NHL JerseyWatch 2014: June Edition


Let's have a new edition of NHL JerseyWatch 2014! I can't think of a better way to get back to blogging. A lot has happened in the four months since the last update. In this edition, I'm breaking all the details down into "facts" and "rumors" — there are plenty of both!

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Ducks

THE FACTS
In their 2014-15 retailer catalog, Reebok listed Anaheim's home and road sweaters as "TBD" — foreshadowing changes on the horizon.

Eric Stephens, Orange County Register, tweeted Dec. 3 that the "plan is for [the] current Ducks third jersey to become [the] main home sweater, perhaps next year."

THE RUMORS
In addition to the promotion of the third jersey — which debuted in 2010 — a new white version will be introduced for the road. And we could get our first look in just a few days.

On June 21, HFBoards user "Ducks DVM" reported on the team's open house event held for season ticket holders last week. He wrote briefly:

No more "Ducks" on jerseys. White jersey will be unveiled at draft.

Makes sense to me. Remember, the NHL Draft starts Friday night.

Also intriguing is the artwork on goalie Frederik Andersen's new lid, revealed June 17. Designer Dave Gunnarsson said:

When you're a goalie from Denmark in the NHL, Denmark the land of LEGO, of course a LEGO goalie is helping you building a LEGO wall on the mask.

Not sure a LEGO wall would do much against a slapshot but take a closer look at LEGO man's jersey. It's orange and features the classic Mighty Duck front and center.

This has led many to wonder whether it's a sneak peek of a new Ducks third jersey. My honest guess is it isn't. In a Q&A with the team website, Andersen said:

I think it was originally meant for the Stadium Series game, but [Gunnarsson] went with a different design for that and decided to save the LEGO idea for later. 

In other words, the 2014 Stadium Series jersey probably dictated LEGO man's palette. The Mighty Ducks logo, however, I can't explain.

But there's still an open question. Will the Ducks have a new third this year? As the Magic 8 Ball would say, don't count on it. From a marketing standpoint, it makes more sense to introduce one jersey at a time.

That said, I might expect a shiny new alternate uniform from the Ducks by 2015 or 2016.

Don't count on an orange third jersey quite yet. — Photo from @davidofdaveart via Instagram

Don't count on an orange third jersey quite yet. — Photo from @davidofdaveart via Instagram

UPDATE · Jun 27 · The new look is official! The Ducks unveiled their new home and road jerseys on the morning of the draft.

Among the changes to the original third jersey design are the new Stadium Series style collar laces and numbers outlined in orange.

Coyotes

THE FACTS
The Phoenix Coyotes will be officially renamed the Arizona Coyotes on Friday, June 27 at the NHL Draft. Also from Monday's press release:

As part of the name change, the Coyotes are introducing a new shoulder patch (alternate mark) for their home and road jerseys in 2014-15. The Coyotes are also unveiling a new wordmark for this season.
The rest of the Coyotes uniform will not change in 2014-15.

Craig Morgan, FOX Sports Arizona, reported in January that the Coyotes would bring back their 1996 jersey for a special throwback night next season.

Photo origin unknown

This photo of a pant shell produced by Warrior appears to be confirmation. Check out the retro desert dog.

THE RUMORS
By the way, what the team's statement did not address was the black third jersey. Will it stay? Not according to Sarah McLellan, Arizona Republic, who says the thirds will be phased out. However, she doesn't specify a timeframe.

In the winter, Reebok told retailers that the Coyotes' third was "TBD" for 2014-15 which may denote it's being retired. My bet is we probably won't see it next season. Could mean extra opportunities for the throwback, right?

Looking down the road, Morgan and McLellan both reported that redesigned home and road jerseys are a possibility in Arizona as early as 2015-16. But I don't expect the logo to change.

Tyler Baldwin, 3TV in Phoenix, on the other hand, seems to think it's a possibility.

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Kings

THE FACTS
The Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings will have a new sweater in their arsenal before the end of 2014.

