It may turn out we didn't have to wait for the new Nashville Predators jerseys after all. Some new photos were posted by On The Forecheck today, which seem to show the team's unreleased sweaters.
The blog is now saying that a contact with the team says these are not the final jerseys. Perhaps a prototype then? We'll find out for certain — at least as far as the road sweater — this weekend when it's officially unveiled by the team. Until then, we have this to speculate on.
To quote my tweet from earlier in the day, these are astonishingly good. I'm serious. I've never liked the "space-suit" silver used on the sleeves and this is miles away from that. I like almost everything about these jerseys except for the piping on the back. I think it's used brilliantly on the front.
And kudos to the Preds for stepping outside the box and going with a primary color that no one else has. Gold may not be a common color for a hockey sweater, but it looks great here.
I'll have more to say on the subject when I have some time to write later. For now, what do you think? Are you hoping they're the real deal or real fake?
I have some new independent information regarding the legitimacy of the above jerseys. While it's true these are not the final versions of the new design, I'm told spotting the differences would require a close look. Most important is that the colors are accurate. The home jersey will indeed be gold!
A uniform overhaul has been in the works a few years, but gold wasn't always the plan. Like the rumors suggested, the original redesign would've been what you see here (right).
The blue and black third jersey was launched during the 2009-10 season. The expectation was that it would become the home sweater the following year and a white version would be added for the road.
Late in the season, that plan was scrapped. The team's brand would go in an entirely new direction. I'm told a number of the white jerseys had been produced by Reebok by the time that call was made. But rather than discard the unused sweaters, they were worn by players to a special event and auctioned off to fans.
So why the decision to go with gold? It's the reason a lot of us marketing-types suspected. The Predators' took a look around the league and noticed that every team was starting to look the same. They wanted to stand out — to "own" a color. And blue was already taken by a number of teams.
The last time an NHL team wore a gold sweater full time was the 1980s when the Penguins and Canucks did. In more recent years, the Bruins had a yellow third jersey and wore the same color at the 2010 Winter Classic. But the Predators saw an opening here and went for it. Good job on them!
And as previously mentioned, the navy blue alternate sweater will not be returning next season.
The official unveiling of the Predators' road jersey happens tonight at the draft. The home jersey will come next month at Nashville's Skate of the Union event.