Classic Look on Tap for Lightning

We recently learned from Reebok that the Tampa Bay Lightning will be one of a number of teams getting new uniforms in 2011. But according to a St. Petersburg Times article, maybe we should be expecting a complete rebrand!

In this morning's paper, Bolts beat writer Damian Cristodero confirmed that the team has submitted paperwork to start the ball rolling on uniform changes for the 2011-12 season.

Also today, in his Lightning Strikes blog, Cristodero revealed new details and speculation about the upcoming changes, including dropping black from the color scheme and the possibility of a new logo. But rather then paraphrasing, I'll let him tell you:

Here is what you might expect when the uniforms are unveiled, perhaps as soon as this week:

The primary colors apparently will be blue (close to what is used now with the third jersey) and white. Sounds as if the color black, which has been the team's prominent color, and the silver trim will be gone. The logo on the home jerseys is expected to be just a prominent lightning bolt without the words Tampa Bay that are used now.

The road jerseys are expected to have the lightning bolt and the words Tampa Bay, though no immediate word on how the design will look. It is believed there also will be the classic strings at the front of the collar.

It also is unclear whether the third jersey will be retained as its color is believed to be so close to that of the home, dark jersey. Anyway, sounds as if GM Steve Yzerman had a lot of input into the details or at least into the idea of trying to create a classic look that will endure for a long time.

I completely agree with that assessment. It indeed sounds as if Yzerman is trying to make the Lightning look like the Red Wings — only blue instead of red. Not that I have a problem with that. One thing the team has never had is a look that will "endure for a long time."

As a Lightning fan, I'm skeptical about the idea of dropping the black and silver. I know the Wings have gotten away with nothing more than red and white for decades, but I'm not sure a monochrome look is the best thing for the Bolts. But I trust in Stevie Y.

I know it's all conjecture, but I'm a fan of almost everything Cristodero has written. The simple design, the lace-up collar, and the idea of dumping the "BOLTS" third jersey. I'm also eager to see a crest that doesn't have any text on it for the first time in 19 years — though I'm happy for the road jersey to still say Tampa Bay (as long as we steer clear of the Stars' look).

However, what shocked me about this article is where Cristodero says that the new uniforms could be unveiled as early as this week! As we know, teams usually wait until the summer to launch new sweaters, if for no other reason than to keep selling current inventory.

And this is also worth pointing out:

Neither the NHL nor the Lightning, which last changed its logo before the 2007-08 season and added a third jersey for 2008-09, would confirm changes are coming. But it makes sense a new ownership group, with principal Jeff Vinik and minority owner and CEO Tod Leiweke, would want to rebrand the franchise.

Announcements from the team are expected soon, perhaps as early as this week, concerning business and fan initiatives and what is believed a renovation of the St. Pete Times Forum.

Sounds like things are getting exciting in Tampa! Obviously, I'll be keeping a close eye on all this. But I think I may have picked the wrong year to leave Florida.