By Phil Hecken
Last Sunday we had the greatest day in the NFL — the Conference Championships — and next Sunday brings us the biggest spectacle: the Super Bowl. So, how do we fill the hours on the weekend between the Championships and the Bowl? Why, with the NHL All Star Game and the NFL Pro Bowl Game, of course.
OK, so their combined viewership won’t even approach either event (or even a late night showing of Poker Stars on ESPN), but still, it’s a big day when two of the biggest sports in North America hold their all star extravaganzas on the same day. For those who didn’t stay up really late to watch the Mens Finals of the Aussie Open (which repeats on ESPN2 this morning), and even those who did — it’s pretty much a nonstop day of non-contact sports. I’ll have a brief review/preview of the Pro Bowl in a bit, but first, I’m joined by the President of the Hockey Wing, the Premier of the Great White North, the Big Teebowski himself, Teebz, who is here to bring you his breakdown of the NHL’s big event. Teebz & I didn’t get together last year for the All Star review/preview, because there was no game. Not that you would have noticed. (I KID…I KID — there was no game because last year the NHL shut down for two weeks so the teams could send their players to the Olympics.)
So, when the NHL recently announced there’d be a “new” format for the game (kind of an old-school captains choose sides thingy), I knew Teebz would have something to say. And when we got our first look at the All Star Sweaters, I knew he wouldn’t be pleased. At least the good folks in Raleigh are excited about hosting, since we all know that’s Teebz’ favorite NHL town. But don’t let me spoil the review for you, I’ll let Teebz give you the rundown in his own words. In the words of Carl Weathers, “Here we go!”
The 2011 NHL All Star Game
It’s that magical time of year when hockey gets back to its purest form and… alright, who am I kidding?
The NHL All-Star Game goes today, and there’s something that has me excited about the game, but a number of things that do not. The NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft took place on Friday night, and we’ll look at possible uniform numbering situations as it has been reported that players will be allowed to wear their regular numbers regardless of who else may be wearing that number. And before we wrap up this little NHL All-Star Game primer, we’ll take a look at some of the more garish NHL All-Star Game jersey designs in a MotherVilker-style 3+1 view, and I’ll look back on a few of my favorite images from past All-Star Games. Let’s get this review underway using the Paul Lukas “is it good or is it stupid” test!
The NHL decided to allow Reebok to push the envelope in their designs this year for the two teams, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t like the look the NHL chose. There’s nothing good about random striping that cuts off at the seam of the sleeve and then randomly begins on the back of the sleeve and end at the elbow on the front. Honestly, what is the point of these random lines? If this is some new gradient technology that Reebok has come up with, we’ve been there, done that, moved on. Stop trying to add flair – it just doesn’t work! Random lines that do nothing for the aesthetics of the uniform are just dumb. STUPID.
Have you actually looked at the front of the jerseys? There’s just way too much stuff on the front with the NHL All-Star shield logo, the number below the collar, the captaincy designation, and the NHL shield logo. Does anyone actually look at these jerseys before signing off on them? Are there no prototypes made? The easiest solution is to remove the “feature” that the NHL apparently insists on having on the front – the number. The jersey would be much less busy, and would look fairly good if you overlook the random lines all over the sleeves. However, that number can’t be overlooked. STUPID.
The font used on the jersey for names and numbers is legible, so that’s a plus, but we run into a problem with the numbers on the back of Team Lidstrom’s jerseys. Again, what’s with the random lines? Do we really need these lines on the numbers? The rear numbers clearly do not match up with the sleeve and chest numbers as it appears those numbers don’t have lines, so this might be the first time in NHL history where back numbers don’t jive with TV numbers. So that automatically makes this STUPID.
Now you’re probably saying, “Teebz, you’re such a downer,” due to my three “stupid” ratings in a row. There are, however, some things I do like about the NHL All-Star jerseys.
For starters, I love the colour used by the teams. Have you noticed that the black on these jerseys is as minimal as can be? The blue is bold, and the home team is wearing white! While I’m not completely sold on the shade of red being used, the game should look good and the fans, for the first time in a long time, will be able to cheer on the good guys in white! GREAT!
