NHL shakes up 2016 All-Star Game format

Today the NHL announced a major shake-up to the format for the 2016 All-Star Game.

Instead of one game, the NHL's elite will participate in a tournament of 3-on-3 mini-games. And instead of fantasy teams or an East-vs-West format, there will be four teams — one for each NHL division.

This is huge! I know the All-Star Game doesn't matter and there are plenty of fans out there who could care less, but I love watching the best players gather together for a fun weekend. I also love that in the last few years the NHL has not shied away from trying new things to keep it fresh.

And all right, yes I'm excited to see divisional All-Star jerseys and logos for the first time ever!

So how would that work? Four All-Star jerseys? Eight?! Can't imagine eight jerseys for one night. It'll be four. But how will the colors work? Andrew Greenstein of NHLUniforms.com brought up a workable idea on Facebook last night.

I would predict that we'll see teams dressed in white, gold, scarlet red and navy blue — all colors which would be clearly distinguishable from one another.

Navy and gold/yellow make sense considering Nashville is hosting. White is an obvious option and red makes sense in terms of a fourth contrasting color. But which team wears which color? I'll take Andrew's idea a step farther with a prediction of my own.

Eastern Conference

RED · Metropolitan Division · Five of the division's eight teams have red in their logos and uniforms.

BLUE · Atlantic Division · Similarly, five of the eight teams in this division have some form of blue in their identity. It makes sense to me to keep as many players as possible in familiar colors.

Western Conference

GOLD · Central Division · There will undoubtedly be at least a couple of Predators playing in front of their home fans. I'm sure those fans will appreciate seeing their stars in the home gold.

WHITE · Pacific Division · Well, it's the only option left but a neutral jersey works well for the most colorful division in the NHL.

The benefit to this setup is that the All-Star Final is guaranteed to feature a darker color (blue or red) versus a lighter color (gold or white) since the winner of the Eastern Conference divisions faces the winner of the Western Conference divisions.

Either way, I'm assuming the neon green and black jerseys from last year are dead.

Whatever the league decides, I'm very eager to see how they end up handling the uniforms. And while the Eastern and Western Conference logos are prominent, the league has never had divisional logos.

Speaking of logos, let's take a look at some of the designs that will be used during the weekend.

First, here are the primary sponsored logos in English and French. You saw the non-sponsored version at the top of this post.

Then there are the event logos for the All-Star Skills Competition and Fan Fair. The look of the Skills logo hasn't changed much in recent years. The use of the guitar strings on the Fan Fair logo is pretty cool. And if you like that, check out these.

These are some of the supporting designs from the overall identity package. The "NSH" guitar design is one of my favorites. The star/pick combo is a fun way to frame the NHL logo.

But check this out. Every team has a guitar pick design!

Wonder if the picks will appear as the All-Star jersey shoulder patches for each player. That would be a unique touch — better than last year's grey monochrome style.

That's all I've got for now. What do you think of all this?!

UPDATE · Nov 19 · Well that excitement died in a hurry. Actually I wouldn't have even written most of the first half of this post if I'd seen this tweet from Paul Lukas yesterday morning.

The UniWatch guru reported a league official as saying a 4-jersey format is not in the cards. I'm not going to lie. That's awfully disappointing. It likely means no divisional logos, sadly. 

But you might be wondering how a 2-jersey system would work with four separate squads. Not complicated. Both colors are prepared for all participating players. Then prior to each mini-game, the teams are assigned their colors. So it's possible a team could wear one color in the semi-finals and a different color in the final.

It's not a terribly creative solution. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed they don't bring back the neon green and black jerseys from last year.