As I mentioned last week, I'm in the middle of moving. Right now my room is pretty much empty besides a couple of boxes, and my computer for the very purpose of doing this post. Do you feel special yet? Well you should.
So Las Vegas and Quebec City have come out of the expansion application process as the only two applicants ready, but the NHL doesn't seem to want to let Seattle fall through the cracks. So those 3 cities are still realistically involved, and there are a lot of analysts that suggest Las Vegas and Seattle make the most sense geographically, and because of the Canadian dollar, Quebec City would have a hard time surviving.
At first glance, yes, Seattle and Las Vegas make the most sense, because they will fill the 2 team gap in the Western Conference and even things out.
But here's something most people forget to notice. Assuming the current divisions stay intact, both of those teams would fit best in the Pacific Division. That makes 9 teams, so one team will have to move to the Central. It would make no sense to break up the Albertan teams, so that leaves Arizona. Assuming Arizona is still around at this time, they'd have to travel further, much further. The team is already losing money, and adding on more travel costs will definitely sink them.
Following that scenario, when/if Arizona moves, they'd likely move to Quebec City (if Florida hasn't moved there first). Then one of those teams will move to the Central, which would either be Detroit (who really doesn't want to go back to the west), or one of the Florida teams. It wouldn't make sense to break up the Florida teams, and while Tampa would probably survive, Florida likely would not.
It doesn't really matter if Quebec City is included in expansion or not, either way, Florida would be in trouble.
But if they are included, and one of Seattle/Las Vegas in included, then Arizona is safe in the Pacific division. And if they need to relocate once their lease agreement is over, then they can move to Seattle and no division adjustment is necessary.
And assuming I'm right about Florida, where to they go? It would make most sense to move the team to the Central division, and there's actually a few possibilities there. Kansas City and Milwaukee would make the most sense, but Houston is a possibility, as well as Duluth, MN. A 2nd Toronto team could theoretically play in the Central. One last crazy but plausible solution could be Saskatoon. Could Saskatoon really do worse than Florida?
And again, Detroit is a good candidate to move back to the west, but can anyone really see that happening? More division rivals, playing most games in their own timezone, cutting travel by a ton...yeah there's no way Detroit would like the thought of moving.
So that's my take on it. If the NHL expands by two teams, then leaving out Seattle right now is probably for the better.
So after that rant and a half, let's get back to the blog. This week is the HJC Open Final! Our top seeds from the first round have survived to the end, which should make this final round a round to remember.
The two artists involved need to get their work in by Tuesday, and then we all have to make sure it gets the votes and attention this matchup deserves. Pride, glory, and a victory from a month of hard work are on the line, who's going to win it? Good luck!
Before I get to today's post, I'd like to say how awesome it is that we have 6 COTW worthy concepts to vote on this week, after a very shallow pool of concepts to pick from. Right now, we may not have many concepts to show, but the ones we do are quality pieces, so keep up the great work everyone!
HJC Open Final entries (due Tuesday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
COTW July 19-25 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Here's today's concepts:
Columbus Blue Jackets - Alex H.
First up is Alex's Blue Jackets redesign. Their current jerseys are decent if not plain. Does this redesign give jersey life to a team who's always lacked it?
Adding arm and hem stripes take away the "boringness" their current jerseys posses.
Stripes complement the logo well.
Equipment is well designed.
3rd jersey with newly recoloured logo looks great, love the stripe pattern.
Execution and presentation are top notch.
I don't like the white yoke outline on the blue jersey.
The stripes on the white jersey match the overall stripe pattern, but not the theme of the logo. Using the same stripes from the blue jersey would work, but create a lack of blue. Having thin blue stripes on the outside of the red/white/red/white/red pattern could fix that.
Whatever jersey logo isn't used should be one of the shoulder patches.
Overall: Most of my negatives are just personal preferences. This is a fantastic set. 8.5/10
Winnipeg Jets - Jimmy T.
Next is a Winnipeg Jets alternate, something the world clearly needs.
Light blue or silver would work best for a Jets alternate, one of which is seen here.
The inclusion of the old Jets logo is necessary, if they can possibly use it.
The striping pattern is really cool, and not too over-the-top.
Colours are well balanced.
No TV numbers.
Shoulder patches should be seen in front and back.
The "Jets" wordmark logo should be used as one of the shoulder patches, and on the helmet.
Gloves could have more of a design on them.
Overall: Based on idea and design, this concept would get my COTW vote every week. But execution and lack of polish really hurt this concept. 7.9/10
Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames - Vaughn R. & William B.
The last two concepts for today are by Vaughn and I from the HJC Pairs Competition this year. During the competition, Vaughn decided what concepts we'd do, we split the design work, and I polished everything off at the end. These two concepts were ones designed by him, with some small alterations afterwards by me.
This was our Wildcard concept. Vaughn really likes the Thrashers, and thought a one-off game between Atlanta's two successors would be a fun thing to design. I wasn't so sure at first, but I love the idea now, especially from a jersey standpoint.
I basically left the Flames jersey alone otherwise, as I liked the design Vaughn used. They never used a yellow logo, or stripes like this, so technically there's very little connection to the Atlanta Flames, but it's a great looking 70's fauxback at least.
The Winnipeg jersey he designed was like this one but in the Thrashers' colours. I convinced him to swap the colours, and add the small jets in the bottom, and I really like the end result we came up with.
I see that I made the TV numbers and front numbers too small on the Jets jersey (a common theme among the whole set when I look at it). I also forgot to add the "Flaming A" on Calgary's shoulder patch. Weak execution by me killed what could have been an awesome Jets concept. As for the Flames concept, execution is good, but I don't necessary agree with the design, and how it doesn't really connect with the old Atlanta franchise.
But overall, it's a pretty awesome idea, and I think the jerseys we picked would suit the game nicely.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers - Vaughn R. & William B.
This was another set designed by Vaughn then "remastered" by me. We wanted to do several Fauxback concepts, but after getting clarification from Ryan, we had to pick one. We went with a classic match up from two 90's teams in non-traditional hockey markets.
The Florida jersey is pretty much exactly what Vaughn sent me, but I swapped logos. I figured the roundel logo would fit a fauxback jersey better. It's hard to see this and think nostalgically, but this is basically an 80's design for a 90's team, which is what we wanted to accomplish. It's also a design that seems to fit them perfectly, even though they've never used anything similar.
The same things can be said about the Lightning jersey. He used the rounded logo, but I added an outline to it. I also swapped positions of the black and grey to better match the yoke. But the rest was all Vaughn. Again, it doesn't seem like an old jersey, but it fits the 80's look that we went for. It's also an alternate that doesn't look ripped off from another team (LA and Ottawa). My only concern with this one is that grey really isn't necessary, especially when looking back at their original jerseys. But it's original, and I like the design that he used.
Alex H's Columbus Blue Jackets concept gets my COTW nomination today.
I'd love to hear you guys review and score the concepts Vaughn and I made. I love posting concepts to the blog to get feedback, but sometimes you have to review your own material, and not much is learned. So if we good get some comments from you guys, that would be greatly appreciated.
So don't forget to vote for COTW this week, and for the HJC Open Final when voting opens later this week. It's a huge vote that's one month in the making, so make sure you get involved!
Next week could get a bit scrambly because of moving, but I assure you that I'll have a post for next Sunday for you guys.
Thanks for reading, and see you next week!