The NHL has really started to understand the value of marketing hockey jerseys over the last few years. They know that fans like us like whatever is new (or not so much) and that even if we don't spend the money ourselves, we build the invaluable buzz needed to get others to do so.
I mention this because, not since the years before and after the lockout have we seen all 30 teams wearing the same logos and uniforms in back-to-back seasons. In a way, it's what's kept Icethetics in business (and probably the league, too). That's five straight years with at least one team getting a new logo or jersey — or both — including the upcoming 2010-11 campaign.
Now that all of this season's new sweaters are out, the aim of JerseyWatch 2010 is to keep us all on the same page as far as what's new for next year. And we begin with Howard Berger. Berger became the first to leak descriptions of all 18 third jerseys when the program was re-launched in the Age of Reebok, 2008. Now he's at it again.
According to his most recent blog post, six NHL teams will be donning new or altered uniforms in 2010 — some of which we already knew, some we didn't. He says a "league merchandizing source" is his mole. Whether it's the same person as before, who knows? But you have to admit he was pretty accurate the last time.
First, here's what Howard knows. Later in the week, I'll write up a summary of everything else we know.
The Buffalo Sabres will lose primary mark that's served them since 2006. Unaffectionately referred to as the "slug" by fans, the ambiguous logo is finally going by the wayside.
Taking its place in all likelihood will be the classic logo that's as old as the team is (seen to the left). Evidently, the current third jersey (a veiled throwback) will become the new home sweater and a white version now in the works will be worn on the road.
This has been no secret as the organization's managing partner Larry Quinn has stated on a number of occasions that this will be the case. Sabres fans may rejoice.
The only real question: Will they introduce a new third jersey? I doubt it.
Perhaps the biggest surprise from Berger's post is with regard to the Nashville Predators. While he has no details on the look, he does say the Preds will "be making a significant alteration to [their] original design."
That original design had been worn by the team since their inception in 1998 — up until the Age of Reebok. Is it too much to think something along the lines of the new third jersey could be in the cards?
Berger also mentions the change could be even more dramatic if the team is relocated. But I think he's just being dramatic.
It's no secret the New York Islanders are hoping for a return to their glory days by returning to the jerseys that won them a handful of Stanley Cups.
They'll be following the Sabres in promoting their third jersey to full-time use and adding a white version for away games. Consult the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers for an idea of what that would look like. Just try to see past all the jersey advertising.
Oddly enough, while Berger doesn't have the details on this one, NYI Point Blank blogger Chris Botta does. Saturday night, he wrote a short post saying the white version is currently in the works. I have no reason not to trust him, but we haven't heard official word from the Isles on this yet.
The Philadelphia Flyers will become the third team in as many years to give their Winter Classic jersey an extended stay beginning in 2010-11.
No surprise here, but the Flyers, who this season made their orange third jersey the new home sweater, will take the white version of it, being worn this New Year's Day, to be worn on the road. This seems to be the era for throwbacks. I think the '90s killed uniform creativity. Or something.
By the way, as I read Berger's take on the Flyers, I have to wonder whether he's an actual hockey writer as he mentions the "Outdoor Classic" and misuses the term "piping." Still, he was pretty much on the money last time.
The powder blue third jersey the Pittsburgh Penguins introduced originally in the 1960s then later brought back for the inaugural Winter Classic has apparently run its course as a third jersey (after just two seasons).
This isn't news as I've mentioned it previously here on Icethetics. But now Berger is saying it too. So there's that. He also points out, as we know, that the Pens will still have a blue-infused third jersey for 2010 — it just won't be this one.
At last we've reached Berger's own team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are making some alterations their home and road jerseys for 2010-11. The third will remain the same.
Added to the blue and white sweaters will be the much-missed horizontal waist stripes. There was no reason to get rid of them and every reason to bring them back. Berger also says the "TML" shoulder logo, introduced in 2000, will also make a comeback. I could take it or leave it.
Coming soon to JerseyWatch 2010, the Vancouver Canucks and possibly the Ottawa Senators. I'll have a summary later in the week.