I’m guessing that Team Staal will be skating left-to-right tomorrow because the NHL All-Star Game logo is on mirrored shoulders for the two teams. I get that the NHL wants the logo showing in promotional pictures during the ceremonial face-off and stuff, but will anyone not know that this is the NHL All-Star Game? I can’t call it dumb because it serves a purpose, but when you combine that with the individual team logo of each player on the opposite shoulder, this one becomes a PUSH.
Overall, not the worst-looking All-Star Game in history (we’ll see those in a second), but the NHL really needs to go back to their star design or a much more simplified design. The KISS rule always seems to work best.
Teebz’s All-Star 3+1
Not much needs to be said here, but these are certainly the worst looks seen at the NHL All-Star Games over the years. The “+1” will be my favorite NHL All-Star Game look of all-time. Enjoy!
2. 2003 NHL All-Star Game – Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference. The Western Conference jersey looks good in colour, but the TV numbers on the front left hip for these teams are useless. The Eastern Conference jersey looks like a ripoff of the Mighty Ducks’ jersey. Not a fan of these jerseys. They just don’t say “all-star”.
1. 2000 NHL All-Star Game – North America vs. World. Count the number of different jerseys you see. If you see four different jerseys, you’re right. The goaltenders for each team wore jerseys that were different from their teammates. Aren’t uniforms supposed to be, y’know, uniform? This is the dumbest idea seen at an NHL All-Star Game yet.
+1. 1992 NHL All-Star Game – Wales Conference vs. Campbell Conference. There is something to behold about the 1992 NHL All-Star Game: the colour, the throwback designs, and the overall aesthetic. These uniforms are absolutely gorgeous, and some NHL team should look at bringing a design like this to life.
There are also a number of pictures that make the NHL All-Star Game special. These are some that I’ve liked for various reasons.
There’s something to be said when you see NHL stars not giving out clichés for a living and just being themselves. That’s Grace Doan hugging her dad, Shane, at the 2009 NHL All-Star Game Skill Competition.
PK Subban caused himself a little uniform controversy when he skated out in Jeff Skinner’s Carolina Hurricanes uniform. Subban definitely won the crowd over with that move at this year’s Skills Competition.
Terence Kearns informed me that he likes when the players wear their gloves from their normal teams in contrast with the NHL All-Star jerseys. Here are Vyacheslav Fetisov, Steve Yzerman, and Brendan Shanahan doing just that at the 1997 NHL All-Star Game.
Everyone knows Bobby Orr wore #4, but the 1968 NHL All-Star Game saw Bobby don a new number as he skated in the game wearing #5!
That’s all for today! Enjoy the NHL All-Star Game from Raleigh, North Carolina!
Thanks, Teebz. I know I speak for everyone when I say how excited we are that All Star Hockey has finally returned.
And then…there’s the Pro Bowl
As the nineteen of you who actually care about the Pro Bowl know, it’s tonight. Yeah — the NFL Pro Bowl. Like last year, the NFL decided viewership might increase if they played it before the Super Bowl, and they’re doing it again this year. Unlike last year, when they played the game in Miami, this year they’ve returned the game to Hawai’i, where it belongs. I guess the players and their families/guests decided that an all-expense paid trip to South Beach wasn’t quite the same as an all-expense paid trip to Diamondhead.
Last year, ESPN had the game, but this year, it’s FOX’s turn — and it’s a prime time affair, beginning at 7:00 EST. Hopefully the beautiful weather will help a lot of us around the States (and in the rest of the world, too, actually) forget about the crummy winter it’s been for most of us.
The uniforms are new this year. The AFC will be wearing its usual red, and their jerseys will look like this. The NFC will be in white tops with blue sleeves. As far as jerseys go, these are not bad — certainly better than last year’s moderately annoying offerings. Looks like the AFC will be wearing white pants — even angry homeless man looks like he approves.
