Monday, September 28, 2015

Thinking Aesthetically: Counting Down The Top 10 Jersey Lineups in the NHL - #10

Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today Sports
Thinking Aesthetically is a series that will run until October 7th, ranking the 30 jersey lineups in the NHL (Home, Road, and Alternates, combined into one score, and ranked). 

Today, we focus on the 10th-ranked team: The Philadelphia Flyers.

Whenever anyone decides to rank the NHL's uniforms, the complaint that classic uniforms are ranked higher simply because of personal bias and history always comes up.

I will not deny that, because a), they're my rankings, based off of which jerseys appeal to me most, and b), because the classic jerseys are, quite simply, better than many of their corporate, money-draining counterparts. Think about it - when the Oilers, a team with a great design, changed to a dull, murky copper-and-blue uniform back when the NHL was going through its Reebok Edge revolution in 2007, everyone hated the change. Since then, they've gone back to the classic "Gretzky look", and suddenly, the Oilers are back into the upper echelon of the rankings.

Now, there isn't a definitive argument for or against classic jerseys that I can give to you to a unanimously good or bad reaction, so I think that I'll stop getting off into a tangent here and start writing. Number ten! Philadelphia!

Home: It's quickly becoming well-known that I am a huge proponent of simplicity in jerseys. As a result, the Flyers, with their simple design, are good in my books. They're the only team in the NHL with orange as their main colour, and that's probably because no one wants to try to replicate the Flyers' aesthetic success and fail.

The stripe at the bottom of the jersey is a nice accent to the bright orange, and the white line along the shoulders is delightfully unique, in that it extends down the arms, creating a barrier between the front and the back of the jersey. The black arm rim is a nice, final touch.

My only real issue with these jerseys would have to be the nameplate, which just feels so forced and wrong. Put white lettering on the orange body, and I'm sure that the jersey would look a lot cleaner on the back.

Road: I'm going to evaluate this jersey in two separate sections (The Front, and The Back), simply because, quality-wise, they're so different.

Front: It's a great look. The Flyers' logo is a classic, and the subtle orange striping is a treat to look at. It's like a creamsicle in a uniform. I love creamsicles.

Back: AAAHGGGH. That nameplate is hideous. I'm also not a huge fan of the orange numbering, although that could grow on me. However, that black nameplate is atrocious. Yikes. Everything else is fine (really fine - I love these jerseys), but the nameplate has to go.

Alternate: These jerseys are fantastic. The orange, while still bright, appears more muted due to the presence of the black shoulder yoke, and the beige striping is beautiful. The nameplate actually doesn't bother me on this uniform, simply because it's beige. I love beige - it's an underused colour in the NHL.

These jerseys are top-10 in the NHL. They resemble pumpkin pie, and I love me a good pumpkin pie, especially now that we're into the autumn and the leaves are falling and hockey is starting and the baseball playoffs are on and... oh, sorry - I got on a bit of a roll, there. Anyhow, I certainly wouldn't mind if the Flyers made these their primary uniforms. It's a great look.

Score:

Home: 8.5/10
Road: 7.5/10
Alternate: 9.5/10
Overall: 25.5/30 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Thinking Aesthetically: Ranking All 30 Teams' Jersey Lineups (Part 5: 12 - 11)

Credit: James Guillory - USA Today Sports
As I reach my fifth post on this subject, I start to realize how few really good jersey designs there are in this league. I only reached jerseys lineups that I overall really liked with Winnipeg's set, and still, it's quite generic.

With these two lineups, however, we're getting more into the high-end level of uniforms in the NHL. Read on, and discover what these two teams are!

12. Arizona Coyotes

Home: I really enjoy these uniforms. The brown body has always been a nicer tone for a jersey, and the streamlined, more updated-looking lettering on the back is a nice, new touch.

The black and white striping on the shoulders and arms is another really cool look. While there could be more beige (or sand?) in this design, it certainly looks fine the way it is.

The 'Yotes have gone from some incredibly dull jerseys to some very nice ones very quickly. If this really is one of their last years in Arizona, well, they're going out in style.

