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Entries in NHL (8)

Saturday
Jul072012

Bobby Lu Likes Deep Dish?

Does it make me a bad 'Hawks fan if I kinda want to see this next season?

I mean, come on, how great would this playoff series be?

And no, BobbyLu can't wear #1 in Chicago, that's been retired for Glenn Hall since the '80s.

Wednesday
Jan042012

What Was Old Is New Again

A few weeks back, over at Uni-Watch.com, I ran a feature piece on my take for NHL uniforms. While I wasn't quite finished tweaking NHL teams, commenter Mike D (whom I have to assume is the Mike D from the Beastie Boys) gave me the idea to take a crack at teams of yesteryear.

With such a great idea, I immediately got to work and found four teams ripe for an update. So what follows is first, a new look for four former franchises followed by a continuation of my take on current NHL teams.

The Defunct Series

California Seals: LOGO | CREST | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

The Seals - in their California incarnation in particular - had great colors and unis, but the logo reminded me more of a bird with a fish head than a seal. So I tried to remedy that with an updated logo and script.

The unis are basically just updates of previous unis. Though I had considered making the yellow jerseys the road uni and coming up with a different third, I figured this might go against NHL uni-policy.

Hartford Whalers: CREST | LOGO | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

This is the first team in the Defunct Series which I didn't feel the need to edit their crest. I did edit the whale logo a bit and I considered moving the whale tail up a bit higher off of the W but decided against it.

The uniforms are fairly straightforward updates of classic Whaler unis, but it was hard to keep the bold striping patterns of the old team on the new edge cuts. I'm not thrilled with my third. I tried a gray alt but that looked forced and the blue alt - to me - starts to encroach A LOT on the Canucks' identity (though, they seem to have just stolen a lot of good design ideas from the Whalers). If you have any better ideas for a third, let me hear 'em.

Minnesota North Stars: CREST | LOGO | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

With the North Stars, the first thing I tried to do was fix their logo. To me, a team named the North Stars should have a logo that points north (up), not northeast-ish (up and to the right). After that, these home and road are actually pretty similar to my Dallas Stars set (with notable and significant differences), which makes sense since those were partially based on old North Stars unis, but I give these unis their own flare (like the arrow and star on the pants).

I love the Third jersey here, which is a fauxback, and even considered making the home and road based off of this pattern, but decided to go with the more modern feel for the regular unis.

Quebec Nordiques: CREST | HOME | ROAD | THIRD

I think the old Nordiques logo is a train-wreck. Now, I understand that, design aside, people love the 'Diques logo, so - just like the Seals - I tried to update the logo while improving the design.

From what I gather, the old logo was a mashup of an N, an igloo and a hockey stick and puck. First, I rid the logo of the hockey equipment (we know you play hockey) and I give the logo a much more balanced overall shape. The door to the igloo is framed by an N for Nordiques and also appears as an entrance to a stereotypical igloo.

I even flirted with a wordmark alternate logo, but decided that might be a bit much.

The home and road unis are pretty much just updates but the third is an homage to the flag of Quebec.

The American Classic:

Who ever said fantasy has to be realistic? In my world, the NHL would add more outdoor "classics" and this particular one would take place in Oakland California.

Pitting the Minnesota North Stars vs the California Seals, both teams would wear throwbacks to 1975-76 with their current (Tim E.-created) logos and slightly altered pants stripes.

The Heritage Classic:

The second classic I would add would be a return of the Heritage Classic - the Canadian team version of the Winter Classic.

Quebec would host this Canadian outdoor game and face an old WHA rival, the Hartford Whalers.

Once again, both teams would be wearing throwbacks to 1975-76 but this time the unis would be dead on replications of the '70s originals.

Hockey TimE

Calgary: HOME | ROAD | THIRD

These unis are a combo of throwback and current designs. All the unis feature some black but the main striping patterns come from the era of the Flames singular Cup win.

For the captaincy patch, I use the Calgary Flaming C logo and for the alternate captains, I use the Atlanta Flames Flaming A logo.

Colorado: HOME | ROAD | THIRD

A more mountainous feel on the unis (and pants) that evokes earlier, happier times in Colorado. I also removed the black helmet and pants and eliminated gray except for on the crest.

The third is inverted Home colors, which some have said is almost indistinguishable from the Home uni, but I say, what's so wrong with that?

Detroit: HOME | ROAD | THIRD

No change, home or road. The Third is a 'heritage' design that honors elements of past uniforms while incorporating some modern and all new elements.

I've always really enjoyed the Red Wing's wordmarks, so I tried to highlight them in the Third jersey.

New Jersey: HOME | ROAD | THIRD

The Devils don't need too many changes. I did very minor stuff on the home and road, but I bring back the old green jersey from Jersey's first 11 seasons and bring it back as the permanent third. It's classic uni that deserves to be seen at least a few times a year.

New York Islanders: HOME | ROAD | THIRD

Well, the Islanders decided to shit all over good design with their third jersey so I decided it was time to work on the Isles.

