Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Polar Opposites

Today, as you may have read, was the unveiling of two Canadian NHL teams' new uniforms. The Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames were slated for today, and they have kept their word, despite Calgary pulling all evidence off their website at the time of this writing. As you may have seen in previous articles, the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings have kept their jerseys quite traditional in sticking with the Original Six theme. I expected Montreal to do the same, but it's hard to tell what may come about in this Brave New NHL World. In any case, let's take a look at two teams who went in opposite directions down a one-way fashion street.

As I did with the Islanders' unveiling, we'll start with the bad. Or, in this case, the horrendous. It was announced in January of last year that the entire NHL would be changing to the new Rbk Edge Uniform System. Since that time there has been plenty of speculation, plenty of talk and plenty of renderings of the potential 2007-08 Flames jersey floating around on the Internet, although the Canucks seemed to have dominated the searches I have seen.

"Nobody has it nailed from what I've seen," Flames' president Ken King said, regarding the new uniforms. His quote appeared in an interview with the Calgary Herald on August 23rd.

"There are some visibly noticeable differences with the new jerseys," says Kevin Lawton, FanAttic director of retail. "But the overall look will be similar to the ones we have now."

Well, if we're calling a spade "a spade", Mr. Lawton was close. Mr. King was also right that nobody nailed it. That's because the new Flames jerseys are not what people want to see.

The Calgary Flames will be rolling out these jerseys tonight, and they are not all that bad if you look at them straight-on. They look almost exactly like last season's jerseys, and that's good... until they move.

I will always hate jerseys that break-up a hem stripe with side panelling. What's the purpose of the hem stripe if it doesn't run continuously around the jersey? Just get rid of it if you want to overlap it with something else! Why have the side panelling at all if it doesn't serve a purpose other than to fade into seam piping? Who is designing these jerseys?

Not to be outdone by any of the other teams with shoulder patches, the Flames went way out on a limb and discovered that Calgary is a part of Canada. I guess the Northwest Division thinks all their fans are either stupid or brain-dead because apparently Calgary needs to remind us they're a Canadian team whether at home or on the road in the same way that Vancouver needs to remind us where they're from whether at home or on the road.

According to the Flames, they want to show that they're proud Canadians by wearing this patch. I guess the other five Canadian NHL teams aren't as proud as the Flames are. If you ask me, it reeks of unoriginality as I seem to remember some mid-season event putting flags on their sleeves or chest to show the country of origin of the player. Not only are the Flames playing for the logo on their chest and the city they are based in, but now they are representing an entire country. I don't know how the Americans, Swedes, Finns, and Russians on the Flames' team feel about representing Canada, but Jarome Iginla must be happy.

To balance out the Canada flag patch, the Flames affixed an eyesore of a patch to the left shoulder. The Province of Alberta flag will be proudly displayed for all those who have no clue what the flag is, what it means, or why the Flames are wearing it. Every single time someone sees it, the question of "what is that" will be asked. And it will have to be explained to everyone what it is. Over and over again. I guess if the Flames are Canada's proudest team, they should also be Alberta's proudest team.

Just in case the Flames and the NHL forgot, there are two teams in Alberta. Yes, the Oilers were a bad team last year, but how can they be forgotten? I guess Northern Alberta is in a different province now.

These jerseys are downright stupid. Choosing those two shoulder patches makes zero sense, and aren't visually-pleasing. The colour scheme is fine, but the hem stripe is ruined by the ridiculous side panelling. Calgary is challenging the Islanders, Kings, Panthers and Predators for worst jersey in the NHL.

However, all hope cannot be lost as we go from the North-stupid Division to their polar opposites, the fashion-conscious Northeast Division where the Montreal Canadiens keep the trend going of being classy and simple.

The Canadiens rolled out, with little fanfare, their new jerseys, and I have to say that I like them. A lot. Really a lot. Again, tradition gets huge marks on this blog, and the Canadiens have remained true to their past with these new jerseys.

The logo is still the familiar C-with-H for the Les Habitants. No changes were made there, and that's a very good thing. The Canadiens' logo is timeless and representative of the Canadiens' name and brand. This logo should never change for any reason at any time.

The home jersey is still regal-looking, and looks great with the midsection stripe. No matter how the jerseys have changed from year-to-year or from decade-to-decade, the red Canadiens' jersey is iconic because it has virtually remained the same. Huge marks for not changing anything about these beautiful jerseys except the hem striping. That can be overlooked.

The road jersey is nearly identical to the jersey worn by the Canadiens last season. Again, big marks for not changing anything except the hem stripe.

Montreal is right up there with Boston and the New York Rangers in terms of their looks. If people have any wonder why these teams are so popular, it's because they stick with a design and don't change it like they're changing their underwear. Huge marks for Montreal today. I'm not speaking of Calgary as it was painful enough once.

Tomorrow is Pittsburgh's unveiling, so I'll be sure to update on those. I'll have a full recap after Pittsburgh unveils their new jerseys, and then we'll look at the remaining teams as we wait for training camp to break.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Edward said...

"The Logo is still the familiar C-with-H for Les Habitants"

Inaccurate. The Montreal team, in Quebec, is known as Le Club de Hockey Canadien.

The H in the logo actually stands for Hockey, and *not* Habitants, or Habs.

Les Habitants has never really been an official part of the Canadiens, and is merely an extremly popular fan nickname that the club adopted unofficially over time.

Teebz said...

Art - you're right, except I was simply saying that the logo was the same for Les Habitants. I know what the logo means. My sentence was more a general statement than a statement of fact. :o)

Anonymous said...

about this pic... http://i135.photobucket.com/albums/q124/cdnuniguy/Canadiens/HabsOctober_1942.jpg

what's with the #19 on the front? (1st row, 2nd from right)

Jibblescribbits said...

While I hate the Calgary jersey's I think the Kings jersey's have to be the worst I've seen so far. They are terrible, and I even like purple

Teebz said...

ADR - That's Tony Demers. He only played 9 games that season, so I assume he wasn't officially part of the Canadiens at that point. The 25 year-old ended up with two goals and five assists in those nine games in 1942-43. He didn't play for the Canadiens in the playoffs.

Edward said...

Oh. hehehe.

My bad on the misread.

Anonymous said...

I like the new Calgary black "C" myself on the jerseys. I sell Canada flag patches that are made in Canada at www.canadaspatchking.com and to be honest the size of the Canada and Alberta flag patches on the Flames jersey are not what the Canada flag should be.

I know most people are going to find this nit-picky but a Canada flag should always be a size ratio of 1:2. The patches that the Flames have on their jerseys are not that ratio and one wonders if the ones they have on their jerseys are even made in Canada or just another import from overseas. The red bars on the Flames Canada flag patch are not in the proportion to what they should be.

In my opinion if you are going to affix the flag of a country to your professional jersey seen by millions of people at least get the correct sizing of the flag that you are displaying.