Road: I also quite enjoy these jerseys. I really like how the white contrasts with the black on the shoulders. However, I am not a huge fan of how they changed the shoulder patch from the home design. On the dark jersey, the patch added some needed beige to the uniform. On this one, they've changed the patch to a dark design which I'm not wholly fond of.

The rest of the jersey is quite all right. While I think that the waist stripe might look better in black, the rest of the uniform is a very rustic-looking desert-suiting design.

Nice job!

Score:

Home: 13/15
Road: 11/15
Overall: 24/30

11. Edmonton Oilers

Home: It pains me to write this, but I must admit it: the Oilers have some of the best uniforms in the NHL. The orange-on-blue style is classic, and the striping is very, very nice. I'm also digging the orange numbers on the back of the jersey, as well as the use of the colour overall as an accent. Near-perfection!


Road: These jerseys are also fantastic. I love the lettering on the back of the uniform, and unlike in the conceptually-similar New York Islanders design, the white body doesn't come across as overpowering. The orange accents are also very effective. Also near-perfection!

Home: While I like these jerseys, and I admire the Oilers' ambition to go with orange as the main colour of these jerseys, something about it doesn't look right. The numbers on the shoulder yoke are awkward, sure, but there's something else.

Eh, I can't place it. I like looking at these jerseys too much. There's way too much orange, but even so, these jerseys are spellbinding. I don't think they're quite as good as the home and away jerseys, but they're up there. There's just too much orange.

Score:

Home: 9/10
Road: 8.5/10
Alternate: 7/10
Overall: 24.5/30

Come back tomorrow as I kick off the top 10!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thinking Aesthetically: Ranking All 30 Teams' Jersey Lineups (Part 4: 15 - 13)

As I continue on with my rankings of the 30 NHL teams' uniform rotations, I've begun to realize how much easier and more enjoyable it is to write about better jerseys. With that in mind, I hope you enjoy reading this article as much as I did!

We start off with:

15. Tampa Bay Lightning

Home: I fear that I may lose some of you with this ranking, but hear me out - these jerseys are pretty decent. Blue and white is an excellent combination on any jersey (see: Maple Leafs, Toronto) and that trend doesn't end in Tampa - as much as many like to hate on these uniforms due to their ripping-off of Toronto's jerseys, it's not like the Leafs own express rights to the colour scheme. The shoulder patches are subtle and don't detract from the jersey, while the simple striping is a plus.

However, these jerseys may be a touch too simple. I typically dislike black on jerseys, but I feel that the Lightning might benefit from an accent here and there, maybe on the stripes' edges.

Otherwise, it's a pretty good look.

Road: Sigh. The Vancouver Lightning are in town.

Why even bother putting the "Tampa Bay" script above the logo? Why? That's just obnoxious, Tampa.

The rest of the jersey is slightly above-average. The striping is maybe a bit too defined, but otherwise, this uniform is all good.


Alternate: There are exactly two things that I hate about this jersey:

1) The blue collar, which, when surrounded by the white shoulder stripe and black body, makes the player look like an ice cream man.

2) The "Bolts" script logo. Seriously? "Sens" was bad enough.

Other than that, I actually do not hate this jersey like everyone else seems to. This is one of very few black jerseys which does not look horrible on the ice, and the white logo and lettering actually looks pretty excellent against the black body.

Not bad, Tampa.

Score: 

Home: 7/10
Away: 6/10
Alternate: 6.5/10
Overall: 19.5/30

14. Winnipeg Jets

Home: It seems as though the Jets franchise actually bothered to hire a competent design team when they moved from Georgia, as evidenced by these jerseys. The crest is fantastic, the dark blue manages to not wash out the logo, and the striping, while imperfect (there's not enough light blue on the rest of the jersey to merit that much in the stripes) is still pretty good. The font looks modern, and the patches, while far from the best in the league, fit in rather nicely with the rest of the jersey.

Great job, True North!

Road: On the other hand, these jerseys, while well-intended, come off as if the Jets' designers were trying a bit too hard. While I was able to handle the use of light blue on the home jersey, it just comes off as obnoxious on this one. There is far too much of it, and it doesn't mesh with its darker counterpart well. The lettering on the back is lined with the lighter colour, also, and, while it's easier to ignore, it is still distracting.

