Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Columbus Blue Jackets unveiled their brand new third jersey on November 24th of this year.
The jersey received mixed reviews with PuckDrawn cleverly and hilariously pointing out the similarity of the new Blue Jackets jersey to the St. Louis Blues 2008-09 blue third jersey with a circular logo, the Pittsburgh Penguins light blue 2008 Winter Classic jerseys with a circular logo, the Florida Panthers 2009-10 blue alternates with a circular logo and the Penguins blue 2011 Winter Classic jerseys with, yes, yet another circular logo.
Personally, we thought the cannon logo looked to much like clip art and being constrained inside the circular banner with the team name shrunk the cannon down in size too much for the fine details of the cannon. We would have preferred the cannon freed from the constraints of the circle, allowing it to be made larger, more stylized, dynamic and intimidating by having it in the act of firing a puck in a dramatic burst of smoke.
We are also most definitely not fans of the font chosen for the numbers, which look like they were applied with duct tape and come across too "digital", giving them a modern, if not futuristic, look, which conflicts with the retro look of the jersey's template, lace-up collar and heritage inspired logo. We are also puzzled by the "blueification" of the jersey, as the color red is completely banished in a manner similar to the Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators alternate jerseys, which delete all the red and yellow respectively from their color palettes.
The Blue Jackets first wore the new third jersey with it's cannon logo on November 26th, a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
In an unusual move, the Blue Jackets again wore their new alternates two nights later, again versus Detroit, only this time on the road at the Joe Louis Arena, apparently gunning for maximum exposure to kickoff the holiday shopping season. That game was also won by the Red Wings, this time by a score of 4-2.
It was back to their normal home blue jerseys on December 1st (a 4-3 shootout loss to the Nashville Predators) before once more wearing the new dark third jerseys, again on the road, against the Buffalo Sabres, who defeated the Blue Jackets by a resounding 5-0 score.
After the thumping they took from the Sabres, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire against the NHL's hottest club, the Penguins, who were riding an eight game winning streak heading into their game with the visiting Blue Jackets, who once more were wearing their alternate jersey for the fourth time in five games. The sad result was a second consecutive five goal loss, this time by a score of 7-2, dropping the new alternate jerseys to a record of 0-4 while being outscored 18-5 in all.
In the Blue Jackets next two games, they defeated Dallas 3-2 at home in a shootout while wearing their home blue jerseys, ending a five game losing streak, and then lost to St. Louis 4-1 wearing their white road jerseys, which had not seen the ice since a win at the New York Islanders on November 24th, the day the new alternates were unveiled.
Now, despite a year and a half in the making, the jersey apparently is now on the outs with the coach and players and may very well be an endangered species. The players and coaches decided to stick with their regular blue home jerseys on December 11th for their game against the New York Rangers, a game which was scheduled to be one of the dates the new alternate jersey was to have been worn. To further justify the decision to stick with their standard home jerseys, the Blue Jackets went out and defeated the Rangers 3-1.
Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel, when questioned about the absence of the expected third jerseys stated, "I just thought our red pants against their red pants would look really cool. Did it fall on me? I think there are a few fans around the city that were thinking the same thing."
The team's equipment manager Tim LeRoy fell on his sword as he claimed responsibility for the change, "It's my fault, I forgot to put (the third jerseys) out."
Printed inside the collar of each of the new jerseys is "We fight. We march!" but perhaps it should be amended to "We fight! We march! We wear whatever we want!"
A team spokesperson, no doubt pressured by the marketing department, the team's retail manager and any number of large retailers in the Columbus area such as JC Penny and Kohl's, said that the team would again wear the third jerseys for Saturday's game against Dallas.
While the Blue Jackets may not abandon their new alternate jerseys, there have been instances in the past of teams rejecting jerseys after just a few wearings. Some of the most spectacular failures have included British soccer powers Manchester United's ill-fated grey change strip. Losing 3-0 at halftime to Southampton, club manager Sir Alex Ferguson stormed into the locker room and the first words out of his mouth were "Get that kit off, you're getting changed." The shirts had a record of four losses and a tie in four and a half games and were never worn again. Following the change away from the grey jerseys, Manchester United won every one of their remaining games to win the 1996 English Premier League title.
The 1987 Minnesota Twins introduced their new alternate tops in 1997, with the road version being blue, while the home jerseys were red. The red jerseys were first worn at home on Sunday, April 6th and again on April 27th, both losses. After the jerseys were called the "Dairy Queen jerseys" in reference to team sponsor Dairy Queen's red logo positioned behind home plate and their employees red shirts, Twins manager Tom Kelly put a permanent end to the use of the Twins red jerseys.
The NHL is not immune of course, with the two most notorious examples being the alternate jerseys worn by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Kings in 1996. After being reviled by both players and fans, both jerseys, dubbed the "Wild Wing" and "Burger King" jerseys, were worn approximately 6 times each and immediately retired from use to spare the players and further embarrassment.
Perhaps the most recent example of an "epic fail" is the Dallas Stars "Mooterus" jersey, worn the absolute minimum number of times allowed by the NHL in 2005-06 and then joyously dumped as quickly as possible. "Good riddance," said Stars owner Tom Hicks. "The funny thing is that you can't find anyone around here who will take credit for designing it. Nobody's left."
While the Blue Jackets new jersey may live to see another day, and perhaps another season if their record wearing it improves with time, their alternate mascot "Boomer", introduced in conjunction with the new jersey, looks to be already living on borrowed time due to the juvenile reaction to his apparent phallic resemblance. Not only that, it's been reported that he actually shoots white t-shirts out of the top of his head!
Personally, we think he looks like salt shaker in a wheel chair, but the damage has been done and Boomer (aka "General Phallus") is set to be phased out by season's end.
Today's featured jersey is a 2010-11 Columbus Blue Jackets Rick Nash jersey. While not as notorious as the "Wild Wing" or "Burger King" jerseys, you may want to consider buying one now in case the team does in fact drop this jersey even before reaching the fifteen game minimum for new alternate jerseys according to league rules, as it could become a sought after collectible like many of the other short-lived jerseys in sports history.
Tune in Saturday to see if in fact the marketing department or the coaching staff win the battle of which jerseys the team will wear against Dallas this weekend.