Even as the NHL’s popularity and media profile have done their death spiral into the crapper, I’ve continued to treat hockey as the fourth major sport. But it’s getting harder and harder to do that as each miserable new uniform design gets unveiled. There two more yesterday. One at a time:
• Avalanche. Chalk up another one for the apron string template. It’s pretty much the same design as the Panthers, right down to the idiotic Ree-box on the back. And it’s not like I can’t deal with any kind of modern hockey treatment — I still say the Blue Jackets new uni is really sharp. Over on the Chris Creamer board, someone whipped up a Photoshop version of how the Columbus approach could have worked for the Avs — so much better than what we’re all now stuck looking at. (And in case you’re wondering: Back when the Panthers originally unveiled their design, I mentioned that there would be another team, which I couldn’t name, using precisely the same design. This is not that team, which means there’s yet another iteration of this crappy template still to come.)
• Maple Leafs. Simple to a fault. No extraneous piping, thank the lordy, but also no hemline striping, no shoulder patches, no contrasting shoulder yoke, no visual interest of any kind except for those sleeve stripes. I’m okay with the road version, since there’s inherent contrast in the white-blue-white sequence of the jersey, breezers, and socks. But the home design’s solid blue cries out for hemline sripes, or breezer stripes, or something to break up to solid wall of cyan. Otherwise, we’re essentially left with this. Meanwhile, that rounded shirttail looks really, um, suave.
In addition, there were sneak peeks of the new designs from the Ducks (whose official unveiling is slated for today) and the Sabres (Saturday), but I’ll hold off on those until I see the full treatment.
I can already hear some of you saying, “Lukas, you’re impossible to please. You say the Avs’ design is too busy, too cluttered, and then you slam the Leafs for being the exact opposite.” Okay, so maybe I am hard to please, but there’s something to be said a middle ground between super-busy and super-minimalist. A few teams, like the Blue Jackets, have gotten this right. Most of the others have blown it.
Old Glory Update: Yesterday I reported that LaDainian Tomlinson and Willie Parker had both played without the American flag decal on their helmets (Tomlinson just for one game, Parker for more than a full season). It didn’t occur to me that there might be more than a coincidental connection between those two players, but now I’ve gotta wonder after seeing this article (great find by Doug Leake).
Meanwhile, as I also mentioned yesterday, I contacted the NFL to inquire about the flag’s status as part of the league’s uniform specs. Here’s the response I got from a league spokesperson:
The American flag decal on the helmet is a part of the NFL uniform specs. If it was not on Willie Parker’s helmet, it will be moving forward. (I spoke with the Steelers. They said that if it was not on there, it will be.)
I have a feeling this means at least three people are now gonna be annoyed at me: Willie Parker, the Steelers’ equipment manager, and the NFL spokesguy. New slogan: Uni Watch, the Official Pain in the Ass™ of the National Football League.
Uni Watch News Ticker: You know those Optimus Prime helmets the Giants have been wearing? Bill Blewett thinks he’s found a prototype version. … Yesterday I referred to USF’s memorial decals but didn’t have a photo. Now, thanks to Randy Miller, I do. … Vince found this video of Canucks players weighing in on the team’s new uniforms. … Really interesting photo submitted by Jeremy Brahm, who sent along this shot of Japan Railways East’s uniform. Never seen text on the pants like that. And I love the “JR” chest logo. … Also from Jeremy: a very baggy pullover. … Amazing old youth football team photo from Doug Mooney. Check out the shoes on No. 14! … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Aaron Rowand wearing “Beer Pong Champ” armbands. And if there’s such a thing as a beer pong uniform, I’m not sure I wanna know. … You probably know that former 49ers lineman Steve Wallace wore the ProCap helmet attachment. What you might not have known — and what I didn’t know myself until William Weir brought me up to speed yesterday — is that the ProCap didn’t hold up too well under game action. … Did you know that the Library of Congress has a huge baseball card collection? I didn’t, until Bo Baize mentioned it to me yesterday. Loads of great stuff — look here. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ran an item on the ten best Georgia high school football helmets (including the Johnson-Savannah Atom Smashers, who wear “nuclear orange”). Details here. … The New Era folks have officially lost their fucking minds (as spotted over on the Chris Creamer boards). … Good catch by Greg Riffenburgh, who writes: ” I found this picture of Sweden’s Caroline Seger wearing two different colored shoes at the Women’s World Cup in China. The shoes are Nike’s Mercurial Vapor III.” … The Titans’ light-blue yoke tapers down the sleeve — except on offensive lineman Michael Roos’s jersey, where the light-blue panel seems to bulge and get wider on the sleeve. He’s at far left in this photo (good spot by Raleigh McCool). … The Dodgers have unveiled a 50th-anniversary logo (that’s 50 years in L.A., natch), which I assume will be used as a sleeve patch next year. … Logo creep alert from David Cline, who says, “Can’t we ogle the babes without having to be subjected to the swoosh?” … I’ll be spending tomorrow afternoon at Giants stadium, where I’ll be interviewing Jints equipment manager Joe Skiba. If you have any questions you’d like me to pass along, let me know.