However, other than the light blue, the road jersey is still a good design.

Decent job, True North!

Score:

Home: 12/15
Road: 8/15
Overall: 20/30


13. Dallas Stars

Home: Say what you want about the bright green, but unless it's paired up against the Flyers' orange uniforms, it's one of the better looks in the league. The green is a dynamic, electric colour on the ice, and it helps that it's being worn by a dynamic team. The simplistic striping and patches (which both make great use of black as a supporting colour) help this jersey to become a treat to watch.


Road: These jerseys are also excellent. While the striping isn't as good as it is on the home design (black and green?), the rest of the jersey, from the nice shoulder yokes to the bright green lettering on the back, is eye-poppingly great. These jerseys are very close to being as good as the home version.

Home: 12/15
Road: 10.5/15
Overall: 22.5/30

Now we're getting into the thick of things! 

Come back tomorrow for lineups 12 - 11.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thinking Aesthetically: Ranking All 30 Teams' Jersey Lineups (Part 3: 18 - 16)

Credit: Charles LeClaire - USA Today Sports
This is where it can start to get good. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Thinking Aesthetically! Today, I'll be ranking the teams with the 18th-best to the 13th-best jerseys in the NHL, starting with:

18. Columbus Blue Jackets 

Home: This jersey is so unremarkable. It's navy blue, a colour seen incredibly often in the NHL. There's no horrible piping, but there isn't really any creative striping, either. The logo is decent, nothing exceptional. The font is relatively conservative. What's to hate? What's to love?

Road: Some road uniforms really work, and some really don't. This one falls into the latter category. The white is so strong against the more muted tones of the logo, and it doesn't really fit when put up against the deep blue of the home jersey. 



Alternate: On the other hand, this jersey is fantastic. The only good jersey design from the NHL's ill-fated "powder-blue movement", the Jackets' design succeeded where Pittsburgh and Florida failed by including a slick colour in light beige, and by designing a spectacular logo. The block-lettering on the back helps, and the stripe at the bottom is beautiful.

Near-perfect from Columbus.

Score:

Home: 5/10
Road: 3/10
Alternate: 9/10
Overall: 17/30

17. Washington Capitals

Home: I probably like this jersey more than I should. It's simple, I don't hate the logo, and the font is dynamic and striking. But the random strips of white under the arms seem so off to me, and it's red, which is far too overused in the league (however, they've used it for so long that it could qualify as too classic to change). Seriously, six teams, at most, should use red: Calgary, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, Washington, and New Jersey. They've used it the longest, and it makes at least some sense for each of them. Flames are red, the Blackhawks and Canadiens have always worn red, the Detroit Red Wings, the Devil is commonly depicted as red, and... the American Flag is red, white, and blue? Is that a good-enough reason?

Why not make the jersey a deep blue with red accents? That might look cool.

That was a long tangent. Let's continue.

Road: I like these a bit more than their home counterparts because they don't have that weird white underarm stripe. Otherwise, all of the same arguments from above apply here (except for the red, because what option other than white do the Capitals have in this situation?).


Alternate: Oh, these are classic. Whenever I think of the Capitals, I think of Rod Langway, Peter Bondra, Michal Pivonka, and Don Beaupre. The red, white, and blue are so perfect together, and the stars are a great touch. The modernized version of these feels so corporate and cold, while these are a nice hug and a cup of hot chocolate to look at.

These are one of under ten jerseys on my entire list to garner a perfect 10 rating. You'll see another soon.

Score:

Home: 4/10
Away: 4.5/10
Alternate: 10/10
Overall: 18.5/30

16. Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: I don't have much to say about these first two jerseys, because I'm saving my energy for typing 600 words about the alternates. However, I will say that these jerseys introduced the world to Vegas Gold, and the world has not benefited from that reveal. This uniform also seems to have a bad case of "Senator-itis": that is, random splotches of colour down the side of the jersey.

The crest is classic, though, and it gets bonus points for no horrible striping or piping. Like Columbus' design, it's very average.

I lied about not writing much about these jerseys, which rank lower than the "Robo-Gradient Penguin" and the "New York Rangers knockoff Non-Penguin" in my dedicated Pittsburgh Penguins jersey rankings, at the 541 spot.