The team has been wearing their "Forum blue" (purple) retro jerseys on special occasions since 2010-11. The sweaters throw back to the club's formation in 1967.

Starting next season, the team will switch to the gold version of those early jerseys. The change was revealed on March 12 by LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen, a writer for the Kings' website.

This is what the Kings' new retro uniforms will look like next season.

In Rosen's report, Kings exec Luc Robitaille weighed in on the delay in debuting the new colors.

As Robitaille shared with LA Kings Insider, the process of incorporating new jerseys is a two-year process that includes gaining league approval, and then having the jerseys made. As such, the first Legends Night in 2014-15 won’t be held until the second or third week in December.

I'm sure it'll be well worth the wait.

THE RUMORS
The purple may be gone for now, but there's a big year coming up soon. The 2016-17 season will mark the 100th anniversary of the NHL as well as the 50th anniversary of the Kings.

I have little doubt we'll be seeing more than a few flavors of retro jerseys make an appearance during that season.

By the way, as the NHL Draft nears, don't forget this gem from four years ago. Could it happen again?

Islanders

THE FACTS
Chris Botta, Sports Business Journal, tweeted Dec. 31 that we'll "be seeing more of [the Islanders' Stadium Series jersey] in coming seasons." He followed up saying that it "or something very close to it, will be the Islanders' third jersey by 2015."

Get ready to see more of this, Isles fans.

Three months later, Isles' much-maligned black third jersey was officially retired. It made its curtain call on March 23 in a 2-0 shutout win over Columbus.

THE RUMORS
Now the only real question is whether the Islanders will go without a third jersey in 2014-15 or expedite the timetable on bringing back the Stadium Series sweater.

Either way, this will be their final season in Uniondale. The Isles will skate in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center starting in 2015-16.

And don't forget that just last fall CEO Brett Yormark said the "new third jersey in Brooklyn will be black and white." Has that changed? Time will tell.

UPDATE · Jun 24 · And we already have our answer. It has not changed. A piece just published Monday from Arthur Staple, Newsday, cleared that up.

Expect a new third jersey that looks more like the black-and-white Brooklyn Nets jerseys; Yormark said he's met with the Adidas/Reebok apparel makers to start the third jersey design process.

I have no doubt the Islanders will be part of NHL JerseyWatch 2015.

Senators

THE FACTS
Responding to fan questions on Twitter back in April, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk discussed jersey options for next season.

Nevill Carney — whose name you may recognize from his Concepts page contributions —  asked specifically whether the Sens' Heritage jerseys could be promoted to home and road uniforms.

Melnyk didn't answer directly but did say they are looking into using them during the 2014-15 season. The black jersey is already the go-to third, but perhaps there's also an opportunity to use the beige Heritage Classic version on occasion. 

THE RUMORS
In recent months, retail discounts have raised questions about the future of Ottawa's red and white jerseys. But a sale isn't always indicative of a uniform redesign. In fact, it hardly ever is.

While I'm not expecting anything major for the Senators in 2014-15, they're worth keeping an eye on in the seasons to come.

Flyers

THE FACTS
Reebok's catalog suggested the possibility of a new third jersey for Philadelphia. The alternate was listed as "TBD" while the team hasn't had a third since 2010.

THE RUMORS
If the Flyers really are going to have a new third jersey next season, they've done an extremely good job of keeping quiet. I have not seen details reported anywhere else since January.

That tells me it might not be happening after all. But I'm not ready to call it just yet.

Philly's last third jersey was introduced in 2008 and became their home sweater the following season.

The Flyers used a black jersey from 2007 to 2010. Could they be planning to try black again next season? Stay tuned for updates.

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Penguins

THE FACTS
Rob Rossi, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, reported June 9 the Penguins will bring back their classic yellow in the form of a new third jersey.

The Penguins expect to introduce an alternate jersey to be worn for select games next season. One confirmable detail about the third jersey is the return of Pittsburgh Gold to the team's uniforms for the first time since 2001-02 season.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said he has ordered yellow leg pads and gloves to be worn when the Penguins' don the alternate jerseys.

