Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Return Of The Fisherman?

Yesterday was a big day for the New York Islanders. The last time they introduced a new alternate, we got to see what skating pylons would look like, and enabled this writer to use the term "New York Pylon-der". Of course, there was the mass hysteria during the 1995-98 era when the Islanders went to the Fisherman jersey, evetually forcing the team to return to the Islanders' traditional logo and uniform after fans threatened to burn the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum down. With the press conference yesterday, the Islanders unveiled their new alternate uniform, and everyone held their collective breath.

However, the entire fear of this new alternate jersey was laid to rest upon the unveiling of the retro Islanders alternate jersey. The Islanders began wearing this version of their historical look in 1976-77, giving this new alternate jersey a very accurate look.

The Islanders did wear a retro 1972 jersey for one game during the 2006-07 season, seen here on Aaron Asham. The numbers on the sleeves and back of that retro jersey are orange, rather than the white numbers seen on the new alternate. While I am a huge fan of recycling, it's nice to see the Islanders coming up with a new idea rather than just recycling an older jersey.

Enough of the past, though. Let's break down these new jerseys.

First off, the Islanders are going to a lighter blue for the base colour of the jerseys compared to their current home jerseys. This is consistent with the 1976 look. The blocks of colour on the sleeves are entirely accurate for the 1976-77 version of their jersey, but, in 1977-78, the Islanders went to smaller stripes, meaning these new alternate jerseys represent only one season of Islanders history.

The rear of the jerseys are easily readable, and make for identifying players an easy job. The wide stripes make the numbers look especially large, but the optical illusion only makes it easier to identify your favorite Islander. However, in 1976, there were no names on the backs of the Islanders' jerseys. That didn't begin until the following season when the Islanders removed the white stripe off the sleeve of the jersey. The accuracy of these new jerseys is beginning to falter.

Looking at this view of Bill Guerin, what's the first thing that strikes you as being odd? Those socks annoy the heck out of me! Why can't the stripes go all the way around the leg? How difficult is it to have a full stripe on the sock? Reebok, do you have any idea what a stripe is? Are you afraid that you might be representing your major competitor if you complete the stripes?

The front of the jersey is very clean, and looks very respectable. There are no front shoulder numbers, but the lace-up neckline is a little unnecessary. In 1976, they didn't tie the neckline up, so why add it here? It doesn't detract from the jersey, but it just seems unnecessary.

All in all, I'm quite happy with these jerseys, despite me being critical of the accuracy of the look. The Islanders really didn't screw anything up, but I would have liked to have seen the jersey worn during the Islanders' dynasty era instead. Also, the four stripes they have worn on the shoulders of their jerseys haven't been included on these retro alternates, so it will be interesting to see if they honour the timeframe of the jersey and keep them off.

Good work, New York Islanders. The retro alternate jerseys look pretty decent. After all, it could have been much, much worse considering your history.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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