Sabres Unveil Third Jersey (With Help)

Photo from Steve Ott (via Twitter)

Steve Ott "leaks" photos of new sweater on Twitter

What a strange morning. An apparent Twitter ultimatum from Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott resulted in the sudden reveal of the team's long-awaited new third jersey. But seeing how it all played out, you can't help but think it was all a little staged.

It started early this morning when the Sabres seemed to be releasing their latest teaser.

But one look at the image and you knew they were just messing with everyone. It looked like they decided to take the vitriol they'd created and run with it.

They figured if everyone's going to hate the sneak peeks, why not give them a really good reason to hate them?

Then Ott chimed in: "Uncle, This is ridiculous! How about just releasing the jersey???"

To which the Sabres replied: "Hi Steve, we appreciate your excitement for the jersey, but we have a lot more pics to go before we unveil!"

And fans everywhere rolled their eyes.

Then an hour later, Ott tweeted: "HEY GUYS... I GOT it."

He's been known to be interested in this third jersey. We just didn't realize it was because he would be integral to the unveiling.

Shortly after came Ott's ultimatum, saying, "I'm sharing if you don't @BuffaloSabres #FansWantToSeeIt pucks in your rink! Boom. I'll give you 10 minutes."

Following that came another sign the Sabres were just screwing around with everybody. They tweeted: "Steve, thanks again for your interest, but we have the only two jerseys and they're under lock and key. #FortKnox"

Photo from Steve Ott (via Twitter)I know Reebok's prototype process can be slow, but the season starts in a month and they only have two jerseys on hand? Come on.

Then, to Twitter's surprise, Ott made good on his threat! He posted the photo seen at the top of this post. And since it was a photo of him, not taken by him and apparently in the Sabres' locker room, it all became clear. Then he shared a photo of the back. This was an elaborate Twitter unveiling.

Whether they cultivated it from the start or not, the Sabres used the universal hate to their advantage. They created a hero in Ott that fans could rally around. The guy who stood up to the powers that be. I suppose the hope was that the emotional response to Ott's championing of the fans would be tied in some way to the reaction to the jersey design itself.

It wasn't.

I don't think I've seen a single positive comment. But I'll get to that in a moment.

A little while after Ott's revelations, the Sabres tweeted their own cropped versions of Ott's photos. So either they were in on it, or they played off the leak very well. (I think it's the former!)

The Sabres also followed up in response to a fan tweet asking when the jerseys would be going on sale. Given the feedback I've seen so far, I'm surprised anyone would want to buy one. (Unless of course to burn it, hence assuring one less in the world.)

But the reaction hasn't been great so far. I've read dozens of tweets and haven't seen one nice word to describe them. As for me, I think most of you know where I stand on third jerseys.

The widely despised black Islanders jersey wouldn't hang in my closet, but that doesn't mean I'd have anything bad to say about it. I believe alternate jerseys are meant for stepping outside the box. Like the Isles, the Sabres have moved back to retro-inspired primary jerseys. I think they should be able to goof around with their third and try new and different things.

By "goof around," of course, I mean the fact that the front is a different color from the back. Never seen that before in the NHL. I wouldn't want to see anybody make a habit out of it at this point, but it's also not the end of the world. It's unique. I will say the number on the back seems to be a bit large, though. What happens when you get a second digit in there?

Anyway, if/when the Sabres share official photos and a press release with details about the design, I'll write up a full review. Until then, what do you think it? (I think I already know.)