This only adds to a previous report from Rossi and Josh Yohe on Dec. 13.

There are tentative plans for a new alternate jersey that could debut next season. A design is not finalized, but under consideration is a jersey similar to the ones the Penguins wore during their 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup runs.

It's the news Pens fans have been dying to hear!

THE RUMORS
What's still unknown is whether the new sweater will be an exact replica of one the black or yellow jerseys worn by Pittsburgh in the 1980s and early 90s. There are certainly a few for them to choose from.

Believe it or not, I'm expecting a yellow jersey. Decades from now, we may look back on this era with some eye rolling, but yellow has been on the upswing in recent years.

The Bruins got the trend started with their 2010 Winter Classic threads — the NHL's first gold jersey since Boston's original alternate was retired in 2006. In 2011, the Nashville Predators introduced their gold home jersey. The Sabres launched a controversial gold third last fall. And as you saw above, the Kings are switching to gold for their Legends Night look.

Everybody's investing in gold right now. Why shouldn't Pittsburgh?

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Blues

THE FACTS
Reebok listed new home and road jerseys for St. Louis back in January. Lending further credence to this was a question posed by a reporter to the team owner.

Jeremy Rutherford, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrapped up a Q&A with Blues owner Tom Stillman on the subject, published June 2.

Q: There’s been fairly strong speculation that the Blues will change their uniforms for the 2014-15 season. Is that true?
Stillman: Yeah, I think we should break some news right here. We’re going back to the clown uniforms (with the diagonal red stripes that the Blues wore in the mid-1990s).
Q: Your smile tells us that you’re kidding about that. So is it true? Will there be a uniform change?
Stillman: Let’s talk about that another time.

Can't say I care much for Stillman's sense of humor. That's just downright mean. But seriously though, he sure didn't deny it, did he?

THE RUMORS
All right, new sweaters are on the way in St. Louis. So what do they look like? When we will see them? These are questions we can't answer yet. All I know is I'll be watching the draft on Friday just in case.

Given the current trends in hockey uniform design, the Blues are probably giving up their apron-string appearance for something a little more timeless. Prior to their Reebok overhaul, St. Louis had perhaps the best non-Original Six uniforms in the NHL.

If I had to put money on it, I'd say we see something more traditional this fall. Maybe it'll be a better fit with their superb third jersey.

Rumor has it this blue is lighter than it should be. Or can we blame it on computers?

Rumor has it this blue is lighter than it should be. Or can we blame it on computers?

By the way, another rumor floating around is that the Blues leaked a new, recolored version of their logo in the press release announcing their new CEO on June 16.

The claim is that the light blue is much lighter than it should be, not unlike the shade the team wore during the 1960s and 70s.

However, given the issues with varying digital color spaces and CMYK to RGB conversions, this sort of color shift is hardly uncommon on the web. And while the light blue may be lighter, the dark blue and yellow are as well. It's just not as obvious.

In-house graphic artists usually catch this sort of thing, but it is the summer and a lot of those jobs are seasonal. Or maybe somebody was on vacation.

Yes, it's entirely possible the Blues' next jersey will be a lighter shade of blue, but I wouldn't call this graphic the smoking gun.

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Lightning

THE FACTS
The Tampa Bay Lightning will debut a brand new third jersey next season. This has been revealed through the announcements of special season ticket packages for 2014-15 — which began on TV back in March.

The above graphic is the first hint at a possible color for the new sweater. Are the Bolts finally bringing back the black?

According to reporter Erik Erlendsson, Tampa Tribune, it's unlikely we'll get a look at the new threads before September.

THE RUMORS
At this point, it's probably beyond a rumor that the jersey will be black. It certainly won't be blue. The home jersey is blue and the Lightning just retired a blue third.

That in mind, there was this 8-year-old prototype jersey that showed up on ebay back in April. It was black. But don't worry. It was consigned to the scrap heap for a reason.

Will the Lightning dig into their history for a throwback jersey from the 90s? Or will they buck the retro trend in favor of a fresh new design?

