Paul here, making a rare Saturday appearance. Just in time for holiday shopping season — what a coincidence! — two NHL teams have just unveiled their new third jerseys. Let’s take a look-see, beginning with the Blue Jackets, who unveiled their new jersey on Thanksgiving Eve:
This strikes me as an okay hockey uniform but not a particularly good Blue Jackets uniform. Very odd that they didn’t include any red in the design, and the circular crest is nice but feels like a lazy default. In fact, the whole uniform feels too familiar, and here’s why: It follow’s the NHL’s recent alt-jersey formula.
Meanwhile, the square number font veers into “What were they thinking?” territory and the slogan on the inner collar is an “Everyone else is doing it so why not us?” gimmick that has now officially become annoying. But the real kicker is the “JHM” memorial on the back collar, described in a press release like so:
To honor Blue Jackets founder John H. McConnell during the team’s 10th season, the initials JHM adorn the back of the neckline. The JHM edition of the jersey will only be worn by the team during the 2010-11 season. For jerseys sold at retail, the JHM will appear only on the initial production run, making it a true collectors’ edition. (Emphasis mine.)
How wonderful that Mr. McConnell’s death could be leveraged into a “collectors’ edition” jersey. Ka-ching! While I could be wrong, I believe this marks the first time a team has explicitly used a uniform memorial as a retail sales tool — a new low in marketing (or maybe just in American culture, period).
Next up: the Ducks, who unveiled their new jersey when they took the ice for last night’s game against the Blackhawks:
I love the web-”D” crest — been wanting them to go this route for years now. At first I thought the orange socks were a huge mistake, although now they’re growing on me. Definite mistakes: the hideous side panels, the yoke outline, and the bookended shoulder patches. All in all, a mixed bag. Want to learn more about the design process behind this one? Look here and here.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Twins have quietly unveiled a new road alternate jersey. It’s fine, although I can’t say it excites me one way or the other. … A new basketball company called Point 3, which is devoted to innovative basketball apparel, is now open for business. … Hockey people have apparently been using the term “pick up our socks” for years and nobody’s noticed — until now (with thanks to Tris Wykes). … Although it’s come up in the comments, I’ve neglected to mention that Virginia Tech added truncated stripes to their white helmets last weekend. “A buddy of mine works in the equipment room and said they cut all the stripes by hand to get that look,” says Clark Ruhland. “It was just something different they wanted to do.” … Several people had mentioned to me that Owen Schmitt lost a big chunk of helmet paint during Sunday night’s Jints/Iggles game, and now Ryan Perkins has finally supplied a screen shot. … Nike is staging contests around the country to allow high schools to design their own Amateur Gamesmanship uniforms (with thanks to Brady Neal). … The Ravens will wear black jerseys on Sunday — and maybe black pants too. … Another college hoops team wearing gray at home: San Jose State. … Lots of photos of the Timberwolves’ new black alternate jersey here. … I’m intrigued by these socks. … Jeff Barak tipped me wise to the Bulldog Vintage blog, which includes a fair amount of sports-related content, including this Bears media guide and this old Princeton tee. … Remember the Fort Worth Cats strike-zone uni that we discussed a few months back? Mark Penxa used it as the basis of this awesome painting, which he was kind enough to give to me. Thanks, buddy! … New hoops uniforms for Rutgers, and they’re NNOB too (with thanks to Ryan Devine) … Lebron James apparently has a new logo, if you care about that kind of thing. … Letting your kid play football after he suffered a brain tumor doesn’t seem like the brightest idea. But at least it gives me an excuse to mention the special helmet that this kid wears. … Mmm, love this Pitt patch (nice find by Chris LaHaye). … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Check out the massive helmet numbers worn by Louisville in the late 1950s. … Lebron James makes his return to Cleveland next Thursday. And if you’re planning on wearing something like this, you can think again. … Check out these fascinating TV numbers. Never seen them split by a stripe like that. Anyone know if the single-digit numbers were centered over the stripe or just on one side of it? (Rare non-rugby contribution from Eric Bangeman.) … Truly awful third jersey for the Portland Winterhawks (with thanks to Dan Kaempff). … Very unusual situation in Wednesday night’s New Mexico/Northwood basketball game, as Northwood’s starting five were numbered 1 through 5. “In 19 years in this business, I’ve never seen a starting lineup in numerical order like this,” says New Mexico communications director Frank Mercogliano. “The best part is their numbers matched their positions, so No. 1 was the one and so on, with the center or five-spot being No. 5. Amazing.” … Sensational chain-stitched Del Monte logo on this old bowling shirt. … New dress code for New York City cabbies. Interestingly, the article states that the earliest NYC cabbies “wore immaculate uniforms modeled after cadet clothes at West Point.” … Minnesota and North Dakota State went color-vs.-color on Wednesday (as noted by Peter Fischbach). … Speaking of color vs. color, Rob McLaughlin reports that the historic Boston Latin vs. Boston English game on Thanksgiving Day — the 124th annual edition of that rivalry — was a dark-on-dark disaster. “It led to terrible confusion on the opening kickoff, which English took back for a TD,” says Rob. … Brock Towler points out that the recent UNC/Minnesota hoops game had an unusual wrinkle: Each team had a player with a roman numeral in his NOB. That’s Larry Drew II of UNC and Ralph Sampson III of Minnesota. … Two Cleveland Indians cap notes from Kenny Crookston: First, check out this partial scan of the Tribe’s 1973 team portrait. Looks like the coaches and skipper in the front row had piping on their caps. I was not aware of the Indians using special caps for their coaching staff — anyone else..? And second, Kenny recently bought this 1918 Indians recplica cap from American Needle. See how the stripe extends below the C? That lower stripe wasn’t there back in the day, so Kenny used an Xacto knife to remove it. ’Course, the C still looks too big (at least ot me), but that’s not as easy to fix. … As you know, same-numbered college football teammates can’t appear on the field at the same time. This occasionally causes problems when a defensive and offensive player with the same number both need to be on the field for a special teams play. When that happens, one of the players usually grabs an NNOB jersey with a different number and puts it on over his regular jersey. Susan Freeman caught two Texas A+M players doing that on Thursday. You can see their real jerseys’ NOBs peeking through the temporary jerseys. … Still more color vs. color: Michigan vs. Syracuse last night. … Anyone know why Texas QB Garrett Gilbert would have “aTm” (i.e., Texas A&M) written on his wristband? (Good spot by Andy McNeel.) … Major, major find by Bruce Menard, who found this 1958 photo of all-time St. Louis all-stars. From left to right, that’s Dizzy Dean, Frankie Frisch, Rogers Hornsby, George Sisler, Stan Musial, Marty Marion, Terry Moore, Jesse Haines, Ken Williams, Jack Tobin, Hank Severeid, and Bob O’Farrell. Amazing shot.