Sunday, April 3, 2011

The 2011 Third String Goalie Jersey Bracket - Round 1

As is popular every year around this time, "March Madness" takes hold and brackets of all sorts are created to determine the best of the best, hence we bring you the 2011 Third String Goalie Jersey Bracket to determine which NHL jersey we feel stands alone above all others.

Some very basic rules we used were to use an online bracket creator to randomly seed all 86 NHL jerseys used this season as documented by NHLUniforms.com, leaving out any one time only jerseys such as those worn in the Winter Classic, giving the top 16 seeds in random order to the Original 6. Beyond that, we let the chips fall where they may. Lace up your skates and tie-neck collars, we're on to Round 1!

To follow along with the tournament as it develops, please visit our bracket online!

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The tournament begins with matchup #1 with #64 the Anaheim Ducks Alternate against #65 the Pittsburgh Penguins Alternate with the victory going to the Penguins Alternate. Although we hate powder blue as a color for a professional sports franchise, feeling it's best suited to a baby's room, it's popularity and vintage looks far out weigh anything crested with a duck's footprint.

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Matchup #2 is #49 the New York Islanders Home jersey against #80 the Minnesota Wild Road jersey. No matter how many times the Islanders keep trying to kill this jersey, it being the symbol of the Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty of the 1980's dictates that it keeps coming back, again and again. The while Wild jersey gets points for it's unique "fuzzy bear" number font, even if it is a bit cartoonish, but the jersey did suffer a bit when it was turned into an Reebok Edge jersey, the narrowing of the gold and red stripes down the arms, it loses out to the latest version of the classic Islanders jersey.

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Matchup #3 is #48 the Los Angeles Kings Alternate against #81 the Phoenix Coyotes Road jersey. The white Coyotes jersey was such an improvement over it's bizarre predecessor that it easily defeats the Kings colorless alternate.

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Matchup #4 sees #57 the Nashville Predators Road jersey taking on #72 the San Jose Sharks Road jersey. Nashville loses all kinds of points for having low contrast silver on the shoulders and down the arms instead of blue, as well as Reebok's "apron strings" piping on the front. Going up against San Jose's classic striping and colored shoulders doesn't help at all, giving San Jose the easy win.

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Matchup #5 has #56 the Columbus Blue Jackets Alternate against #73 the Vancouver Canucks Home jersey. While we are not fans of the Canucks unattractive number font and the odd negative look to their recolored main logo, which used to be blue on both the home and away jerseys when it was originally introduced back in 1997, or the fact the crest is made smaller by the obtrusive "Vancouver" above it, the Blue Jackets horrid new alternate defies belief with it's utterly boring clip art cannon logo and rancid, futuristic number font paired with a vintage looking jersey that makes generous use of antique white. Vancouver in a breeze.

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Matchup #6 is #61 the San Jose Sharks Home jersey against #68 the Atlanta Thrashers Home jersey. With the controversial Thrashers asymmetrical navy blue left arm with a garish "Atlanta" running down the sleeve paired with the less than intimidating powder blue body color and white numbers outlined in yellow being on the leading edge of ugly and stupid, they push the whole package over the edge by choosing a lace up collar, cramming an old school element onto an otherwise completely modern design. The Sharks advance by virtue of being paired against the worst jersey in the league.

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Matchup #7 is #52 the St. Louis Blues Road jersey taking on #77 the Tampa Bay Lightning Home jersey. We've never liked the fact Tampa Bay wore black instead of blue, and the choice of going with a standard block font several seasons ago instead of the old paintbrush style numbers they used to use means Tampa Bay has no chance against the simple but effective Blues white road jersey, despite Reebok's apron strings. St. Louis moves on.

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Matchup #8 is #45 the Nashville Predators Alternate taking on #84 the Philadelphia Flyers Road jersey. Nashville's alternate is part of a recent trend in alternate jerseys, which we are not fans of. Rather than promoting a club's secondary color to first line status on the alternate jersey as in the past, the new trend is to compliment a team's primary colored jersey with...

a primary colored alternate that also dumps a team's contrasting third trim color, in this case yellow, which creates another dark, essentially monochromatic jersey that looks like the yellow inkjet cartridge on the Predator's printer just ran out. The Flyers white road jersey, retained from it's debut in the Winter Classic, advances easily.

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Matchup #9 sees #63 the New York Islanders Road jersey up against #69 the Pittsburgh Penguins Road jersey. While the Penguins white road jersey is not as strong as their home black, it gets the nod over the Islanders road jersey, which is also not as strong as it's blue home counterpart. Penguins in a shootout.

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Matchup #10 has the #53 New Jersey Devils Road jersey battling the #76 Colorado Avalanche Alternate jersey. The Devils high contrast white jerseys with black and red accents easily trounces the Av's horrible steel blue alternates. If you just have to combine that shade of blue with burgundy, it should never, ever be the predominate color.

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Matchup #11, which completes the top half of the bracket in Round 1, has #44 the Anaheim Ducks Home jersey up against #85 the Florida Panthers Alternate. The Panthers advance with their two shades of blue and classic hockey striping in a jersey somewhat reminiscent of the classic University of Maine jerseys, while the Ducks use of a wordmark better suited to being a secondary logo, over inflated number font and swoopy stripes cost it any chance to move on.

