Monday, August 10, 2009

1995-96 Vancouver Canucks Alternate Trevor Linden Jersey

Today kicks off a new theme to fill the dog days of the hockey off season where the historical events in hockey history are few and far between.

Without further delay, we give you The Curious, Weird and Ugly™ Collection. I don't actually dislike all of the jerseys that we will be featuring, in fact we quite like a few very much. But there are others that are so bad, so horrible, that they make us downright angry at the thought process that led to them seeing the light of day in the first place. Seriously, it was bad enough that some dummy came up with the concept in the first place, but then a whole series of people in authority had to approve them before they ever saw the light of day!

First up, a 1995-96 Vancouver Canucks Alternate Trevor Linden jersey.

Now, there had been diagonal elements in jerseys prior to the introduction of this red (or is it black?) Vancouver Canucks first-ever alternate jersey, such as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim jerseys of 1993-94, but gradients were a new development in 1995-96. To the best of my knowledge, the dye-sublimation printing process, which allowed for the gradients to be incorporated into the jersey designs, had never been used before in the NHL but made it's presence known with the jerseys introduced as part of the NHL's new alternate jersey program with jerseys featuring gradients from the Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks.

While a case can be made for the St. Louis Blues jersey being a two color jersey, the Canucks was a genuine two color affair, with the amount of black and red being much closer to 50-50 than the Blues predominately blue road sweaters.

The main design element of the Canucks jersey is the rather clever extension of the coloring of the Canucks logo across the body of the jersey. The black background of the logo, as was the yellow lettering of the word "Canucks" that made up the skate blade, were both extended outward from the diagonally oriented logo, with the striping on the left side of the jersey fading away to nothing. An odd decision was the upward angle the stripes took on the right side of the jersey, giving the stripes a "checkmark" look instead of having them continue uninterrupted to the side of the jersey, as the Mighty Ducks and St. Louis Blues jerseys did.

Yet another curious choice was that the upward tick to the chest stripes were not in alignment with the arm stripes. You would think as long as they decided to make the chest stripes change direction in midstream, they would have continued those stripes at a matching angle across the arm instead of orienting the arm stripes at their own unique angle independent of the chest stripes.

Unlike some of the contemporary alternates introduced by other clubs that same season, which were quickly rejected failures, the Canucks new alternate jerseys lasted two full seasons, worn with solid black socks their first season and with red socks with stripes similar to the jerseys the second. No additional patches were worn on this alternate jersey during it's brief two-season existence.

This Canucks jersey does have a few things in it's favor though. The list of players who wore it is rather impressive, as the Canucks were filled with recognizable names like Alexander Mogilny, captain Trevor Linden, Cliff Ronning, Martin Gelinas, Jyrki Lumme, Esa Tikkanen, Bret Hedican, Adrian Aucoin, Markus Naslund, goaltender Kirk McLean and superstar Pavel Bure, who was temporarily wearing sweater #96 at the time.

Another thing it has going for it is the way it fits in with the home and road jerseys, as it uses the same main crest and uses what is normally a trim color, red, as a primary color. The names and numbers are all very legible, with the yellow standing out nicely from the red background, and are done in the same fonts as the home and road jerseys for a consistency across the entire set.

Overall, I classify this jersey as "Curious" due to mainly the "checkmark" chest stripe and the introduction of the gradient stripes.

Vancouver Canucks 95-97 F
Vancouver Canucks 95-97 B

Here's a lucky find, the Vancouver Canucks red alternates in game action versus the Hartford Whalers (for a truly excellent jersey matchup), although it's more fist throwing action than puck shooting action, but sometimes you take what you can get. Don't forget to take notice of future Italian National Team goaltender Jason Muzzati in net for the Whalers.

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