2015 Winter Classic

THE FACTS
On Sunday, the NHL announced the 2014-15 regular season schedule, including — at last — the Washington Capitals' opponent for the 2015 NHL Winter Classic.

The Caps will host the Chicago Blackhawks on New Year's Day in each team's second appearance in the big outdoor event.

The Blackhawks hosted in the second Winter Classic in 2009 at Wrigley Field. The Capitals faced the Penguins in 2011 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.

The nation's capital was awarded the event last September. The new Winter Classic logo, venue and uniform designs will be revealed at a later date, according to the NHL.

THE RUMORS
The best part of any Winter Classic for many Icethetics readers is the sweaters. It's a chance to see teams to dig into their histories.

In 2011, the Caps wore their original white jersey from the 1970s. It wouldn't surprise me to see them simply go with the red version this time around.

And imagine the possibility of white pants! They were a blip in Caps history but will never be forgotten.

As for the Blackhawks, they had a great jersey in 2009 which they later adopted as an alternate briefly. Maybe they could go back to their very first black and white jersey from 1926?

I'm excited to see where both teams end up!

Stadium Series

THE FACTS
After a winter packed with six outdoor games, the NHL will scale back to just one during the 2014-15 season — the Winter Classic in D.C. Clearly the 2014 Stadium Series didn't get the kind of response the league was hoping for. But that doesn't mean they won't try again.

Michael Russo, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, said June 21 the Minnesota Wild will host a game at Target Field in 2016. But various logistical problems kept it from happening in 2015. An interesting aside from Russo:

Personally, I still hear there's more to this Stadium Series thing that has nothing to do with the Wild and that's why the Stadium Series games were scaled down this year to one. Next year, I'm told we're going to see more than one game again.

If the Wild end up hosting the Stars for that game, as intended, who gets to wear the North Stars jerseys?

THE RUMORS
On June 2, Kevin Kurz, CSN Bay Area, reported the San Jose Sharks would be among the teams hosting a Stadium Series game in 2014-15. That seems to be wrong unless the league is holding back on an announcement. But like the Wild, they should be high on the list for 2015-16.

UPDATE · Jun 24 · Or maybe I'm jumping the gun. On Sunday, Eric Duhatschek, The Globe and Mail, said that the Sharks are still planning to play outside.

It is believed that a Feb. 21 date between the Kings and the Sharks will also be played outdoors in the Bay Area, after the NHL successfully pulled off an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium last January.

Perhaps the league is indeed holding back on an announcement to firm up the details. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

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2015 All-Star Game

THE FACTS
After a failed attempt in 2013, the Columbus Blue Jackets will finally host the NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 25, 2015.

The logo has been around in some form since the original announcement 2012. A decision on the format and jersey designs has yet to be announced.

THE RUMORS
Presumably, the NHL will continue to employ the fantasy draft format introduced in 2011, where two captains choose their teams.

A new jersey design was introduced for that game and was recycled in 2012. They're blue and red — a color palette that would fit nicely in Ohio's capital city.

However, there's been no official word yet regarding jerseys. So stay tuned.

One thing we should keep an eye out for this Friday at the draft is the Blue Jackets' updated jersey patch. The 2013 version was on the jerseys given to draftees in 2012. Look for 2014 draftees to wear the 2015 version. (Did you follow all that?)

The Blue Jackets introduced their 2013 All-Star Game patch at the 2012 NHL Draft. Expect to see the 2015 version this Friday.


Final Thoughts

At this point, the most exciting date on the calendar in the near term is Friday. The NHL draft opens on June 27 and with it we'll be treated to at least one new sweater — possibly more — as well as the renaming of the team from Arizona.

These JerseyWatch articles are always tricky. Decisions have been made in some room somewhere but we're not privy to them just yet. There's a lot of speculation out there but I aim to do my best to separate truth from fiction where possible. History has shown Icethetics' NHL JerseyWatch to be pretty reliable. Hoping it continues!

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