Monday 13 December 2010

It's All In Your Head

An interesting story is developing out of Columbus, Ohio where it seems that the brand-new Blue Jackets' alternate jersey has found its way to the attic at Nationwide Arena. Because of the Blue Jackets' horrific record in their first four games wearing their new jerseys, the team has fallen into a superstitious fallacy that the new jerseys are either "cursed" or "hexed" in some way, and that has driven them to mothball the new uniform. Has there ever been an instance where a team has decided to "unmarket" their new jerseys because of how poorly they played while wearing them?

Things began to appear a little strange when the Blue Jackets took to the ice at home against the visiting New York Rangers in their regular blue uniforms instead of their new alternate uniforms. I thought there may have been some mistake, so I went to view the schedule of the alternate jersey dates. Lo and behold, that page no longer exists on the Blue Jackets' website!

So what gives? Why were the Blue Jackets in their regular uniforms instead of their scheduled alternate jersey night? According to The Columbus Dispatch's Tom Reed:

"'You know what,' [head coach Scott Arniel] said unable to suppress a grin. 'I just thought our red pants against their red pants would really look cool.'"
I'm sure that Stacey London and Clinton Kelly would be most shocked at this blending of identical colours, but Scott Arniel probably isn't worried about What Not To Wear as much as he's worried about winning hockey games. Thankfully, Mr. Reid was able to find the culprit in terms of who was responsible for the jersey snafu.
"Jackets players tried keeping a straight face as media members asked them who made the decision. Equipment manager Tim LeRoy deadpanned: 'It's my fault, I forgot to put (the third jerseys out.'"
Ok, so it seems that the players and staff of the Blue Jackets are having a little fun with their apparent superstition towards the new uniforms after having posted an 0-4 record in them and being outscored 18-5 in them. With Saturday night's 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers while wearing their regular uniforms, it seems the new alternate jerseys should remain tucked away in the back of the players' closets. However, a Blue Jackets spokesperson did say to Mr. Reid that they will make at least one more appearance:
"Prior to last night’s game, a team spokesman said the Jackets would sport them on Saturday against Dallas."
Personally, if they discontinue their alternate jerseys at any point before 2015, I'm chalking this experience up to an "epic failure". What makes matters worse, though, is that Boomer, the team's newest mascot, will be phased out of the Blue Jackets family. According to The Columbus Dispatch,
"Late last month, the Blue Jackets unveiled a second mascot - Boomer, a cuddly cannon - to great laughter and embarrassment because of Boomer's unmistakably phallic shape. Fans better get their digs in quickly. Sources have told The Dispatch that Boomer's role will shrink as the season moves along, and he could be retired this summer."
So they unveil a brand-new mascot who will appear only at Nationwide Arena when the team wears their new alternate jerseys, but then decide to "retire" him months later? I had said in a previous article that "a new cannon mascot named 'Boomer' who will only appear when the new uniforms are worn is far too kitschy, and seems very much like a marketing ploy". Did I foreshadow that one, or am I just clairvoyant?

Sorry, Blue Jackets, but you're making a mockery of yourselves with these alternate jersey decisions. You're a professional hockey team in one of the major sports in North America. Maybe try acting like you belong there. First, you reduce the number of games in which you'll wear your newest uniform. And then you kill off the mascot specifically designed and created to bring about increased exposure for these new uniforms. Does anyone at Nationwide Arena use their brains?

Epic failure, CBJ. Heavy emphasis on the "epic". But at least one member of the Blue Jackets is putting the onus on the right problem.
"Captain Rick Nash said outcomes are determined by the players' efforts, not what they are wearing. But he didn't doubt for a minute why the change was made. 'If you look at the stats, you can make an easy assumption.'"
And we all know what happens when ASSumptions are made, right?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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