! Well done, Sabres!

"CAROLINA: The Hurricanes will introduce a black third jersey, with red and white trim – different than their customary red home uniform with the black and white trim. Each arm will sport red and white angular stripes. The bottom of the jersey will feature a narrow white stripe and a thicker red one. In between, will be 10 white stars. The club’s red logo on the uniform front is placed within a white triangle, presumably to honor the famed Research Triangle that dominates the Raleigh-Durham area."

I'm unsure of this idea. I really like the look of Carolina's home jerseys, and resent the fact that they are using a detail colour as a primary colour now. Unless you have black as one of your dominant colours, you shouldn't use it as a primary colour. Ever. Someone actually mocked up a design, and I am not a fan of this at all.

"CHICAGO: The Blackhawks will return to the predominantly black third jersey they have worn in recent years. A white stripe flanked by two red stripes will appear on each arm, and at the bottom of the jersey. A wide red stripe is featured at the tip of each arm. The traditional Blackhawks Indian-head logo appears, as usual, on the front."

Why can't they go with their traditional look as the alternate? Seriously, how much better does this jersey look compared to this jersey? This might be the first mistake that Rocky Wirtz has made since taking over the franchise's operations. Blackhawks fans love their traditions, and the throwback jerseys would have been huge, especially with the Winter Classic taking place at Wrigley Field this season.

"DALLAS: The Stars’ third jersey is simple… a white uniform with the word “DALLAS” crowned on the front, atop the jersey number, which appears on both sides. Parallel dark-green and black stripes appear on each arm. There are no stripes at the bottom of the jersey."

Dallas' home jersey now become a white alternate jersey. Wow... creativity at its finest. I thought you would have been better than this, Dallas. You know, maybe go back to wearing your star-designed jerseys? At least they ditched the female anatomy jersey. That alternate was one of the worst of all-time.

"EDMONTON: The Oilers are going back to their glory days with the predominantly blue jersey Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier et al wore on the road while winning five Stanley Cup titles between 1984 and 1990. Orange shoulder piping will re-appear, along with a broad orange stripe at the tip of each arm. Two white stripes flanking an orange stripe are on the arms and near the bottom of the jersey. The original round Oilers logo, with the orange oil drip and blue team name, is on the front."

Huge thumbs-up to the Oilers in returning to a very recognizable jersey design. While I really liked the Todd McFarlane-designed alternate jerseys, new owner Daryl Katz grew up watching the Oilers of the 1980s, so I appreciate this look. Well done, Oilers!

"LOS ANGELES: The Kings will unveil a predominantly black jersey with the letters 'LA' inside a pencil-point logo on the front. Broad white stripes will adorn each arm. A thin white stripe will run horizontally on each side of the jersey, just beneath the shoulder. There are no stripes at the bottom of the uniform. The color purple – widely evident in the Kings’ primary jersey – will likely be featured in the number outlines of the alternate, though the photo copy I have doesn’t clearly show it. A better idea would have been a reprise of the Kings’ original purple and gold uniforms from 1967, but the club marketers are apparently not bent on tradition."

Why does LA insist on going with black? Are they incapable of designing anything else? Does someone there wish they worked for the LA Raiders of the NFL? I have to agree with Mr. Berger and vote for the gold-and-purple jerseys. Those look classy, and Mr. Dionne agrees with me (unofficially).

"NEW YORK ISLANDERS: The Isles are going back to their original road jersey from 1972-73, when they joined the NHL along with the Atlanta Flames. It is a royal-blue base, with broad orange and white stripes on the arms and at the bottom of the jersey. The uniform numbers – as they appeared during the club’s inaugural season – are orange with white trim. Player names will also be orange. The Islanders switched to white jersey numbers after their dreadful first year in the league; when they compiled a 12-60-6 record... worst, to that point, in NHL history."

The throwback jersey gets a thumbs-up from me. I like the look of it, and it harkens back to the Islanders' dynasty days. While I would have been ecstatic had the Islanders chosen to go with the Fisherman look again, I'm certainly happy with the choice of the throwback jersey.

"OTTAWA: A dramatic change in the Senators’ third jersey will see a predominantly black uniform with the word 'SENS' angled upward on the front. A fashionable red stripe will run from the arm pits, down the side of the jersey, to its base, where the stripe turns inward. A pair of narrow red and white stripes will adorn each arm, and the very bottom of the jersey. It’s quite a sharp design."

If it looks anything like their previous alternate jerseys, I'm ok with the design. However, this wordmark on the front seems a little "beer league" to me. Why are they just putting "Sens" and not the team name? I'll reserve the right to hold off judgment until I actually see these uniforms.

"PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers are also going for tradition, bringing back the predominantly orange jersey the club wore at home when it joined the NHL in 1967-68. White shoulder piping will again run the length of each arm, with orange numbers trimmed in black. A large black stripe is affixed to the tip of each arm. A broad white stripe adorns the bottom of the uniform. The Flyers’ stylized “P” black logo with the orange dot is on the front."

