Saturday, 2 October 2010

Somewhat Classic

The Washington Capitals get the spotlight today as they brought their fans in to show off the jerseys they will be wearing for the 2011 Winter Classic game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals Convention brought many out for what was described by the team as a "grand unveiling", and many intended based on that marketing to see what the Capitals had planned for January 1, 2011. There have been a number of logo changes, colour changes, and even a black jersey period for the Washington Capitals, but the vast majority of fans wanted the original red-white-and-blue back on the ice for their inclusion in the NHL Winter Classic. In saying that, the Capitals went back to the future, but in a very non-historical way.

Looking back, the Capitals always had some very good uniforms. The stars and stripes were worn well by former members of the Capitals, and the bold colours were very striking in their arrangements. Of course, Washington, DC is a pretty important center for the United States of America, so wearing red-white-and-blue in the nation's capital made perfect sense, and it makes complete sense for the Capitals to bring back that look for the Winter Classic.

The old jerseys worn through the 1970s into the 1990s had some very distinctive features. As you can see on Kevin Hatcher in that photo, the Capitals logo is not some massive iron-on appliqué applied to the jersey, but actually part of the jersey. Because of this, the old jersey looks far more professional rather than some cheap knock-off. For the new Winter Classic jerseys, though, they look less like the professional, on-ice jerseys of the past and more like some poorly-made knock-off.

Secondly, look at the orientation of the stick that represents the "T" in "Capitals". It nearly extends from mid-chest on Hatcher to his hip. The "T" was very prominent, and was the anchor for the large Capitals logo that ran just below the pectoral muscles on a player. On the Winter Classic jerseys? Not so much. In fact, it looks quite different in terms of the font, the size, and the placement of the logo. Again, it looks like a cheap replica jersey rather than the jerseys that the players use on the ice.

I'm not why Reebok insists on ruining a jersey's look, but the captaincy designations are once again just squeezed onto a jersey, creating a rather intrusive eyesore on the jerseys. Well, Ovechkin's seems to be, anyway. If they can get Langway's and Labre's captaincy designations applied correctly, why can't they get Ovechkin's to work? Perhaps Reebok and the Capitals wanted to really recreate some of the captaincy problems they once had on their jerseys, but you can see that they resolved this with a smaller designation as they progressed.

The rear font, however, is right on target. The blue-on-red is entirely what the team wore in the good ol' days, and it appears that the Capitals organization still has the touch when it comes to applying the rear names and numbers.

One thing I don't like because of how much it sticks out? The Reebok mark on the breezers. Look, we get that Reebok makes all of the on-ice gear that is visible to the naked eye. Why does it have to be so big? Is Reebok compensating for something?

Otherwise, I'm ok with the red breezers that the Capitals will wear. Some have stated that they would have preferred a return to the navy blue breezers to accompany the period-specific jersey, but the red breezers are alright. And certainly better than the white breezers the Capitals once wore. Yikes!

While I'm not entirely sure that these new jerseys deserve it, I will give them a pass because of the history they evoke. It's not a high mark, mind you, but even a "D" is a passing grade in most cases, and this jersey warms up to that grade in my books. It's good, but it just could have been so much better. And I'm not the only one that thinks this way.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Ralph Michael Hass said...

I had a friend take in Washington's game today - her first live NHL experience!

Nice to see the Sabres romp over Philadelphia 9-3!
I have Jason Pominville on my hockey pool team and a couple of New Jersey Devils:
Zach Parise and Patrick Elias.

Hope Don Cherry is proud of me!?
Has The VOice...On and Off the Ice: Don Cherry starts hockey season Thursday


Ralph Hass
- MSG-TV imaging voice for the NHL's Buffalo Sabres (2006 – 2009)
- SHAW-TV imaging voice for the WHL