April 12, 2014

Saturday: The Alternate Part 2: The Wreck-oning

Last week I shared with you my views on the greatest alternate in NHL history. We had some good discussion, along with a great counterpoint from Monday's writer, Jets96. Today, let's look at the other side of coin. What is the worst alternate jersey ever made, and what makes a bad alternate? As far as I'm concerned, I see two ways to look at this. One, you believe that jerseys with a bad overall design, that is tacky, tasteless, and in some cases irreverent are the worst designs. Second, you could believe that designs that are boring, staid, and so milquetoast that they are totally forgettable is the alternate jersey cardinal sin. I find myself in the latter camp more than the former. As such, my list will not include the infamous third jerseys of the 90s and early 2000s. Sometimes bad jerseys transcend their total terribleness to become undeniably awesome. Others say to people, "I have no opinion on anything. My favorite TV show is probably Wheel of Fortune. Feel free to ignore me."

Dishonorable mentions: Columbus Blue Jackets 2003 - 2007; New York Islanders 2011 - Present

3. Buffalo Sabres 2013 - Present 


(Image Credits: www.sabres.nhl.com)

Forget the blue cape. Forget the half-piping, supposedly reminiscent of a sword. Forget the gratuitous gray and the myriad of tacked-on design cues. This could have crossed the border from bad to awesomely bad, but it didn't. Why? Look at the logo it uses. Consider how the debut was dragged out ad nauseam. Would that this jersey had been given some terrible 3D anime-esque interpretation of a buffalo, or a child demographic-pandering logo. Instead, it uses a classic Sabres crest. It's like making a B-movie like Sharknado, then casting Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis to star in it. Just let it be awful. Awful can be fun when done correctly, but this wasn't. It tried to be good and that, to me, is it's biggest fault.

2. Atlanta Thrashers 2008 - 2011


(Image Credits: Top - www.jets.nhl.com; Bottom - www.capitals.nhl.com)

Like a red shirt on Star Trek character, this red alternate told the world, "We're not going to make it." I'm not saying that this jersey killed the Thrashers, but when you design a hockey jersey with the approach of making it look like a football jersey, you have a huge problem. From the copious piping, to the unnecessary number on the front, and the wordmark that reads "Trashers," this alternate, like the ownership group that approved it, had no redeeming qualities. 

1. Dallas Stars 2008 - 2011


(Image Credits: www.stars.nhl.com)

I have an almost irrational hatred for this jersey, and the set that it was a part of. If there was ever a jersey set that was totally bankrupt of character, it was the Stars jerseys from 2007 until their merciful redesign last year. Have you ever seen one of these jerseys without the numbers? It's basically nothing. It was the visible personification of a yawn. Boilerplate. Equivocal to a front page article full of "Lorem Ipsum." Novocaine for your eyes. In the jersey world, is there anything worse than a set that makes you feel nothing?

You know what really galls me, though? Someone got PAID for this design. Geez...


Now that I've got that off my chest, let's move on today's concepts. Today we have throwbacks to the 20s, 30s, and even the early 2000s (if that can be considered a throwback yet). There are also some concepts that redesign some Canadian teams, and even one from the SPHL. Let's get down to it, starting Leo's redesign of the Vancouver Canucks!

Vancouver Canucks Concept - Leo D.


What I like: Logo choice is always a point of contention with Canucks concepts. I favor the stick-in-rink and Johnny Canuck over the orca, so Leo makes a good choices here both for primaries and secondary logos. The green alternate is a good addition as well. Leo also put in the effort to place a logo on the helmet, because all NHL teams do that. Too many artists neglect details like that.

What I dislike: The only bad thing about this set is that I feel like I've seen many concepts like this one. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe Leo stole this at all. Concepts like this are becoming old hat, really.

Overall: As Colin said on Friday, the Canucks could take advantage of inner management change to make an outer uniform change. The Canucks could switch to this next year, and I'm sure the majority of us would agree that this would be an improvement. (8.3/10)


Hamilton Tigers Concept - Stephen T.


What I like: Stephen trends towards conservative designs, so it's good to see some wild concepts from him. This concept is a lot of things, but subtle is not one.

What I dislike: It's not easy to look at. Did Hamilton wear this at one time? Yes, but that doesn't mean it should be worn again? No. Some designs are best left to the past. The 'H' monogram gets's lost in the striping, as the 'H' nearly lines up with the stripes. That brings up another issue: the logo is off-center. Big issue: instead of striping, the left back part of the arm is just filled in. That's sloppy. Because this is a 1920s throwback jersey, I won't detract from the concept for not having a helmet logo. The Nike logo should be white, especially on the jersey, where it gets lost in the striping. The yellow used on the glove is different than the yellow used on the jersey/socks. Instead of partially cutting out the striping on the back, why not stop both of those stripes at the stitching on the back? If you did that, there would be no irregularity with the numbers, as there certainly would be with a 4 and a 44.

Overall: No one needs to see this on the ice again. Execution errors don't improve it. (5/10)


Boston Bruins Concept - Stephen T.


What I like: The Bruins look great in gold. I still want my Preds to own the color, but I wouldn't mind the Bruins to use it as an alternate.