Of course, the uniforms, like the game, have gotten progressively worse since the first “current” Pro Bowl (1971) was played, right after the merger — although the NFC has always worn a majority blue and the AFC has always worn some form of red. As you may remember, I did a fairly extensive post on the Pro Bowl last year — so I won’t go into any of the history or facts and figures today — if you really care, feel free to read that at your leisure.
However, since I’ve now got this super-sweet new iMac — I spent a few hours yesterday creating what I hope will be the first of many multi-media projects for UW. Basically — it’s the 40 year history of the Pro Bowl since the merger — and you can see how the uniforms have gotten progressively worse. Some pretty good players have partaken in the spectacle — some you’ll know, some you’ll remember, and some you probably will ask yourself, “HE was in the Pro Bowl?”. Sit back for a few minutes and enjoy (I hope). Please let me know if you like this sort of thing and would like to see more of it on UW. Any criticism is also appreciated, as I hope to more fully explore different types of multi-media (hey, I think I learned something so far in J-school). Let me know what you think, good, bad or indifferent, k? Thanks.
So, without further ado — here’s a look back at 40 years of the Pro Bowl:
Best of Benchies
It’s Pro Bowl Sunday, a day I’m sure most of look forward to almost as much as the first day of school or the day taxes are due. But hey — the game’s back in Hawai’i and it’s a week before the Super Bowl, so people still have some interest, right? You know, sometimes the defense just isn’t all it should be in a given game. Need to be careful in such circumstances not to let your mind go a little wild. Just ask Mick.
(And if that’s a tad too small to read, here’s that Benchies in glorious full size color.)
Lots and lots of tweaks keep pouring in, so obviously this is a popular feature. A bunch new to get to today. If you have a tweak, change or concept for any sport, send them my way.
Remember, if possible, try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per tweak. You guys have been great a keeping to that, and it’s much appreciated!
Got a big set of tweaks today…so lets get right into it:
Starting off the show is Kevin Clifford, with a BFBS USC tweak:
Hello, my name is Kevin Clifford, and after seeing the tweaks about BYU uni’s, i remebered how sweet it would be if USC wore black home uniforms. I checked out what stores have produced and made my own tweaks, and this is what i came up with.
Next up is Alex Acosta, who has a whole set of WLAF (that’s the World League of American Football, kids), and it’s pretty cool:
As every spring football nut knows, 2011 would’ve been the 21st season of the original WLAF. In light of all the Nike ProCombat mania as of late, I have created some ProCombat concepts of every WLAF and NFLE team (in alphabetical order).
Birmingham Fire: Similar to what they did wear, albeit flames on pant leg.
As a bonus, I’ve created a handful of fictional teams that could be part of another WLAF incarnation:
Birmingham Hammers: (WARNING: Intense gradients) If I brought back the league and had to pick between the two Fire teams I’d pick Rhein.
Los Angeles Villains: An ideal rival for the old Surge.
Mexico City Aztecs: A team that should’ve been.
Portland Pranksters: A silly name, yes, but something fresh and different.
Thank you for your time.
Finally, we have Alex Cloutier, who is back with the Dolphins and the Falcons:
Miami Dolphins: I gave the dolphins a complete makeover, lessening the amount of teal that they use was mostly what I was aiming for… but in the end they look kind of like Syracuse…
Atlanta Falcons: With the falcons I got a little wild. 3 Purely Mono colored unis. (yes even 3 different helmets)
That’s it for the tweak show this week. Back next week with more.
And with that, we’re done here. Please don’t tell me whether Djokovic or Murray won the Australian Open, since I’ll be watching the replay this morning. No, seriously. Big thanks to Teebz for the NHL section, and I hope you folks enjoyed that Pro Bowl “video” — please do give me some feedback — good or bad. I know it won’t get you to watch the game, but it may remind you that it was once, and could be again, a good looking game. It’s only a week till the Super Bowl, and then it’s on to pitchers and catchers. Can we just skip the rest of the winter, please?
Wilt Chamberlain hated being called “Wilt the Stilt”, he preferred the “Big Dipper” and his family even called him “Dippy”. On the other hand, maybe “The man with 10,000 notches in his belt” is more appropriate. — Mike Edgerly