Road: Next time you go to Consol Energy Center to buy a jersey, just ask the sales associate at the  team store for "those things that Crosby wear that make your arms look like they've burst out in giant Vegas Gold and black-coloured pimples", and they'll hand you one of these, and a pocket schedule.


Alternate: I love the Boston Bruins' jerseys. They're so simple and elegant, and their colour combo of black and a riveting yellow makes them impossible to take your eyes away from.

Vegas Gold is such a bland colour. This yellow is certainly not. Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis, Paul Coffey, Kevin Stevens, Tom Barrasso, and countless other Penguin greats wore these jerseys, which (in my opinion) are the finest in all of professional sports.

Score: 

Home: 4/10
Road: 3/10
Alternate: 12/10
Overall: 19/30

I will be writing about rankings 15 - 13 tomorrow, 12 - 11 the day after that, and then one a day until I finish these rankings on the scheduled ending date of October 3, 2015.

Keep checking back until then!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thinking Aesthetically: Ranking All 30 Teams' Jersey Lineups (Part 2: 24 - 19)

Credit: Lance Iverson - USA Today Sports 
So, before we begin, I'd like to thank all of my readers for getting me to 10,000 page views today. It really means a lot to me to reach this great of an audience, and I've only written 36 posts thus far, so I hope we can get to 20,000 soon!

Today, I continue on with my rankings of the NHL's 30 teams by the quality of their jerseys. If you are unfamiliar with this series, then I suggest that you read this article.

I'm ranking teams 24-19 today. Enjoy!


24. Los Angeles Kings
Home: These may be the most perplexing uniforms in the NHL. The design is sharp, and not too busy, but it looks like someone had made an initial design with a few splashes of colour, and then when into Photoshop and put the image through the grayscale filter. As a result, we're left with a dull, monochromatic uniform that seems to lack any sense of inspiration.


Road: Seriously, I always feel like these jerseys always blend in with the ice, simply because there's no colour to offset the effects of the white.

For both of these uniforms, the design is fine, and the lettering is clean and legible. It's just that they are so devoid of colour, and as such, they feel incomplete.


Alternate: I enjoy Nashville's yellow uniforms more than these, but the Kings' alternate jerseys are still quite good. While I'm not a fan of the yellow colour of the jersey, the purple is a beautiful accent, and I'm digging that crown logo.

Score:

Home: 2/10
Road: 2/10
Alternate: 5.5/10 
Overall: 9.5/30

23. New York Islanders

Home: These are nice jerseys. The orange, blue, and white go so well together, and when wearing these, the Islanders are one of the better-dressed teams in the NHL.




Road: It's still a decent look, but the white is overpowering where the blue was pleasant. The white stripe between the blue and orange on the arms also seems slightly out-of-place.






Alternate:
C'mon, Islanders. There is nothing remotely good about this jersey. Are we living in a monochromatic world? No! So, stop acting like it and throw some colour on that sweater. John Tavares is not impressed

Jersey foul!

Score:

Home: 7/10
Road: 4/10
Alternate: Jersey Foul (-1)/10
Overall: 10/30

21. Ottawa Senators

Home: Why are there random blots of white and black all over this jersey? Why did the Senators change their logo from the beautiful, 2-dimensional Spartan to the impossible-to-draw 3D version? Why? Why? Why?


Road: Is there some unwritten rule in Ottawa stating that every professional sports team needs to load up their uniforms with extreme amounts of red and black? Because these jerseys could do with a touch more gold.





Alternate: "You know, it's jerseys like this one that seem to be convincing the NHL that advertising wouldn't do anything to clutter up jerseys. Why would it hurt an already puzzlingly-confusing jersey?"

Words such as these were likely uttered by Ottawa Senators management sometime in 2011 regarding the much-hated SENS design. Said management ended up conceiving this design, which is enthralling with its masterful use of black, red, and beige(!) as complementary colours in an otherwise-still-pretty-darn-good jersey.

Score:

Home: 1.5/10
Road: 2/10
Alternate: 9/10
Overall: 12.5/30

T21. San Jose Sharks
Home: The Sharks decided to simplify their look a couple of years ago, and they removed some stripes, most of the orange, and the shoulder yoke from the previous design.

