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September 27, 2014

Saturday: Season Predictions - Eastern Conference

Hello everyone! Today's Saturday post features the continuation of my 2014-2015 NHL season predictions, some designs for Finland's Tier 2 league, redesigns for the Bruins, Blue Jackets, and Blackhawks!

In case you missed the news, the Tampa Bay Lightning debuted their new third jersey today!

(Image Credit: lightning.nhl.com)
(Image credit: lightning.nhl.com)

























Wow. It's as if the Lightning got mad at their fans for wanting black when they did their redesign a few years back and decided to shove it down our throats. This is awful. I sincerely hoped that "BOLTS" wordmark was going away forever. There is very little color in this. I can't stand this, for the same reasons I hated the Dallas Stars 2007-2013. It's plain, it's colorless, it's lifeless, and feels dated already. What a lazy excuse for an alternate. Who is making the decisions to put out jerseys like this, and the Buffalo third from last year? Can I have their job? They obviously aren't doing it, so I will. The jerseys debuted by the Penguins, Flyers, and Capitals make them amateur by comparison. I give it a 4/10, and the finger. Begin the countdown to this look's retirement.


Atlantic Division:
  • Boston - Lack of Iginla will hurt to a degree. The Bruins will rightfully expect to return to the playoffs. Games against Montreal should be fun. Taunts over the Seguin trade somehow get funnier.
  • Tampa Bay - Barring injuries, I think the Lightning return to the playoffs, and make a better show of it than they did last year. A year of healthy Stamkos and Bishop should be interesting. Tampa did the more to improve than any team in the Atlantic.
  • Montreal - Rivalry with the Bruins will make the race to the top of the Atlantic entertaining. I think the Bruins edge them out, but Tampa Bay is nipping at their heels.
  • Detroit - The Legwand experiment was a bust, Weiss and Helm are fragile, and Alfredsson is likely out. If Datsyuk and Zetterberg can't stay healthy, the playoff streak ends.
  • Ottawa - I'm stating the obvious, but they'll miss Spezza. The Senators stay in professional sports purgatory: too good for a high pick, too bad for the playoffs. They fail to deal Bobby Ryan at the deadline, and he signs a big contract that will become an albatross around some GM's neck.
  • Toronto - Has talent, but not a serious contender. I expect roster retooling to bring the team in line with their new-found commitment to advanced statistical analytics. Think "Moneyball" but on ice, and with lots of money. Peter Horacek was a good hire that should help their defense.
  • Florida - Overpaying role players won't produce much better results on the ice. They have some really good prospects in the system, but need them to grow up fast. The Panthers are just hard-nosed enough to potentially play themselves out of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.
  • Buffalo - This has dumpster fire written all over it. I know they signed Gionta and Moulson, but look at their defense and goaltending. It's going to be a rough year for Sabres fans, but they'll feel better once they end up with the first overall pick in the draft, and a prospect many believe is the best since Sidney Crosby.
Bold Prediction: The Red Wings' playoff streak ends as Philadelphia takes the final playoff spot for the Eastern Conference.

Metropolitan Division:
  • Pittsburgh - Made some great acquisitions in the offseason, shoring up foward and defensive depth. They are built to win, and will take the Eastern Conference's top spot.
  • New York Rangers - Not the best looking team on paper, but Lundqvist can work miracles when he needs to. They make the playoffs, but don't make it to back to the final.
  • Philadelphia - They will live or die by the health of Claude Giroux. Del Zotto becomes a perma-scratch. They take the final playoff spot in a tight race with Detroit and Toronto.
  • Columbus - I love the way this team plays, but if they don't get Ryan Johansen resigned, they will struggle in goal scoring. He is the kind of player they need to win their first playoff series.
  • Washington - Barry Trotz and "Goalie Yoda" Mitch Korn will make this team better. With goaltending and defensive deficiencies addressed, this team could go far...or they totally reject Trotz's system and implode. I see it as an either/or, feast/famine type situation.
  • New Jersey - Not much was done to improve this team, and it will show. They finish last in the Metro and trade Jagr to Washington at the deadline.
  • Carolina - Even with Jordan Staal going down with injury, this team has talent for days at forward, but like many in the Metro, they have a no top defensemen, and serious questions with goaltending. If they don't make the playoffs again, Ron Francis may see a need to change the cast and start anew.
  • New York Islanders - The Isles picked up Grabovski and Kulemin, and their goaltending improved with Jarolav Halak, but the defense is still porous. They challenge for a spot, but come up short. I see them trending up, especially if they can find some defensive help.
Bold Prediction - Washington has a breakthrough year, as a determined and revitalized Barry Trotz shows more versatility than he did as head coach of the Predators.

Who reaches the Stanley Cup: Washington Capitals


Come back next week for my predictions on final division standings, NHL awards, and who I believe will win the Stanley Cup!


Chicago Blackhawks Redesign Concept - Michael G.


Positives: It's not easy to take on a redesign of an "untouchable" team; alternate jersey, maybe, but a full redesign is hard. These aren't bad jerseys at all. The striping looks good, as do the logos, but does this make a good replacement for the current set? No, but I think either of these jerseys would make a good complementary alternate jersey. Execution is pretty good.

Negatives: Color balance is an issue for me here, if this is a full redesign. The dark jersey doesn't have quite enough red, and the white jersey doesn't have enough black.