With the home and road, I return the look that won four Stanley Cups, a classic and simple uni.

As for the third, I used the current home uni striping and add my new secondary logo (inspired from the Whalers' old logo) to the chest.

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Well, that's it for now, until next time, happy tweaking.

Tuesday
Dec132011

Plight of the ApOstracized 

Most people don't even notice my struggle. Most people probably wouldn't even consider it a problem. Most people probably think this much ado about nothing, but I consider it a slight on my humanity.

I am an ApOstracized American.

Being ApOstracized is not a choice, I was born this way, but the government doesn't see it that way. Hell, pop culture doesn't even see it that way.

Born an "O'Brien", I have long suffered the indignity of people getting my name wrong. On government forms I'm either "OBrien", "O Brien" or the infuriating "Obrien" - assuming they didn't spell my name with an "a".

I was introduced to these injustices at an early age, where they first tried to disenfranchise my people of our proper name.

Standardized tests are a cause of anxiety for many young children, but for me - and people of my ilk - they were also a cause of oppression. The oft misused apostrophe, a dominant and important feature of my surname, was often cast aside by anti-apostrophe bigots.

I remember taking my first standardized test and while given instructions to fill in the circles in the name box, "Last name, then first leaving a space between them. Then fill in the corresponding bubbles." I immediately noticed that I did not fit into this perfect little circle. I was the proverbial pencil mark outside the line.

Patiently, I raised my hand and waited for Mrs. Carrol to call on me. Obviously there was some mistake - I didn't see an apostrophe bubble anywhere. I mean, I had an older brother and sister and I knew other apostrophe families, surely someone had to have a protocol for me and my people. Maybe they just forgot to give me the right form.

"Mrs. Carrol, what do I do since I have an apostrophe?"

The question hushed the otherwise precocious class.

Quietly, my teacher - my authority figure - looked around, perplexed. Finally, after meeting eyes with her teacher's assistant and shrugging, she told me to just separate the "O" and the "B" with a space.

A thousand questions raced through my head. Would the machine think I was named Brien O? Could I live as a boy named Brien O? Could we bring this error to the attention of someone with greater knowledge of this situation?

I learned early in life, separate is not equal.

No one validated my apostrophe, and by third grade I was done asking what to do. I had become docile, acquiescent.

But as I grew older, I grew bolder. Proud of my name, I would fill in the "space" bubble but defiantly write the apostrophe in the box above it. Take that society.

As my passion for sports evolved as I grew, I decided to partake in sports, sports video games and bought much sports paraphernalia.

Fortunately, I only played sports for teams that went NNOB. However, sports games like Madden or NBA2K refused to allow the apostrophe in my name in their game. No league, even those like the NBA, NHL or FIFA that have players with apostrophes already in the game, would allow me to Create-A-Player with my distinguishing feature.

The bigotry stung like salt in a wound; I couldn't be Tim O'Brien but I could be Tîm ÒBríèñ.

Why wouldn't EA or SEGA allow me to be who I am? I wanted to write them letters, but Microsoft Word told me my name was spelled wrong.

Even my fandom was called into question. For my 16th birthday, my golden birthday, I wanted a White Sox alternate jersey with my name and my favorite number, 16. I had tried this once before. The NFL would not tolerate my people.

A miracle happened that summer, my family found a sports paraphernalia store owner who would - without consulting MLB - place my apostrophe onto an authentic White Sox jersey. And thus my wish was granted.

I have since become more accepting of my lot in life and tolerate the bigotry I deal with on a near daily basis (mail doesn't get delivered on Sundays). But to this day, four out of the five major US sports leagues do not recognize the rights of ApOstracized Americans.

Major League Baseball's response to an apostrophe: "Not allowed."

National Football League's response to an apostrophe: "Not allowed."

The National Basketball Association's response to an apostrophe is also, "Not allowed," but their stance softens for player specific jerseys or if you select a current apostrophe-having player.

The National Hockey League - even on teams with three completely different ApOstracized players - refuses to grant our right to exist. In fact, their box wont even let you type in the apostrophe while are charging you $80 for the right to not do so.

Only lowly Major League Soccer will allow everyone their right to an apostrophe, though I'll believe it when I see it.

But I dream of a day, when I will not be judged by the punctuation in my name, but content of my of my character.

We're here, we're clear, we want to see our apostrophe.

Wednesday
Nov302011

The Maple Leaf: It's Stupid

Oh, Canada...

As an American, I look down on you with the loving contempt of an older brother. No matter what you do, no matter how well you do it, I'll always consider myself far superior. And the worst part is, it's kinda your fault.

Canada tries so hard to make a name for itself and establish an identity independent from the US, but it does so in a way that always screams, "See? We're not America!" And that's never the right way to go about creating an identity.

One of the most ubiquitous and obnoxious ways Canadians try to establish this self-image in sports is to wantonly slap a red maple leaf onto any identity they can, regardless of color scheme, team name or club history.

