Today, the New York Rangers officially unveiled their 2012 Winter Classic sweater. And I'm happy to report that every so-called "leak" along the way proved wrong, leaving us all surprised this afternoon. For the most part.
While no fan concept or Chinese knock-off scored on the details, some of the larger, more obvious ideas are on display here. For example, the jersey is vintage white — in other words, not white. It's got a tie-up collar and a traditional striping pattern.
It's a very simple design but there's something about the oversized stripes that make the players almost look like kids. Not sure if that was intentional. But if it was, it's kind of brilliant. Part of the draw of the outdoor game is to recapture that feeling of children playing on the pond in tattered old sweaters. The vintage white adds to that, making the jerseys look unwashed.
Many are likely to cry foul at the notion of the Rangers wearing the shield on their chest. For two short seasons between 1976 and 1978, the team stepped away from the text-only sweaters they'd worn for 50 years. And then of course in the late '90s they introduced the Lady Liberty jerseys, which were quite a hit. But other than that, they've basically used the same uniform design since, well, forever.
Much like the Boston Bruins' Winter Classic jersey from 2010, the Rangers' 2012 edition isn't based on any single design from their history, but is rather a combination of elements from the past spruced up with some new ideas.
Despite that, you have to ask yourself, when you look at it, do you immediately know it's a Rangers jersey? And I'd have to say yes. Regardless of seeing the crest, how can you call this anything but a Rangers sweater? Could be the colors. Could be the shoulders. Whatever it is, it works.
Time for links. In their official release, the Rangers credit the design to a partnership with Reebok. Our friends at the Hockey Uniform Database have the Rangers' complete sweater history on display for you. And you can find a few more pictures of the new threads on the team's Facebook page. And a lot more on Blueshirts United.
And if you've been living beneath a rock, the 2012 NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia between the Flyers and New York Rangers takes place on Jan. 2 at 1 PM ET. Both jerseys are now officially out. (For those keeping score at home, we now have all of the new uniforms expected for the 2011-12 season — that is, unless the NHL breaks out new All-Star threads, which I don't expect.)
Anyway, what are your thoughts on what the Rangers will wear to the Winter Classic? It's close to what we had been expecting. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?