I feel like the Sharks did a pretty good job of this.

Except that they decided to add numbers to the front of the jersey, which is deplorable, and I would shout "Jersey Foul!" right about now except that the teal colour is so enthralling and mesmerizing that I've forgotten what I was saying. Potatoes!

Road: Remember how I said that I loved Carolina's road uniform in the last post?

Well, this jersey comes close to that, except in the case of the front numbers, and the overly-complicated striping pattern on the arms. 

It's still a nice design, but it's not as good as I would have hoped.

Alternate: I like these jerseys. Say what you want about the black base, but I feel that it helps to reinforce the fierce nature of sharks. There are also no front numbers, which is a plus. 

However, when viewed on-ice, I've always had one issue with these uniforms: I can't see the back of the shark. It's black. The uniform is black. So, unless the shark is in some black ocean (which I'd bet you a pizza that it couldn't live in), and it's jumping out of said ocean, I cannot live with this jersey and its one big design flaw.

Score:

Home: 5/10
Away: 4/10
Road: 5/10

T21. Florida Panthers

Home: Red is an overused colour in the NHL. The following teams use it as one of their primary colours: the Calgary Flames; the Carolina Hurricanes; the Chicago Blackhawks; the Detroit Red Wings; the Florida Panthers; the Minnesota Wild; the Montreal Canadiens; the New Jersey Devils; the Ottawa Senators; and the Washington Capitals. That's 10 teams, or a third of the NHL.

In 2011, the Panthers inexplicably decided to change their primary colour to red. It was all over their advertising, website, and merchandise. Red, red, red, red, red. That exhibits a lack of creativity. While the design is certainly an improvement over their murky navy predecessor, it could be improved by changing the primary colour of the uniform to a deep gold, similar to the one in their uniform, or even black. I know, I hate black jerseys, but it'd be an improvement over the red.

Road: The basic concept of the Panthers' away uniform hasn't changed for over 20 years now, and it isn't hard to see why: it's a gem of a design. They finally eliminated the piping in the 2011 redesign, and what has been left is a clean, solid design.

Alternate: The Panthers wisely discarded their garish powder blue alternate uniform in 2011, and have not used one since.

Score: 

Home: 3.5/15
Road: 10.5/15
Overall: 14/15

19. Nashville Predators

Home: While I admire Nashville' ambition in going with a rarely-seen colour for their primary uniforms, they went a bit too far with these. The yellow is overpowering and the stripes in the jersey numbers just seem bizarre to me. The navy blue accents go well with the yellow colour, however, and the guitar pick patch is a nice touch.



Road: I want to like these more than I do. The white base colour works more than the yellow does, but that unneeded piping is unfortunate, and the annoying lines in the jersey numbers are back. 

Both of these jerseys are decidedly average.

Alternate: Like the Panthers, the Predators have not used an alternate jersey since 2011.

Score:

Home: 7/15
Road: 7.5/15
Overall: 14.5/30

Part 3 will be up tomorrow - check back!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thinking Aesthetically: Ranking All 30 Teams’ Jersey Lineups (Part 1: 30 - 25)

Credit: Ron Chenoy - USA Today Sports
When you think of any given NHL team, what pops up in your head? What do you visualize?

Say that you’re a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. What do you think of first? What's happened recently? What has always been associated with your team?

Well, you've got an iconic jersey, a nearly-silent arena, a recently-departed star, better mangement... but what jumps out in that image? It ain't Kessel.

Home, away, and road jerseys are considered in this exercise, and are each worth 10 points towards each team's Design Score, out of thirty. If a team has no third jersey, then the home and road jerseys are both worth 15 points. Special, one-off jerseys are not considered.

All jersey design images come from sportslogos.net.

T30. Colorado Avalanche


Home: Yuck. This jersey is a mess when viewed on the ice. The terrible, garish piping messes with the design monumentally, detracting from a decent logo and good shoulder patches, and the murky purple-brown-red colour doesn't go well with the blue accents whatsoever. The font on the numbers is the best part of the jersey - the little offshoots from the number remind me of icicles.