We've known about Philly introducing an orange alternate this season since they unveiled their new uniforms last season. As Mr. Berger states, the throwback/traditional orange jersey will be used, and I approve of it over the ridiculous futuristic orange jersey they were previously using. I like the traditional look. Good on Philly for making the change.

"PHOENIX: The Coyotes will unveil an all-new design… a predominantly black jersey with a leaping desert-red coyote as the front logo. A large, dark-red stripe will run down the side of the jersey, broadening at the base. A similar dark-red stripe, only smaller, is affixed to the latter half of the arm, beyond the white numbers."

Why black? Their current home jerseys are one of the best in the NHL! They don't need an alternate jersey, especially after seeing some of the previous designs they've come up with! Again, the brick-red-and-white is excellent. Don't give into the black jersey. You were looking like a team with class, Coyotes. Now? Not so much.

"PITTSBURGH: Kudos to the Penguins for staying with the jersey the club wore during the Outdoor Classic in Buffalo last Jan. 1st. It’s a replica of the home jersey the Penguins wore starting in 1968-69, their second year in the NHL: Predominantly light-blue in color, with broad white stripes trimmed in dark blue on the sleeves and uniform base. A large, dark-blue stripe is at the tip of each arm. The neckline is dark-blue with the lace-up feature. The dark-blue, circular Penguins’ logo is on the front."

I'm onside with this alternate jersey as well. As seen at the Winter Classic 2008, the Penguins will be sticking with the baby blue jersey as their 2009 alternate jerseys. These got rave reviews at the Winter Classic, and I'm glad Pittsburgh stuck with these. While a couple of their other alternate jerseys wouldn't have been bad choices either, the baby blue jerseys certainly are different and emphasize the tradition of the Penguins.

"SAN JOSE: Though the photo I have is a bit grainy, the Sharks will wear a predominantly black third jersey with aqua and white stripes on each sleeve. The back number is white. The traditional Sharks’ “biting-stick” logo is on the front."

The Sharks go back one year to bring back their ridiculous black alternates. There are no black sharks swimming in the oceans, yet the San Jose Sharks continually design black alternate jerseys. Between Dallas, San Jose, and Los Angeles, the Pacific Division has gotten worse in terms of their looks, and I didn't think that could be possible. I stand corrected.

"ST. LOUIS: Another significant change. The Blues will introduce a dark-blue alternate jersey with a white stripe trimmed in black on the sleeves and uniform base. The club’s traditional 'blue-note' logo appears within a circle on the front of the jersey, with the city’s famous Gateway Arch in the background. It will also have the lace-up feature."

Rather that reviving an alternate jersey that Mike Keenan vetoed while he was destroying the St. Louis Blues, the Blues are designing a new one with a little city history involved. I like the inclusion of the Arch, but it sounds as if the logo-in-circle design will emulate that of Minnesota. Either way, it still can't be as bad as what Gretzky wore, can it?

"TAMPA BAY: Also completely different. The Lightning will introduce a predominantly dark-blue alternate with the word 'BOLTS' angling downward in white on the jersey front. A narrow white stripe is featured above a broad black stripe at the uniform base. Grey and white stripes are on each arm, and the latter half of the sleeve, to the tip, is black."

Tampa Bay goes "beer league" by including their nickname on their alternate jerseys. At least there are no cartoonish raindrops or lightning bolts down the arms on this one. However, the "Bolts" name across the chest makes the Lightning franchise seem like a minor-pro team.

TORONTO: "[T]he Leafs’ alternate jersey will be identical to the one the players have worn, on and off, since 1998: A replica of the club’s white road uniform from the mid-1960s, with the 35-point, blue maple leaf logo on the front; blue shoulder piping, and two blue lines on the arms and near the bottom of the jersey. A thick blue stripe encircles the tip of the sleeve. The neck has the lace-up feature prominent in the 1960s and early-'70s."

I'm ok with this jersey. It's classic and shows tradition. Lots of people own one over the standard Toronto jersey, so there's nothing wrong with bringing this classic look back.

"VANCOUVER: The Canucks are going back to their inception in 1970-71 by bringing back the predominantly blue road jersey the club wore. At the bottom of the jersey – and on each arm – is a broad green stripe flanked by a pair of white stripes. The club’s original 'hockey-stick-in-a-rink' logo is outlined in green and white on the front."

The Canucks bring back their most popular alternate jersey to date. The retro look was huge in Vancouver, and lots of people could be seen wearing it during Canucks' games on television. Ironically, they won't look much different in colour compared to their home jerseys, but the highly-popular design was asked for by the fans during the jersey re-designs, and they've brought it back. It was far better than the Golden Skate alternate, and 100 times better than the Orca Bay alternate. Well done, Canucks!

There you have it, people. 18 teams with alternate jerseys on the way so you can pay through the nose to purchase another jersey for your team-based collections. I'm excited for the looks of some of these jerseys, but the rest should be put out to pastures. And enough with the base colour of black! Get creative!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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