Wishes for Adidas’ NHL Takeover

With Adidas being the parent company of Reebok, they’re set to assume production of all NHL jerseys for the 2017-18 season.  Last time this happened, when Reebok took over in the offseason of 2007, all NHL team jerseys were redesigned to fit the new Edge template.  With this change being forced upon each team, some took the opportunity to rebrand or refresh their looks.  Some overhauled completely (Dallas, Vancouver, and Washington for example).  Others made minor tweaks to their jerseys.  Some made basically none.

Some teams made mistakes.  A few of them, unfortunately, still live to this day.  I’ve taken it upon myself to present a few concept logo blocks with my vision for team primary logos and colors going forward.  If these changes don’t happen, I will be disappointed, but I won’t give up hope — I’ll continue adding to this collection when inspiration strikes, provided that my ideas don’t magically come to life before then.

First up, my Buffalo Sabres:

Buffalo SabresBuffalo Sabres (Away)

Ditch the silver lines, return to a real, vibrant blue, and voilà!  That’s all they need.  This look is clear, identifiable, and timeless.  If they’re going to hoist the Cup at some point, I desperately hope it’s in these.  With the Sabres scheduled to play as the home team at the 2018 Winter Classic, we may see this jersey appear as soon as then — hopefully they do the right thing and elevate it to primary duty afterward.  If not, the likely worst case scenario is it would become a full-time third in 2018-19.  If that happens, they will have earned my money.

Calgary Flames (Third)Calgary Flames (Fourth)

Fixing the Calgary Flames would be simple: return to the 1980s.  Get rid of the black.  Promote the existing third to primary and add a road counterpart.  You won the Cup in these jerseys; why wouldn’t you want to promote them?  ’nuff said.

Carolina Hurricanes (Third)Carolina Hurricanes (Fourth)

The Carolina Hurricanes need a uniform update, badly.  Their 2013 redesign was horrendous, but thankfully they kept their unique third in reserve.  I wouldn’t mind seeing them upgraded to full-time duty.  The flag logo is far better than the swirl, even though they did win the Cup in the latter, but there’s also the fact that I’m not a fan of black primaries.  What about red?  I think that looks damn hot, even if it is a (tropical) storm warning flag.

Colorado Avalanche (Third)Colorado Avalanche (Fourth)

The Colorado Avalanche have been using the 2007 Reebok transition look for a decade; they’re the last to maintain use of the “apron string” look.  It needs a change more than any other team.  Their current thirds are decent, but I’m not sold on them being a primary.  They’re just a bit too experimental, plus burgundy has always been the Avs’ color.  How about these?

Columbus Blue JacketsColumbus Blue Jackets (Away)

The Columbus Blue Jackets‘ third is a great, great look.  I love the jersey, the color scheme, and the logo.  It’s more distinct, compared to the Jacket’s current palette which features zero unique colors.  The only problem is that vintage white cannot be used as an away jersey base, so to solve I’ve made it white across the board.  Looking sharp!

Minnesota WildMinnesota Wild (Away)

The Minnesota Wild are rumored to be going forward with a green jersey, similar to their Stadium Series jersey from last season.  I’m for it.  I think they should keep their away white jerseys and use them template for the homes.  Easy.  I bet this is exactly what we see come Draft Day, more-or-less.

Ottawa Senators (Third)Ottawa Senators (Fourth)

The Ottawa Senators are in dire need of a new look, having used the same original Reebok template since 2007.  Luckily, they’ve already created a complete set that would do nicely.  The “O” logo ties the franchise back to its predecessor in Ottawa, while ditching the tired look of the three-quarter-profile cartoon centurion.  Same as with Columbus, the vintage white is normalized to pure white.  There was a rumor swirling earlier this year that something like this was in the works for the future.  It’s been quiet on that front recently, but I’d still imagine this has a very good chance of happening.

Alternatively, they’ve been sitting on this cleaner version of their original profiled Senator logo for awhile.  It’s not on their jerseys anywhere, for some reason.  If the classic look isn’t to be, why not revamp the jerseys with this badass logo on front?  Hell, I’d be okay with a return to the black primary if this is what it looks like.

San Jose SharksSan Jose Sharks (Away)San Jose Sharks2San Jose Sharks (Away2)

This is more of a thought than a hope.  The San Jose Sharks used the Reebok takeover to refresh their Shark-biting-stick logo in 2007; modernizing while maintaining the overall look.  It’s been a decade since then, and the franchise has matured to a point of ubiquity and success in the Bay Area.  It’s time to grow the logo to match.  We know it’s a hockey team, so there’s no need for a stick in the logo.  This past season the Sharks released a beautiful set of “future” secondary logos for marketing purposes, which went more-or-less unused: see the clean full-bodied shark above.  There’s also a variant with a more triangular shape and a subtle SJ at the vertex.  Either one I think would be a great primary look.

