Praising the best white jerseys in the league is all well and good, but let's be honest: you'd much prefer me to rip into the bad ones. You like that I don't hold back; that I'm snarky as hell. Let's get to it. There's trash to burn.
5th worst: Calgary Flames
|Image Credit: Don Smith, Getty Images, via flames.nhl.com|
A team with many unique and wonderful designs in its past, chooses to go with Reebok template that isn't. This jersey suffers from having no restraint. Flags on the jerseys? Ok, but let's have two. Striping on the hem and arms? Ok, but let's add it to the side panels and pants as well. Also, you know what this jersey needs? Piping! Let's add laces to the collar, too!
Where do you even look? It doesn't draw your eye anywhere, but dares you to try find some relief in what white space there is. It's busy, it's minor league-ish, and yet it has pretensions of representing both Alberta and the whole of Canada. Alberta is one thing, but a whole country? Would I want the Kings, Blackhawks, Coyotes, Red Wings, Rangers, Blues, Wild, Sharks, Ducks, Panthers, Lightning, Flyers, Bruins, Penguins, Sabres, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Avalanche, Stars, Devils, Islanders, or even Predators to wear an American flag on their shoulders? No. (also, there are a lot of American teams)
4th worst: Columbus Blue Jackets
|Image Credit: www.bluejackets.nhl.com (photo not originally credited)|
The biggest issue here is the opposite of the Flames' problem: there's just not much going on here. What makes it more forgivable than say, the next worst team, is that Columbus has never really had good jerseys. Their alternate, used since 2010, is their best design. That's not saying that their alternate has reached a higher plane of aesthetic perfection. Their home/away jersey are just that bad. They made some amends by changing their alternate logo to the cannon from their alternate jersey. Even their font is bad. It's serif-ed to death. Apart from the logos, this design does nothing well.
3rd worst: Colorado Avalanche
|Image Credit: Bill Wippert, Getty images via avalanche.nhl.com|
The foot logo was the worst part of this jersey in my opinion. They finally changed that this year, but lip stick on a pig is still a pig. This team had a unique aesthetic. They really didn't need to change their jerseys again, but yet they did. Many ownership groups got pressured into changing their designs in 2007 (my Preds included) but there have been many opportunities along the way for Colorado to go with something different. Many of the teams that introduced new Reebok template jerseys in 2007 have gone back to having their own jerseys, but like a bird that has been in captivity too long, when the cage was opened, it chose the cage.
2nd worst: Florida
|Image Credit: Sergei Belski, USA Today Sports, via www.thestar.com|
Their primary logo looks like the logo of your high school rival. Their alternate logo looks like it was designed in MS Word. It's two pieces of Clip Art placed over a third piece of Clip Art.
Beyond their logos, the jersey is utterly forgettable. The best and most redeeming aspect of Florida's branding was their jersey design. In 2007, they decided to throw all that out the window in favor of this. It's like trading in a Ford Mustang for a white Chrysler Lebaron. There's no one to blame here but ownership. The same ownership that trades game tickets for losing lottery tickets.
The Worst: Pittsburgh Penguins/Ottawa Senators (basically the same thing)
|Image Credit: Craig Abel, Getty Images, via www.penguins.nhl.com|
|Image Credit: Richard Wolowicz, Getty Images, via www.ottawacitizen.com|
These teams really should know better. It's not like they don't have history to draw upon for attractive designs (if you are counting Ottawa's original franchise, which I am in this case). Like a Donald Trump Presidential campaign, these jerseys exist despite all logic and emotion saying they shouldn't. These jerseys are not striped, they are splotched. That both franchises would acquiesce to being subjugated to the exact same Reebok jersey template is laughable. They either don't understand marketing, or don't care; not sure which is worse.
When considering previous jersey designs for these teams, and their current alternate jerseys, who buys these jerseys? I assume it can only be people no understanding of detail. If you asked them what they had for dinner, I can only imagine that their response would be, "I dunno some shapes I guess."
Worst of all time: Dallas Stars 2008-2013
|Image Credit: www.stars.nhl.com|
This rotting pile of excrement...I loathe this jersey. Looking outdated before it even debuted, it's the worst of what made the first decade of the 2000s so bad. It blatantly and unapologetically shoots for the middle; going so far out of its way to be unoffensive that its malaise becomes an unendurable slag of malice. At no point does this communicate passion, ambition, excitement, hope, or anything positive. It's a condemnation of a fanbase by it's own ownership. It's like the Republicans picking Mitt Romney in 2012; it sends a message that they know what you want, and what you want is a $10 Walmart gift card and all day McDonald's breakfast. The line starts here, sheep.
Here are the first entries into our Chicago Express Redesign Competition:
You know what isn't stuck in a quagmire of monotony? Today's concepts. We've got several unique designs today, and they are definitely worth a detailed look.
Pittsburgh Penguins concept - Jared L.
Positives: The white jersey here is better than what Pittsburgh has, even if the template used barely relates to the "RoboPenguin" era in Pittsburgh.
Negatives: It's really difficult to surmise any detail here, because the overall concept is so blurry, like a picture that is out of focus. I struggle to understand why the dark jersey has laces. From what I can tell, there is some execution errors in the striping.
