Sunshine State Branding Updates

Both of Florida's professional hockey franchises are planning makeovers for 2011. And new information is trickling out bit by bit. Obviously, we have to start with my team.

The Tampa Bay Lightning initially planned to unveil new logos and uniforms for the 2011-12 season on Monday. They wisely put those plans on the back burner, however, when two local police officers were killed. Now they're gearing up to try again next week.

On Sunday, the St. Petersburg Times was the first to report on details of the coming changes. Specifically, the Bolts will drop black and silver as part of their color scheme, which has been unchanged since the club's inception in 1992.

Times writer Damian Cristodero explained that the new home sweaters would be blue with nothing but a big white bolt of lightning on the front. In a blog update posted Tuesday, he clarified, saying the logo will still have a circular background. The road jersey will incorporate a TAMPA BAY wordmark.

Now the Tampa Tribune is getting in on the action. Tony Fabrizio reports that there will be a "series of announcements next week" in which the new branding efforts will be revealed as well as plans for improvements to the St. Pete Times Forum.

Fabrizio says the Lightning will unveil a revised logo, going on to write:

Based on what employees have been told, here's at least part of what the Lightning have planned:

New blue and white uniforms with blue rather than black home jerseys (similar to the current blue alternate jerseys). There's an updated lightning bolt, and the name Tampa Bay will only appear on the white road jerseys. The jerseys will have ties at the front of the collars.

I'm jealous of Lightning employees right now. For so many reasons, really, but this is just the latest.

They just updated the logo and uniforms in 2007, which wasn't a huge deviation from what they've worn since 1992. I'm not sure how much you can change the logo so it sounds like the color scheme will be the biggest shock to the system. That might take some time to get used to.

"The Panther" / NHL.comAs for the Florida Panthers,  I'm irked to say that the useless NHL Guardian Project may be newsworthy today.

Don't worry, it's still entirely useless, but it does indicate to us that the Cats are probably counting on keeping out the red moving forward.

As you can see, "The Panther" is all about the blue and gold and he's wearing Florida's third jersey crest rather than the leaping cat primary mark — which is clearly not long for this earth. It's being replaced all over.

I want to thank Carlos for pointing this out to me — as I'm trying desperately to ignore the "guardians" at all costs. Also a tip of the hat to Joseph for always being the first to email in anything Lightning-related.

I should express a concern regarding the color changes that appear to be taking place in Tampa and Sunrise. It sounds as if the originality these clubs have had from the beginning is about to go by the wayside.

Yes, the NHL already has a blue/white team in the Maple Leafs. And they have two blue/gold teams in the Sabres and Blues. Before the Florida teams arrived, nobody was black-blue-silver or red-blue-gold (since the '70s, anyway — and the Blues don't count).

Anyway, that's just the tip of the iceberg on the blue and gold. We've been hearing unsettling things about the Predators' changes for 2011-12. But I'll save that for later.

In the meantime, enjoy the All-Star events this weekend and brace yourself for what's to come next week.