Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Taste Of NHL Colors

The Reading Royals are a fairly successful ECHL team. They're currently in the playoffs, and have advanced to Round Two with a 4-1 series win over the Greenville Road Warriors. They'll battle the Florida Everblades in this second-round match-up, and will don a new look on Friday in this series. Normally, you don't see teams changing their look midway through the playoffs due to either league rules or superstition. Reading, however, is tossing superstition to the wind and will don new uniforms for Game One of their series against Florida.

Being the ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals and being situated just 151 from the Washington Capitals is probably a pretty good reason for the Reading Royals to transform themselves into the ECHL's version of the Washington Capitals, I suppose. It's not like a number of the Royals' players on their roster this season have played in the NHL, and, for some, this might be as close to the NHL that they get.

Is it a cool promotion? Absolutely.

Is it necessary? No. Not in any way, shape, or form.

During the regular season, this type of minor-league promotion wouldn't bother me in the least. In fact, I'd be inclined to praise the Royals for doing something like this to help bring people into the arena to see their games. But we're talking about a playoff game where the READING ROYALS are competing for the Kelly Cup. Running a promotion that helps draw attention to the NHL franchise isn't really appropriate at this time of the season.

Do I like the uniforms? Sure, they're nice. I like how the Royals' team name across the chest to the Capitals font. I assume the patch on the left shoulder is the Kelly Cup Playoffs patch, making the uniforms entirely unique in terms of when they were worn on the ice. But they did this in Round One against Greenville as well!

I'm not sure why Reading is giving up their look to be the Capitals-lite. It just seems like something that one would do during the regular season when the hockey world couldn't care less if they played in garbage bags. The playoffs, though, is when you play for the logo on the front of the uniform and not the name on the back. I get that it says "Royals" on each player's chest, but a quick glance from any hockey fan would indicate that the Capitals are playing. I get that it's for one game only in the series, but the Royals should be making their own name in the Kelly Cup Playoffs in their own uniforms, not helping to promote the Washington Capitals.

In any case, I'll be cheering against Reading when they open their second-round series against Florida because I'm all about the goaltending performance of Winnipegger Jesse Deckert in the Everblades' net. Deckert played with the University of Manitoba Bisons in the CIS over the last few seasons, and turned in a fantastic 16-9-0 record with a 2.19 and a .915 save percentage. He joined the Everblades, and proceeded to go 9-1-1 in 11 games, posting a 2.40 GAA and a .916 save percentage. He started all six games for the 'Blades in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, leading them past the Elmira Jackals in a 4-2 series win.

Go Florida and keep on winning, Jesse! I'll be cheering as you send the Royals and their Capitals-centric uniforms home with nothing to show for their efforts or uniforms!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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