And whether it's because Americans are too stupid to know what cities are in Canada or whether Canadians are too stupid to realize no one cares, the maple leaf logo trend is supremely stupid.

________________________________________________________________

The maple leaf permeates every major sports league in the US and Canada.  Hell, even the NFL - a league without a Canadian team - is not immune to this trend. Thanks Bills, how could we tell you were at Rogers Centre (It's Center Canada, but don't get me started...) without that helpful little leaf?

The NBA has been mostly leaf-free except for the Raptors in the mid-2000s. Apparently NBA teams are too busy working a basketball into every logo to hop onto the maple leaf trend...

The NHL, a league which shouldn't feel the need to do this since Canada has seven teams (Oh, and they created the sport), is one of the worst offenders.

Note to Canadian NHL teams: Only one team should have a Maple Leaf in its logo.

Yet again, reason is ignored and the leaf is everywhere. At one point, this little gem was an alternate logo for the Ottawa Senators.

The newest NHL team, the Winnipeg Jets (a team that already had a leaf-free identity) went the full-leaf and slapped it on every... single... logo they could find. Sure, there identity is based on this, but doesn't this or this accomplish the same feat while evoking the leaf rather than haphazardly placing it in the logo?

And did I mention that there's no other red anywhere in Jet's color scheme or on their uniforms?

Even the Calgary Flames caved to the trend. After 27 years in Canada, not only did the Flames slap on an Alberta Flag on one shoulder, they threw the Canadian flag on the other - just in case you hadn't realized Calgary was in Alberta, Canada.

Even the measly MLS manages to throw in a maple leaf onto one of their two Canadian teams. That one may be the least egregious since the design is so poor, you can barely tell it's a maple leaf, but it is.

But the real offender, and probably the originator of the maple leaf trend, is the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Repeatedly and habitually, the Blue Jays (whom you would think would eschew any red for shades of... oh, I don't know... blue?) have forced this stupid symbol of, "WE'RE IN CANADA," into every iteration of their team identity since their founding in 1977.

Even during the brief period where this was their primary logo and when a variation of that was their cap logo, guess what graced the sleeve of every uniform they wore? That's right. The leaf.

So desperate, consistent and ubiquitous has the use of the leaf been in their identity that - I argue - they have corrupted the team identities of almost every sports team in Toronto.

Raptors? TR + Leaf alt logo. Toronto FC? Main Crest + Leaf. Even minor league teams have leaf logos.

The Maple Leafs get a pass as they existed decades before the Blue Jays, their identity contains no red and their leaf has maintained some design independence from the flag version of the leaf since their inception.

But still, Toronto has a leaf problem.

...Canada has a leaf problem, and it's a stupid problem to have.

Saturday
Jul232011

Tim E. And the Jets

On Friday, the Winnipeg Jets unveiled their new logos and - fitting the theme of other recent logo/uni announcements - I was underwhelmed.

While I don't hate anything specifically in the new iconography (maybe except for the new wordmark), I was once again surprised by True North's lack of originality.

One of the most surprising features of the designs is the prominence of the maple leaf. Uh, you're not the only Canadian team and there's already this one team who uses that same leaf.

So lets get into my critiques:

The Primary Logo: I love the roundel that is clearly based off of the Royal Canadian Air Force's roundel but I could easily live without the maple leaf. Also, the compass point representing True North is a bit intrusive and egotistical but I can live with it because it reminds me of the J/hockey stick in this.

Grade: B+ | Uni-Watch.com Scale: Good, close to Great

The Secondary Logo: Once again, the maple leaf is way too prominent. It's a good looking logo, but in a league with a team already known as the leaves and a team already known as the wings, do you really feel the need to combine those images when talking about the Jets?

Grade: B | Uni-Watch.com Scale: Good

The Wordmark: In one word? Hideous. In two words? Train wreck.

Other than being ugly and having terrible fonts, the leaf - yet again - dominates the design and actually looks like an apostrophe, making them the Jet's.

On their website, the Jets show a few different designs featuring a stencil font. That font fits in with the fighter jet motif, in that it looks like something that could be sprayed in the side of a fighter. But yet they didn't use that as a wordmark, go figure.

Grade: F | Uni-Watch.com Scale: Stupid

OVERALL: Grade: C+ but should've been better and more original.

So, while still a passing grade, I figured I could make some improvements - and maybe create some unis while I'm at it.

Logos:

I take my idea of removing the maple leaf but trade in the gray jet for a red one.

Next up, the secondary gets the jet trade in, too.

Uniforms:

For the home and road unis, I took inspiration from the roundel and went for a classic look mixed in with some modern/jet themed flare (hence the stencil uni numbers and captain's C). I also included the jet on the pants with the stripes looking like a planes' contrail.

For the Third Jersey, I made the helmet, jersey and socks gray to mimic a fighter jet (and so it can easily be worn at home or on the road). The numbers and captain's C are now in a darker gray to, once again, imitate the stencils used on planes.

Well, those are my ideas and hopefully you like them. As usual, until next time, happy tweaking.