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Moving on to the bottom half of the bracket, matchup #12 has #63 the Colorado Avalanche Road jersey facing #66 the Edmonton Oilers Home jersey. Edmonton's modern take on their Gretzky era jerseys wins over the Avalanche's road whites, a jersey which suffered more at the hands of the change to the Edge jerseys as much as any, losing it's distinctive mountain range striping pattern along the waist in the transition. Edmonton takes this one without a struggle.

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Matchup #13 has #50 the Pittsburgh Penguins Home jersey up against #79 the Atlanta Thrashers Alternate. While we have seen the Thrashers burgundy alternate near the top of more than one "worst jersey" list, often comparing it's styling to that of a football jersey, we don't really have the same animosity for it. However, it doesn't have a chance against the Penguins striking black home jersey done in by far the best of the Reebok templates used for the conversion to Edge jerseys in 2007.

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Matchup #14 is #47 the Carolina Hurricanes Road jersey up against #82 the Minnesota Wild Home jersey. What if the Minnesota Wild were an Original 6 team? They would have worn this sweater some time in the 1940's. Some cannot get past the "Christmas" aspect of the color combination, but the vintage perfection of this "sweater", including the felt logo, makes it a winner over Carolina's nice road jersey, highlighted by he use of the hurricane warning flags as the waist stripe and one of the best secondary logos going. Minnesota in overtime.

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Matchup #15 is #58 the Tampa Bay Alternate up against #71 the Washington Capitals Home jersey. While we heartily approve of the Lightning's choice of blue as the primary color for their alternate jersey, using "Bolts" diagonally splashed across the front dooms the jersey to a quick Round 1 exit when facing Washington's well received modern take on their original jerseys.

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Matchup #16 has #55 the Columbus Blue Jackets Home jersey facing #74 the New Jersey Devils Home jersey. We'd like the Blue Jackets jersey more if the area above the white and red arm stripes were white, giving the all-navy blue jersey contrasting shoulders instead. Meanwhile New Jersey's red home jersey looks set to join the Original 6 as a classic, unchanging look which is already associated with multiple Stanley Cups. A close one, but New Jersey advances due to having more contrast.

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Matchup #17 is #62 the Buffalo Sabres Alternate up against #67 the Edmonton Oilers Alternate. The Oilers alternate dates back to the debut of the Reebok Edge jerseys in 2007 and is saddled with the worst of the Edge templates, resulting in apron string piping and oddly shaped stripes on the arms which cannot even manage to wrap all the way around. Even Edmonton has demoted this jersey from being the primary home to the alternate, and now the Sabres new "faux-back" demotes it right out of the bracket.

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Matchup #18 has #51 the Vancouver Canucks Alternate facing #78 the Phoenix Coyotes Alternate jersey. In an upset, the Coyotes unique alternate, which works really well in it's black and brick red colors and we like the dynamic running coyote main logo. This jersey also rates among the ones that look even better in action. While the Canucks use of the "stick in rink" logo is an improvement over the orca logo with the wordmark, the original Canucks jerseys were simply not that great to begin with, and their attempt at a modernization still leaves you with a basic jersey and a really dull main crest, even if modernized a bit.

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Matchup #19 puts #46 the St. Louis Blues Alternate jersey in against #83 the Columbus Blue Jackets Road jersey. Oh man, what a tough one to call. The Blue Jackets striking jersey gets high marks for it's colors and template, but we just love the Blues alternates which incorporates the St. Louis Arch in a newly created logo for this classy navy jersey. The balance tips toward St. Louis due to the Blue Jackets main crest falling short as a primary, as we've always felt it was more suited to being a secondary logo.

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Matchup #20 is #59 the Minnesota Wild Alternate jersey versus #70 the Buffalo Sabres Home jersey. Buffalo loses this one despite a good effort, but the unnecessary piping on the front and the contrasting colored armpits as well as the silver outlines on the yellow stripes leave the Sabres short of Minnesota's attempt to capture retro perfection in a bottle twice. We think it could have used red upper arms to give it a shot of color, but it's enough to make it to the next round.

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Matchup #21 pits #54 the Carolina Hurricanes Alternate jersey against #75 the Calgary Flames Alternate. Carolina loses simply for taking the red and black hurricane warning flag waist stripes from the home and road jersey and sucking all the color out of them. Hello? You can't change the colors of the flags without changing the meaning of them! If it's not a red and black flag, it just becomes a geometric stripe of grey squares in black squares. The primary logo used as the secondary shoulder logo also gets the same treatment of having all it's color sucked out, making it nearly invisible in a location that could use a shot of color. Too bad, because the secondary logo promoted to the primary, combined with the sharp black jersey and wonderful italicized number font makes this otherwise one of our favorites of the Reebok era. Calgary's alternate, reviving their original, Stanley Cup winning jersey wins going away.

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The final pairing of Round 1, matchup #22, pairs #43 the Calgary Flames Home jersey with #86 the Atlanta Thrashers Road jersey. Atlanta pulls off the upset in spite of being saddled with Reebok's apron string template and some unexplainable white slashes on the lower arms, but Calgary's continued use of a black "flaming C" just irritates the heck out of us. Black is a "cool" color, the color of something cold and dead. It is not a "hot" color, such as white, yellow, orange or red, any one of which the Flames main crest should be. Just look no further than the Flames road or alternate jerseys to see how it should be done. Until then, the red jersey with the black "C" remains dead to us.

This wraps up the opening Round 1 of the 2011 Third String Goalie Jersey Bracket.

Please check back for the 2nd Round when the top seeded heavy hitters from the Original 6 join the competition, as well as 26 other new competitors. In the meantime, feel free to add your comments below!

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