Road: The Avalanche's away uniforms are an improvement over the home design - the white actually resembles snow! - but the black lettering on the back stands out as odd.





Alternate: The Avalanche do not currently have an alternate jersey. EDIT: Yes they do! While the logo seems oddly large for the uniform (and while it seems to resemble the Chicago Cubs logo), the white yoke is nice, and the blue is a moderately better colour for the team, although it's still way too dark. An improvement, yes, but enough to get them out of the bottom spot? Nope.

Score:

Home: 0.25/10
Away: 1/10
Alternate: 1.5/10
Overall: 3/30

T30. Buffalo Sabres

Home: Piping and stripes? You're just getting greedy, Buffalo. Pair those with a gratuitous use of grey and the horrible, terrible idea of putting the jersey number on the front of the uniform, and you've got a bad, bad design.





Away: The blue shoulder yoke on this jersey has always bothered me, because other than a couple of small stripes at the bottom and at the sides of the uniform, and on the lettering, there are no other instances of said colour apparent.

The piping and the over-abundance of numbers return.
Alternate: Yeah, yeah, I know that they technically don't wear these monstrosities anymore, but... you gotta do what you gotta do, right?

Jersey foul!

Score:

Home: 2/15
Away: 2/15
Jersey foul: -1
Overall: 3/30

T30. Anaheim Ducks

Home: Someone in the Ducks' marketing department clearly thought that it would be a good idea to make their existing jerseys even busier, and these uniforms were developed as a result.

I have no problem with calling them the worst full-time jerseys in the NHL.


Road: These jerseys are far better than their home counterparts, but let's get real, here - neither are excellent. Neither are even "merely decent".

Alternate: The Ducks do not currently have a confirmed alternate jersey.

Score:

Home: 0/15
Road: 3/15
Overall: 3/30

27. Vancouver Canucks

Home: They're blue and green. Way too blue and green. Someone get some white in there! WE CAN'T SEE ANYTHING!

Away: Ahh, that's better. Still, I'm pining for the blue-and-red days. Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison in those jerseys... am I a Flames fan? 

Alternate: Seriously, Vancouver - redesign these. The logo is bad, the colours are worse... you are in desperate need for a new look. The 'blue-and-green, Mats Sundin' look has worn out its welcome. Silver would suit the uniform so much better.

Score:

Home: 1/10
Away: 3/10
Alternate: 0.5/10
Overall: 4.5/30


26. Calgary Flames

Home: 2015-16 will be the ninth season for these overly-piped uniforms. The lack of coherent striping, the awful, misrepresenting shoulder patches, and the bizarre notes of black throughout the design (you ever seen black fire before?) make this jersey a mess, one that should be pitched away to a pack of wolves.



Road: These white jerseys contain less black, and are decidedly less awful, but they still contain the misleading shoulder patches and the aggressively-infuriating piping, to go with an almost unreadable font colour for the name on the back.



Alternate: Minus the dizzying wordmark logo, these jerseys are a masterpiece, from the New Jersey Devils-esque patterns and yoke to the beautiful shoulder patch to the nice, non-italicized lettering.

But that logo is a baseball design, man.

Score:

Home: 1/10
Away: 2/10
Alternate: 4/10
Overall: 7/30

25. Carolina Hurricanes

Home: Why would you choose that shade of red for a hockey jersey? It's way too bright, and it looks so off on the ice. When it looks like six candy canes are roaming around the ice, you haven't chosen a good colour.

The rest of the jersey is fine, except for the annoyingly-boring logo. The design is nice and simple, and the lack of a patch is refreshing.

Away: One of the best jerseys in the NHL. White and this shade of pinky-red go really well together, and this jersey does a nice job, of showing that, Car-oh.






Alternate: The logo is decent, I guess. Everything else about the jersey isn't.

There's a patch, which is the main logo (which I don't like), done in grayscale. Ding!
There is an overload of black on the jersey. Ding!
The pattern at the bottom is incredibly complex and too busy. Ding!
There is an overload of grey on the uniform. Ding!

Score: 

Home: 1/10 
Away: 8/10
Alternate: Nope/10
Overall: 9/30



Positions 24 - 19 will be revealed tomorrow.