Yes the playoffs are here in fully glory! Before I get to my post today, I'm going to give you my 1st round predictions:
Anaheim vs Winnipeg - I'd love to see Winnipeg sneak into the 2nd round, but they're in trouble against the West's best team. Winnipeg has a chance if their goalies continue to be strong and Anaheim's inexperienced netminders falter. I have my doubts on that. Anaheim in 5.
Vancouver vs Calgary - What is this, the early 2000's? I'm extremely excited that my Flames made the playoffs to begin with, and I really like their odds against Vancouver. Their youth will be a positive, but their inexperience will hinder them greatly. However, they really have nothing to lose here, and Vancouver isn't known as a great playoff-style team, especially now that Kesler is gone. I smell an upset. Calgary in 6
St. Louis vs Minnesota - Elliot/Allen vs Dubnyk. Right now it would be difficult picking against Dubnyk. St Louis has a much better team, and I think that will be enough for them this time, but expect the Wild (mostly Dubnyk) to keep it close. St Louis in 7.
Nashville vs Chicago - At the start of the year, I picked Nashville to be LAST in the division. Obviously, doubting them was a bad call, and I shouldn't do it again. But Chicago is always a dominant playoff-style team, and I really have a tough time seeing Nashville overpowering the Blackhawks. It could be close though. Chicago in 7.
Montreal vs Ottawa - Good news is that at least 2 Canadian teams will make the 2nd round, the bad news is that 2 will be eliminated. Ottawa (Hammond mostly) has been on a huge run lately, and could be a sleeper against any team. But Price and the rest of the Canadiens made sure that last year wasn't a fluke, and look like easy title contenders this year. In another goalie battle, I'd take big-game experience over Hammond's inexperience any day. Montreal in 6.
Tampa Bay vs Detroit - Detroit is stumbling into the playoffs, while Tampa Bay looks as strong as usual. I really can't see Tampa losing to Detroit even once, but I'll give the Red Wings the benefit of the doubt. Tampa Bay in 5.
New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins - Like Detroit, Pittsburgh is stumbling into the playoffs, only much worse. They come in with the 2nd lowest point total, ahead of Calgary. Yes, they are a great team and can never be looked over, but their recent record and playoff success hasn't been up to their old standards. Meanwhile, the Rangers look as dominant as they did last year, if not more. They shouldn't have much of a problem with the Penguins. New York in 5.
New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals - This one could easily go either way. I like what Trotz has done with the Capitals, and if Ovie can make any sort of impact, then the Capitals will win. I have a feeling this will be a long, tough series, and the winner will be too worn and will be easy pickings for either the Rangers or Pens. Washington in 7.
So the deadline of the Pairs competition has been extended to Wednesday, so use the next few days to polish up your concepts and get ready for a big battle royal of stellar design work. I'm really excited for unveiling our group's work and seeing the designs from everyone else. Competition is going to be extremely tight this time I think.
My Pairs partner Vaughn had his birthday recently, and wanted me to show off his new jerseys and hat:
Now who's ready for some concepts?
COTW Apr5 -Apr 11 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Pairs Competition (ends Wednesday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Michigan Wolverines - Christian C.
Yay: Let's start off with a pair of concepts from Christian, the first being for the Michigan Wolverines. Compared to their current jerseys, these are a bit simpler but also a bit more modern and pro-style. The striping and arm design is basic but works perfectly with Michigan's traditionalist style.
Nay: The logo on the white jersey uses a different blue than on the rest of the jersey. The number font also looks skinnier on the white jersey than the blue one. The main logo looks way too big on the front of the jersey.
Overall: It's a good design, but execution kills it. 7.2/10
Michigan State Spartans - Christian C.
Yay: Next, Christian makes a design for the cross-state rivals, the Spartans. He tries a different template here, a template I don't really like but seems to suit the Spartans a little bitter. The arms are really nicely done, the font looks great, and everything seems pretty believable for a more pro-style jersey.
Nay: Again, the main logo seems way too big. The name is way too small. I get that you shrunk it because it's a longer name, but it should still be bigger than that. The hem stripe is kind of boring as is, and doesn't match the flashiness of the arms all too well. Using the sock stripe pattern would work better.
Overall: A better designed and executed concept than the previous one, but still needs work. 7.6/10
Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Kevin G.
Yay: Kevin is next with four completely different but interesting Notre Dame uniforms. The blue jersey is most likely to be their main jersey, with a nice classic stripe style and wordmark. The gold one could also work as their main set, being a classic looking jersey with a few Nike-esque modern twists. The green one is basically the gold one, but probably would be best to reserve it to St. Patrick's Day games. Finally, the white one follows the same style as the last two, but with a cool vintage logo.
Nay: First off, there's no name or ID on the concept. Going in the same order, the blue one's wordmark is too big, and the name and TV number shouldn't be gold when it's on a white background. Very hard on the eyes. The gold one is probably my favourite, no real complaints there. The green and gold one should swap logos I think, as the green leprechaun logo looks out of place on it's own jersey that otherwise lacks green. As a whole, it should be marked which ones are a main set, or if all four of these are meant to be alternates.
Overall: Fun to see all of the different looks Notre Dame could go with, but none of these are really game-ready yet. 7.5/10
Vancouver Canucks - Ryan C.
Yay: It wouldn't break my heart at all to see the Canucks go back to these colours. I might be in the minority, but I really loved this era of Canucks jersey history. The stripes have been simplified, which is a positive for me. The concept is really well executed.
Nay: I'd get rid of the grey stripes, they aren't really necessary and make the stripes a little too busy. I'd also stick with blue or light blue as the number colour, with red as an outline. The equipment is fairly bland, besides the gloves. I don't really like the contrasting shoulder style used on the white jersey.
Overall: Love the colours and execution, but not sold on the design. 8/10
Liverpool - Phil B.
Yay: Next are two Premier League crossover concepts from Phil. The first one we see here is Liverpool. This old school team definitely uses the traditional stripes well. The stripe pattern doesn't match on both jerseys, but putting white and yellow would be a bad call, so that was a good design choice. The colours are balanced, execution is great, the equipment is well designed, what more could you ask for?
Nay: It's not the most exciting concept ever made, but it doesn't need to be for a classic team like Liverpool. Otherwise, I have no complaints.
Overall: It's a design that heavily borrows hockey classics, but it pulls it off really well. 8.5/10
Hull City - Phil B.
Yay: Last up is Phil's Hull City concept. Is it Hull City or Hull Tigers? Or have they figured that name change thing out yet? Anyways, wow! Usually concepts that try to pull the barber pole design off get too busy, but this looks really nice. It's really flashy but still has an old school look to it, and there's enough whitespace to be easy on the eyes. Again, execution and equipment designs are well done.
Nay: The TV numbers are a little hard to see, especially on the orange jersey. There isn't a great way to fix it while keeping the barber pole style, but you could possibly skip a stripe where the number goes. I'm pretty sure such a logo doesn't exist, but this logo with a white background behind the tiger would be much better for the orange jersey.
Overall: While there are more faults with this one than Liverpool's concept, this one gets a better score because it simply more awesome. 8.7/10
And with that, Phil B's Hull City concept gets my COTW nomination.
Alright, so before the playoffs start and distracts everybody, make sure you send in your votes for COTW and our first COTY Quarterly vote. I can't believe we're already picking our first COTY finalist, the year has gone by so quickly so far. Also, get your Pairs competition entries in by Wednesday. The deadline will NOT be extended so you snooze, you lose.
Thanks for reading and see you next week!