Washington CapitalsWashington Capitals (Away)

Last but not least, look at this.  The Washington Capitals have used this stunning secondary logo since their transformation in 2007.  How is it not the primary?  I get that the wordmark is an update of their original logo, but come on.  This would be an incredible primary logo.  It’s simple, easily reproduceable and identifiable, and it’s freaking brilliant.  It forms a “W.” It’s got the Capitol in negative space.  The angle in the neck invokes the Washington Monument.  It’s wonderful.  After their latest playoff failure, it might just be a decent time to re-brand.  Make this the primary now.

I have a few more wants that I’m not sure how (read: am not skilled enough) to express visually:

Los Angeles Kings

The Los Angeles Kings would do well to add purple back to their look.  I’m not sure if that requires a whole new logo or not — I’d lean toward the latter, given all of their success with their current setup.  Perhaps just a trim on the jersey?  The league needs more purple; ie any purple.

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks have a great set of uniforms, and it hurts to suggest changes because of their mixed history.  I like the orca logo, but the “Vancouver” wordmark needs to go.   Alternatively, promote the third to full time and go full 1970s.  Either way, that’s all I want, so there’s nothing really new to illustrate here.  The design of the jerseys and their colors are perfect already.

In conclusion, I’m surprised by how content I am with the look of the NHL these days.   Only a handful of teams need a redo on the logo, jersey, and/or colors.  For the rest, a few uniform tweaks here and there would be nice, but overall I think these aforementioned changes would be enough to make the league the best it could possibly look.  Now, if only we could make color versus color jerseys for games the norm, only then would we have perfection.


Twenty-Sixteen in Photographs

Hallo!  It’s a new year once again, so I’ve taken to continuing my tradition of building a retrospective photo gallery, for the fifth time now.  This year was again spent heavily in San Francisco — hiking the hills, going to concerts, being around the bridges — though there are a few photos from my domestic travels early on; 57 photos in total.  Galleries for my trips to Japan and India are found elsewhere.  Enjoy!

Tonight’s The Night… For Real This Time

With due respect to the eight teams that played last night, and boy did the San Jose Sharks make a statement at Los Angeles, the real NHL season begins tonight!  The youth movement begins for the Edmonton Oilers and Buffalo Sabres, led by the two franchise players that were the prize at the end of last season.  Connor McDavid, the savior of the north, the one who was promised, makes his debut for the Oil at St. Louis this evening; the luck of the lottery balls back in April led to a complete overhaul of the Edmonton franchise.  A new general manager, a new coach, the presumed end of the “old boy’s club,” all pointing toward a bright future in the northern prairies of Alberta.  There are still question marks a-plenty surrounding the squad containing four first overall picks from their last decade of mediocrity — defense looks okay, but not great, and goaltending of course is always a concern in Edmonton.  I’ll make predictions below, but I don’t see the Oil pulling into the playoffs just yet.

eichOn the homefront, Jack Eichel and the Buffalo Sabres are poised for a massive turnaround, I hope.  The draft in June saw several major deals for Buffalo, acquiring a new franchise goalie in Robin Lehner, trading for a new number-one center in Ryan O’Reilly, and selecting Eichel with the #2 pick.  Bring in a few depth free agents, including the highly sought-after Cody Franson.  Not to mention the debut of Evander Kane, acquired injured at the deadline.  The top six looks to put up big numbers, now that there’s actual talent to feed last year’s brightest spots, Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons.  Again, defense could be a concern, especially with several injuries in the preseason already making an impact, but man, it feels good to be a Sabres fan again.  At least right now, hope springs eternal.

How’s the rest of the league?  Honestly, it’s been such a long offseason I have no idea who plays where anymore, which teams look good, and which ones look not so good.  What follows here is a total crapshoot informed by blogs, podcasts, news, r/hockey, and general intuition.  I’ll be sure to see how things went here as April rolls around:

In the West:

Pacific:  Anaheim, San Jose, Calgary
Central:  Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville
Wild Cards:  Dallas, Vancouver

In the East:

Atlantic:  Tampa Bay, Montréal, Detroit
Metropolitan:  Pittsburgh, New York Islanders, Washington
Wild Cards:  New York Rangers, Florida (!)

Notables off the board:  Minnesota, Los Angeles, Ottawa

Draft lottery top five, no tanks allowed:  New Jersey, Arizona, Colorado, Carolina, Toronto

This honestly doesn’t look much different than last year’s list… then again, I don’t really know any better!  Teams that looked good last year are set to make a leap this year (Washington, Islanders, Calgary, Dallas), but others will continue to slip (Los Angeles, Boston).  Arizona will likely be the bottom feeder, going 0-fer in the preseason and looking like a shell of an AHL team.  Those new jerseys look slick on the ice though, and if they can harness the magic of the lottery balls (which determine the top 3 picks this year), they’ll land home-grown phenom Auston Matthews.  Toronto will continue to suck, and I will be laughing by proxy from across Lake Ontario.

I am so happy hockey is back again, as is tradition.  This year, though, I’m ready for some wins.  I want to go deaf from the First Niagara Center goal horn and raucous fans cheering their own team’s goals.  And the return of the ever present Rick Jeanneret, who, like the rest of Buffalo and Western New York, will have a reason to cry out with joy at every great play, every hit, every goal, every win.  It’s a great day to be a Sabres fan; let’s hope it’s a great day again tomorrow.