Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A Tale of Two Jerseys: the Islanders and Sens unveil new duds

UPDATE: I've run out of witty titles.

Hockey fans have been treated today with sneak peaks of uniforms to be worn in upcoming outdoor games. The New York Islanders leaked a photo of John Tavares wearing the New York Islanders' get up for the stadium series games against the New York Rangers on January 29, 2014. A photo of the Sens outfit for the the Heritage Classic against the Vancouver Canucks on March 2, 2014 was leaked via twitter.

So how do these jerseys measure up?

I'll start with the Sens jersey as I'm actually quite pleased with it. Here's the leaked pic:


I have to admit that I'm a bit hurt that they didn't consider my jersey design, which would have saved the cash-strapped Sens a canal-load of money through the uniform's very simplicity.

As an added bonus, fans can make "giving the fig" the official obscene hand gesture of the Ottawa Senators.

Hurt feelings aside, I think that Ottawa has picked an excellent jersey. As a matter of fact, this was the sort of jersey I had hoped to see when the Sens announced that they would honour the first incarnation of the team with the third jersey that they debuted in 2011. Those black sweaters with the old-school "O" seemed cool on the racks, but they never quite looked right on the players' backs. They made Erik Karlsson and co. look like they were rocking black leotards with striped tube-tops. 

My only qualm with this uniform is the nomenclature. The cup-less Senators have often tried to appropriate the success of Ottawa's first professional hockey club, but fans outside of the YOW have resisted such schemes. These jerseys represent the latest instance of the club's historical revisionism as they are neither throwbacks (i.e. they've never been worn by the current franchise), nor are they fauxbacks (i.e. these duds were designed after an actual hockey sweater).

We need a word that acknowledges that these jerseys are based on hockey history, and yet also emphasizes that Ottawa's current franchise has only a tangential connection to that team. Feel free to offer some suggestions.

Late last night, the New York Islanders released a pic of Tavares wearing the team's latest foray into alternate jerseys: 


My reaction was a decided "meh." I've never been a fan of this franchise's outfits, which have been either forgettable, such as the main design used for decades, or horrendous, such as the current third jersey: 

How long did the team spend designing the out at far right? The large area at centre dedicated to the player's number screams, "Afterthought!"

So, in comparison, the get-ups for the Stadium Series are underwhelming but far from awful. They have also received rave reviews from Islanders players. Tavares praised them for being "newer, more modern" than the outfits used in the current and previous Winter Classic games. While Tavares offered offhand comments were worthy of a face palm, teammate Matt Martin praised the outfits as futuristic.  

I assume that Martin is using "futuristic" in reference to the chrome colouring of the main logo, but it's possible that the back of the jersey depicts Michael J. Fox soaring the skies in a flying DeLorean. If not, he should perhaps consider the unsettling implications behind the assumption that shiny metallic clothing is futuristic. Does Martin envision hockey in the future as a mechanized sport in which human players have been replaced by concussion-proof robots?   

Anyway, the Islanders' success as producing a neither great nor terrible jerseys as an accomplishment given the franchise's track record with uniforms. When I heard about the Stadium Series, I was worried that the team would design new duds around former Captain Denis Potvin's infamous underwear ad:

Good luck trying to unsee this horrific image!

If it were up to me, I'd design a jersey that announced the Islanders' intention to terrorize the Rangers when they move from Nassau to Brooklyn. And what better way to inspire fear in the enemy than to use a uniform that evokes New York's apocalyptic destruction? I'm thinking, of course, of designing jerseys after fictional pitchman and would-be annihilator of Earth, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Here's what the jerseys would look like.


Which would you prefer to see Tavares wearing: the sailor suit of destruction or the Stadium Series jersey?

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