Overall: I wouldn't want this to replace the Blackhawks current set, but there is alternate potential here, more so in the black jersey. (8/10)


Columbus Blue Jackets Redesign Concept - Michael G.


Positives:  I really like the striping on the dark jersey, if there is no beveled star there. The beveled star doesn't automatically say "Blue Jackets" to me, primarily because that is the Dallas Stars' thing now. Execution is pretty good.

Negatives: The logos are problematic. The Blue Jacket's original identity doesn't need to make a comeback, partially because it was no good, and partially because no expansion franchise wants to look back on the bad early days. Also, the current Blue Jackets' primary logo would have matched the striping. That was a big missed opportunity. The white jersey looks like a recolored Bruins knock-off. The number font used is my least favorite in the NHL.

Overall: There are some good ideas here, but ultimately misses the mark. (7.5/10) 


Mestis Jokipojat (Finland Tier 2) Concept - Taylor R.


Positives: I really like the yoke and striping design. That design has some good character, and makes up for the lack of hem striping. Good execution and presentation. 

Negatives: Most minor teams aren't going to want to have two sets of pants. The font doesn't ideally complement the design. The design relies on right angles and straight lines, so the font needs to be an extension of that design theme. I think the font from the Blue Jackets' current alternate would fit well here.

Overall: This is a good, clean design. Some minor adjustments, and this is an excellent set. (8.25/10)


Mestis Mikkelin Jurkurit (Finland Tier 2) Concept - Taylor R.


Positives: Lots of color here; it's definitely eye-catching. It's good to see some more dramatic designs in minor league play. Execution and presentation is strong.

Negatives: That style yoke has been used too often in this series. The font works for this kind of design better than the font used in the above concept. The jerseys are busy enough without the stripes on the pants. A more realistic approach to the equipment would be plain blue pants and helmets. I would abstain from lace-up collars here.

Overall: A little more restraint and realism would help this concept. (7.5/10)


Los Angeles Kings Concept - Nathan N.


Positives: I think the Kings could do a successful throwback to the Gretsky-era designs someday. 

Negatives: The shoulder patch is facing the wrong way. A pre-war style striping pattern doesn't fit well with a logo that is very 90s. The name and number font doesn't fit an athletic jersey. I recommend using one of the fonts you can download from our templates page. The sleeves need numbers as well. The Reebok logo used here is no longer featured on jerseys. You need to place an ID on your concepts. There needs to be some NHL branding as well. All you need is the NHL shield in the collar insert.

Overall: This design needs more work and execution, but the general idea of a Gretsky-era throwback is intriguing. (6/10)


Ottawa Senators Concept - Nathan N.


Positives: Ottawa needs new jerseys.

Negatives: There's no reason to include grey here. The vintage white doesn't fit a modern jersey template, and the front-facing Senator logo. The font doesn't seem like something you would see on an athletic jersey. Try one of the fonts on our templates page. The Reebok logo used here no longer appears on hockey jerseys. The sleeves need numbers. You need to place an ID on your concepts. There needs to be some NHL branding as well. All you need is the NHL shield in the collar insert.

Overall: Keep working on it. (5.5/10)


Boston Bruins "Bright Series" Concept - Colin M. (CPM Hockey)


Positives: The old brown wouldn't be bad on an alternate. The striping design looks good, and the two colors are balanced very well. Execution and presentation is wonderful.

Negatives: The shoulder patches look like animal crackers. I know where it comes from, but it doesn't really add anything to the look. The numbers seem a little small.

Overall: The white jersey in particular could make a good throwback alternate. (8.5/10)


Have you heard the big news about HJC's new competition coming up? We just finished a third jersey competition for the Grand Rapids Griffins, and now we have a competition coming up to design an alternate jersey for the Quad City Mallards! Get to work on your entries! Details, rules and important deadline information can be found here, or the banner above! I'm looking forward to hearing more about the competition from Ryan in his post tomorrow!

Did you vote in this week's double COTW vote? If you did, why not a DOUBLE GIF REWARD. Stay classy, responsible adult.

Did you fail to cast a vote for either Concept of the Week vote? Well then you get DOUBLE SHAME. So much shame. Get better at life.

Do you like hockey? What about the people at HJC? What if I told you that you could play hockey with the HJC community? Ok, it's fantasy hockey, but still. Still hockey in a sense...or in name...good enough. Click this link to sign up. We draft tomorrow, so this is your last chance!

That's all for today. See you all next week!

4 comments:

winnipegjets96 said...

I actually didn't mind the original Bolts alternate, it grew on me, and would have preferred a black version of it with a logo. But seriously.....this alternate is awful. It's the Big Yellow Mess for this season. If there were more blue on the concept, and an actual striping pattern, it'd be okay. BUT NOOOOOOOOO.

Ryan said...

Unfortunately Nathan's Kings concept is simply a Calgary Hitmen jersey with a Kings logo.

We all need to start somewhere though. I would just suggest to Nathan to keep working at his concepts and try to show us something we haven't seen before.

Phil B. said...

My thoughts on Tampa's alternate: "What else?" As in what else can they add?

I sent in a cool Lightning idea to HJC that we could be seeing next week, if not the week after. Definitely better than what Tampa showed us today. But if you want simple fixes, I have them. Hem stripe, colored sleeve, primary logo. Boom. Done. Now excuse me while I go apply for a job at Reebok to save the company's design department.

SportsUniformConcepts said...

Tampa Bay's uniform SUCKS!!!! my ass can do a better job at making an alternate.