Overall: Not the best design, or the best execution, but a clear step in the right direction for Jared. (5/10)
Minnesota "Polar Bears" 1990s NHL Expansion concept - Lucas D.
Positives: A very interesting concept here. The 90s really were the most unique era of sports branding. I love the irreverence towards tradition here. I can't say I've ever seen this color combination used on a concept before, and that's wonderful. I appreciate whenever I see anything truly new.
Negatives: Minnesota's logo really relies on organic shapes, which puts it at odds with the striping. Angular designs were in during the 90s, but there is a disconnect here. If you want to go full 90s, I recommend a CCM template.
Overall: I really like this series idea, and the execution is good, but I just feel a disconnect between the logo and striping. (8/10)
New Orleans Brass concept - Brooks F.
Positives: It's a unique color scheme, and I respect the time and effort it takes to execute a design that has little to no horizontal striping. The "brass" color of the dark jersey is not the most visually appealing color, taking on a brownish hue, but makes sense for the brand here. It's similar to the Ducks' home/away, and I think it works well here.
Negatives: I'm having difficulty with the pant stripes. I think it would look too busy once you put everything together. I would like to see what it would look like in a full-body template because of that.
Overall: This is a good, creative, non-traditional concept. I'm struggling with these pant stripes, though. (8.5/10)
Richmond Renegades concept - Brooks F.
Positives: This is...phenomenal. Sweet baby Moses with a walkman...wow. I Richmond had some awesomely 90s jerseys, and these do not disappoint. Throughout writing this post, I just keep scrolling to this just to look at it. I love it. Execution is solid, which is hard to do with a concept featuring no horizontal stripes anywhere. I respect that.
Negatives: The logo is, of course, way too big. I would keep it off the striping and offset the logo to the right. The pants striping doesn't work. It's a neat idea, but the it doesn't make sense with the white jersey because the striping is a different color. With the dark jersey, the striping becomes overload when combined with the hem and socks.
Overall: Honestly one of the most unique concepts I've seen in awhile. I'd pay good money for one of these right now. It's not perfect, but I love it anyway. (8.75/10) COTW nomination from me!
Halifax Mariners concept - Connor L.
Positives: The yellow/navy combination is sharp and appropriately maritime. It makes me think of yellow wet suits, crab fishing, deep water, etc. Crosby is a fitting addition. It's unclear what this concept is intended to be; I'm assuming NHL expansion? I can't figure out where these logos came from. If you made them, that's great, well done. Logo design is hard, and I always appreciate someone trying to stretch their abilities like that. If you didn't create them...
Negatives: If you didn't create these logos, then they need to be credited. See HJC's Logo Use Policy. The large "M" in the primary logo gets lost behind the anchor. I would take the thin white outline off the name and number; it's not helping create greater contrast, and therefore pointless. Also, you need sleeve numbers and a helmet logo. When creating a new team, it's helpful to also create a white jersey to go with the set.
Overall: Halifax would be an interesting location for a new professional team. There is some sketchiness with the logos that make me a little uncomfortable, as well as some necessary items left off. (6.75/10)
Anaheim Ducks concept - Zeke G.
Positives: Anaheim has painted themselves into a corner with their color scheme. The three are not easy to design with. These colors are balanced nice, though. The orange isn't overbearing, the gold isn't used too much, and is kept separate from the orange (in my opinion, Anaheim's gold and orange clash). Sleeve numbers and the helmet logo are done well.
Negatives: It's not the most revolutionary design. Upon close examination, one can find many loose or miscolored pixels, especially on the white jersey. It seems like the colors were changed from the dark jersey there, but proper care was not taken to ensure that the color swap was done cleanly. Reebok hasn't used the logo that appears on the pants here for five years.
Overall: There are many things to like here, but some rough details hold it back. (7.75/10)
Anaheim Ducks concept - Alan S.
Positives: Bringing back some of that Mighty Ducks magic is always a good idea. Anytime the old MD aesthetic is used, I get nostalgic. When I started my collection, an eggplant Ducks jersey was my 2nd addition, after a Preds jersey. There's just something very charismatic about it. Execution is very good, and Alan's presentation is improving as well.
Negatives: The Ducks' particular shade of orange is difficult to work with. It's not much darker than "hunter safety orange" and thus can be very overbearing. Because of this, the white jersey is my favorite here, because it gives your eyes a little more relief. More black is needed to balance it out. I would make the cuffs and hem black, and not use a yoke on the orange jersey. Also, lace-up collars don't fit this design well. Keep it modern. Last thing: when there are helmets, so too are helmet logos.
Overall: This is a well executed design coming at millennials like an emotion-seeking missile, but color balance could be improved. The white jersey is the stronger of the two. (8.5/10)
Speaking of opinions, don't forget to use our handy poll at the top right to vote for Concept of the Week!
COTW Feb 14-20 vote (ends Friday @ 11:59pm Eastern)
Chicago Express entries (due Friday @ 10:59pm Eastern)
See you all next week. In the next three weeks, I'm going to be doing a three-part series examining the major contributing factors to that led to an era of change and expansion in the 1990s. Hope you enjoy!