It's that magical time of year when hockey gets back to its purest form and... alright, who am I kidding? I was asked by Phil Hecken to give some thoughts on the NHL All-Star Game jerseys for the incomparable Uni Watch Blog today, and I am replaying the article here. As you know, the NHL All-Star Game goes today, and there's something that has me excited about the game, but a number of things that do not. The NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft took place on Friday night, and we'll take a look at some of the more garish NHL All-Star Game jersey designs in a Jim Vilk-style "3+1 view". I'll also look back on a few of my favorite images from past All-Star Games. Let's get this review underway using the Paul Lukas "is it good or is it stupid" test!
The NHL decided to allow Reebok to push the envelope in their designs this year for the two teams, and I'm sorry to say that I don't like the look the NHL chose. There's nothing good about random striping that cuts off at the seam of the sleeve and then randomly begins on the back of the sleeve and end at the elbow on the front. Honestly, what is the point of these random lines? If this is some new gradient technology that Reebok has come up with, we've been there, done that, moved on. Stop trying to add flair – it just doesn't work! Random lines that do nothing for the aesthetics of the uniform are just dumb. STUPID.
Have you actually looked at the front of the jerseys? There's just way too much stuff on the front with the NHL All-Star shield logo, the number below the collar, the captaincy designation, and the NHL shield logo. Does anyone actually look at these jerseys before signing off on them? Are there no prototypes made? The easiest solution is to remove the “feature” that the NHL apparently insists on having on the front – the number. The jersey would be much less busy, and would look fairly good if you overlook the random lines all over the sleeves. However, that number can't be overlooked. STUPID.
The font used on the jersey for names and numbers is legible, so that's a plus, but we run into a problem with the numbers on the back of Team Lidstrom's jerseys. Again, what's with the random lines? Do we really need these lines on the numbers? The rear numbers clearly do not match up with the sleeve and chest numbers as it appears those numbers don’t have lines, so this might be the first time in NHL history where back numbers don’t jive with TV numbers. So that automatically makes this STUPID.
Now you’re probably saying, “Teebz, you’re such a downer,” due to my three “stupid” ratings in a row. There are, however, some things I do like about the NHL All-Star jerseys.
For starters, I love the colour used by the teams. Have you noticed that the black on these jerseys is as minimal as can be? The blue is bold, and the home team is wearing white! While I’m not completely sold on the shade of red being used, the game should look good and the fans, for the first time in a long time, will be able to cheer on the good guys in white! GREAT!
I'm guessing that Team Staal will be skating left-to-right tomorrow because the NHL All-Star Game logo is on mirrored shoulders for the two teams. I get that the NHL wants the logo showing in promotional pictures during the ceremonial face-off and stuff, but will anyone not know that this is the NHL All-Star Game? I can’t call it dumb because it serves a purpose, but when you combine that with the individual team logo of each player on the opposite shoulder, this one becomes a PUSH.
Overall, not the worst-looking All-Star Game in history (we'll see those in a second), but the NHL really needs to go back to their star design or a much more simplified design. The KISS rule always seems to work best.
Not much needs to be said here, but these are certainly the worst looks seen at the NHL All-Star Games over the years. The "+1" will be my favorite NHL All-Star Game look of all-time. Enjoy!
3. 1982 NHL All-Star Game – Wales Conference vs. Campbell Conference. I like the colours, but how many stars do you need on a jersey?
2. 2003 NHL All-Star Game – Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference. The Western Conference jersey looks good in colour, but the TV numbers on the front left hip for these teams are useless. The Eastern Conference jersey looks like a ripoff of the Mighty Ducks' jersey. Not a fan of these jerseys. They just don't say "all-star".
1. 2000 NHL All-Star Game – North America vs. World. Count the number of different jerseys you see. If you see four different jerseys, you're right. The goaltenders for each team wore jerseys that were different from their teammates. Aren't uniforms supposed to be, y'know, uniform? This is the dumbest idea seen at an NHL All-Star Game yet.
+1. 1992 NHL All-Star Game – Wales Conference vs. Campbell Conference. There is something to behold about the 1992 NHL All-Star Game: the colour, the throwback designs, and the overall aesthetic. These uniforms are absolutely gorgeous, and some NHL team should look at bringing a design like this to life.
There are also a number of pictures that make the NHL All-Star Game special. These are some that I've liked for various reasons.
- There's something to be said when you see NHL stars not giving out clichés for a living and just being themselves. That's Grace Doan hugging her dad, Shane, at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game Skill Competition.
- PK Subban caused himself a little uniform controversy when he skated out in Jeff Skinner's Carolina Hurricanes uniform. Subban definitely won the crowd over with that move at this year's Skills Competition.
- Terence Kearns informed me that he likes when the players wear their gloves from their normal teams in contrast with the NHL All-Star jerseys. Here are Vyacheslav Fetisov, Steve Yzerman, and Brendan Shanahan doing just that at the 1997 NHL All-Star Game.
- Everyone knows Bobby Orr wore #4, but the 1968 NHL All-Star Game saw Bobby dona new number as he skated in the game wearing #5!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!