Speaking of the World Juniors, how about this tournament so far? Canada-USA was beautiful, almost an instant-classic. Or how about the parity in group B? Sweden rolled through everybody, but then you have Russia barely beating Denmark, Denmark being the Swiss, the Swiss thumping the Czechs and the Czechs somehow topping the Russians. The Czechs jumped from 5th to 2nd in one game!
Anyway, here are the playoff match-ups, with my predictions:
Canada vs Denmark - I was really cheering on Denmark after seeing their performance at the World Jr A championships and their gutsy showdown against Russia. Minus a handful of players and their goalie, they're extremely weak. But they play solid defensively and pounce on mistakes by better teams. Canada is too strong offensively and too disciplined to fall for the Danish trap. 5-1 Canada
Slovakia vs Czech Republic - Neither team has been too solid in the group stage, but this classic rivalry game will bring out the best in both teams. Czechs need better goaltending, but if they play like they did against Russia, they could challenge for a medal. 4-3 Czech Republic
USA vs Russia - The worst possible quarters match up came true for the Americans. Russia has looked weak against the Danes and Czechs, but they hammered a formidable Swiss team, and kept up with the Swedes. The Russians aren't a team to count out, but the Americans have looked way too good so far to let this one slide. 3-1 USA
Sweden vs Finland - Last year's gold medal finals will turn out to be the least interesting match of the quarter finals. Sweden has been dominant. Finland, while shouldn't be counted out, has looked pretty bad, barely avoiding the relegation round. 6-2 Sweden
My final medal predictions are Gold - Canada, Silver - USA, and Bronze - Sweden.
What do you guys think? Disagree with my picks? Then comment and suggest yours!
Anyways, back to the blog. We have our COTW vote going on this week, the last fully 2014 vote. We also have the beginning of the World Cup of Hockey competition. Until January 9th, you can submit a new logo for the competition. The rules are very simple and there's plenty of room for creativity, so hopefully we get lots of entries.
And on that note, lets check out the concepts for today!
COTW Dec 21-27 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
World Cup logos (due Friday, January 9 @ 11:59pm Eastern)
No World Cup logos to show today, so we'll go straight to the regular concepts!
New York Islanders - Mario A.
Yay: We start today with Mario's revision of the Islanders' "Captain Fishstick" jerseys. I honestly think this is a set worth revisiting for the Islanders, with some changes of course. The stripes have been replaced with the Ducks' previous set up, and look surprisingly good in these colours. The addition of the full length arm stripe really helps separate this from the Ducks' design.
Nay: I could almost take this concept seriously if it wasn't for that font. It has to go. I know this set is supposed to be different, new, modern, whatever. But this kind of font has no place on a hockey jersey. Also, the name is too close to the top, and I see a few rough, pixelated edges.
Overall: The two styles mash up well, but execution needs some tweaking. 7.3/10
New York Rangers - Mario A.
Yay: Mario's 2nd concept today is a totally new set for the Rangers, bringing back Lady Liberty. If they're current jerseys weren't such classics, then I'd love for them to use a set like this. The arms are similar to the old alternates New York had, but a little simplified. The added hem is a nice touch, and I like how the set looks in both colours.
Nay: Same as the last concept: a few rough pixelation spots, and the name should be lowered (and maybe made a bit bigger). The back number could be made a little smaller or raised a bit too.
Overall: This would be a perfect set if the execution issues were fixed. 7.9/10
Kalamazoo Wings - Ryan C.
Yay: Next up is a concept for the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL. The primary logo is adapted from the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings, formerly of the NAHL (USA Jr.). The Wings have been so identifiable by their old logo (seen on the 3rd jersey here), than seeing a different logo is intriguing. The stripe pattern on the main set is really cool, and the 3rd jersey has a nice modern contrast to it.
Nay: The skinny hem stripes on the main jerseys are bugging me. They either need to be thicker or have a similar pattern to the arms. The font for the player name could be blockier, like a more traditional sports font.
Overall: A really interesting but good set. 8.1/10
Michigan Tech Huskies - Taylor R.
Yay: Next up we go to Michigan Tech of the NCAA. Though not a powerhouse now, they were a very successful team in the 60's and 70's. What I like about this set is that it looks more like a pro-style set than a college set, especially the black jersey. It's a traditional looking set, but not with boring block text like they (and most schools) usually wear in the front. There's enough grey to make it stand out from every other team (pro and college) that wear black and yellow, which is great.
Nay: I'd get rid of the yoke outline on the black jersey, but that's about it.
Overall: Instant classic. 8.9/10
Ferris St. Bulldogs - Taylor R.
Yay: Now to another team in the WCHA conference of the NCAA, Ferris State. In contrast to the Huskies, the Bulldogs have been a more dominant team recently, reaching the NCAA Finals in 2012. This is another pro-style set with an interesting stripe pattern. Everything looks flashy and sharp, with great execution.
Nay: I'm not really liking the font. It's not bad, but it's almost going too far away from the classic college look. I also don't like the stripes on the dark jersey. I love how the different colours looks on the white jersey, but the stripes and cuff on the dark jersey looks redundant in a way.
Overall: My complaints are very nit-picky here. It's another solid set. 8.3/10
Montreal Canadiens - Ryan H.
Yay: Is nothing sacred? That's what we ask as we see diehard Leafs-fan and HJC admin Ryan show us his Montreal Canadiens 3rd jersey. I definitely see a connection between this and the Capitals jersey they're wearing today: a fauxback pre-1940's jersey. I'd probably take this instead of the numerous old designs they had before 1913. This looks like it could fit right into the Canadiens' classic jersey timeline, yet still be cool enough to wear today.
Nay: The hem stripe is bugging me a bit. If it was a little thicker, I think it would look better and match the arms a bit better. And "Go Leafs Go"? I know you're a Leafs fan but come on man, that ain't right.
Overall: This would be a beauty in the 20's, in the 40's, in the 80's, and in the 2010's. Montreal's desperate need of a new alternate would be fixed with this concept. 8.9/10
New York Rangers - Dylan N.
Yay: Dylan brings us back to the Rangers, in a set that brings back the shield logo and in the process looks old and new at the same time. The stripes have a modern, edgy look to them, but don't drift too far away from the current Rangers look. This set is perfect because it could work as a regular set, two Stadium Series jerseys, or even a Winter Classic with a little imagination.
Nay: This is definitely nit-picky, but the contrast between the thin red stripes and the dark blue isn't that great, making the red stripe a little hard to look at on the dark jersey. I wonder how dark jersey would look if the red and white were reversed (not including the name and numbers).
Overall: A very good set that New York could use for practically any purpose. 8.8/10
Edmonton Oilers - Dylan N.
Yay: Last up today is Dylan's Edmonton Oil-Cogs concepts. If the Oilers have one of the best classic jerseys now, then this set would be the perfect modern contrast. These jerseys failed in the past because the jersey itself was boring, but the stripe pattern is so modern, techy, and unique that it really stands out, but looks great with the logo, which itself is underrated.
Nay: This set would be perfect if there was some sort of stripe or design on the pants.
Overall: This could never replace the Oilers' main set, people would lose their minds. But either of these could be the best alternates in the NHL. 9/10
It was virtually a 4-way tie for my COTW nominee today, but I'll give it to Dylan N's Edmonton Oilers concept.
Well, gotta run. The Winter Classic is just about to start. Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!