What I dislike: Stephen, you really need to double-check your work. You send in a lot of concepts, and I think that if you double-check them and take your time with your designs, they will improve greatly. This particular concept has backwards alternate logos on the gold jersey, and off-center primary crests. Helmet logos. NHL teams all use them. Primary logos are heavily pixelated.

Overall: Should the NHL allow gold away jerseys? I don't think so, but that gold jersey would make a good alternate when the execution errors are fixed. (6.3/10)


Buffalo Sabres Concept - Stephen T.


What I like: Execution on these jerseys are much better than the previous two.

What I dislike: Not much to see here. This is pretty much just your basic color swap. The most interesting detail of the originals (namebar in the yoke) isn't here. There are some red elements in the logo that should probably be changed to yellow, due to the lack of red anywhere else on the jersey. The sleeve numbers on the dark jersey are placed inconsistently. Helmet logos. This set had helmet logos when it was first worn in 2000.

Overall: Going back to the short-lived "goat head" era might be a step back. (7/10)


Pensacola Ice Flyers Concept - Mike S.


What I like: SPHL concepts are always fun. Because they usually do new designs every year, you can really show your creativity and push the boundaries with them. I like the color scheme here, and the striping is very interesting. Execution is very good. 

What I dislike: There's just too many stripes here. I think if you took them off the pants, and possibly the shoulders, it would help.

Overall: This could be a great jersey for the Ice Flyers. The SPHL needs more good designs like this. (8/10)


 Kansas City Greyhounds Concept - S2udio


What I like: Here's a team we don't see often (if ever). The Kansas City Greyhounds played in the AHA from 1933-1940, and won a championship in their first year in existence. Grey makes for an interesting choice as a dark jersey color, though very appropriate here. S2udio does a great job incorporating past design cues in a more modern fashion. I especially love the detail with with the stick and helmet. I didn't like the arm stripe placement at first, but it's grown on me. I think if it were placed anywhere else on the jersey, it would be too much, so I have to give credit to S2udio there for finding a good balance with the striping.

What I dislike: Beyond the obvious sock thing, I think the shoulder logos might be a bit too large.

Overall: Were the Greyhounds ever to return, they would look good in this. (8.5/10)


Brooklyn Islanders Concept - Christian L.


What I like: Some think the Islanders should change their name and look when they move to the Barclays center in 2015. I don't agree, but this is an interesting take if they did. The logo, by Kristopher Brazen, is a good design, even if the light beam can be a little off-putting. I like the striping pattern. It fits well with the colors on both jerseys.

What I dislike: The color change is disappointing. I like the brighter blue and orange, and the Oilers didn't do themselves any favors when they darkened/dulled their colors, either. I do understand that this logo would likely need the inclusion of the light blue, so I'm ok with that in this instance.

Overall: Not a bad look for the Islanders, if they decided to go with a clean slate. (8.3/10)


 Calgary Flames Concept - Christian L.


What I like: It's not the current Calgary home/away. I can't stand those jerseys. I like the striping pattern. One of the best things about Calgary jerseys is the old Atlanta Flames logo as an alternate patch; can't do without that. Red and yellow are difficult colors to work with, because they both loud and can clash at times. This concept does a great job of balancing the two colors.

What I dislike: I'm on the fence with this logo. It's not bad, but is it better than what Calgary already has? I'm leaning towards no. However, just being indecisive on that is a huge credit to "Sparky Chewbarky" who designed this logo, because the Flaming 'C' is a classic.

Overall: This is an improvement over the Flames current set. (8.3/10)


Ottawa Senators Set Concept - Dylan W.


What I like: The Senators/Penguins jerseys are everything that is wrong with Reebok. They are almost just straight color/logo swaps with no consideration for team history. The Senators need new uniforms. Dylan proposes a home/away set with a matching black alternate. Dylan uses the Senators best logos in the perfect way. The 'O' monogram simply isn't interesting enough to be a primary. It's perfect as an alternate. I love the detail work here. Dylan even puts a number on the helmet. Love that. I don't understand why that side profile Senator logo isn't already their primary. It's so much better than the one that stares right at you as if to say "Soon..."

What I dislike: On the striping, I think there are too many gold stripes. I would take the middle gold stripe off the chest stripe/arm stripe/hem. 

Overall: Wonderfully detailed, with excellent execution and presentation. One small change to the striping, and I would say this is near perfect. (8.8/10) COTW nomination from me! 


So, how did you like today's post? Do you disagree with my comments, or having a differing opinion on my alternates list above? Maybe you're thinking of a different alternate jersey that deserves our ire, or maybe just contemplating the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section, and nominate concepts you feel deserve Concept of the Week consideration.

Voting was up last week, so let's keep it going! Don't forget to email your votes to Ryan, or you might find this guy watching you.

4 comments:

Christian Legault said...

I actually loved those altamta thrashers third. I agree with the front being to "football" but the colors are amazing

Ryan said...

Mike's IcePilots for COTW!

Kris Knudsen said...

Dylan W's Senators set for COTW, they need to wear this now!!

Kurt said...

Those Dallas jerseys certainly were boring, but I'd still rather wear something that looks like a generic collegiate jersey than the gaudy mess of those Atlanta or Buffalo jerseys. Regardless, I'm glad that they went through this last rebrand. They look sharp now.