Tuesday: Frozen Four Bracketology

Welcome back to HJC for the Tuesday post. The winding down of hockey season is always a bittersweet time. The long offseason looms menacingly ever nearer, but before it comes to suffocate the joys of hockey, the playoffs give the season one last firery burst of excitement.

Pro hockey still has a bit of regular season before its playoffs, but cawlidge hawkey has eliminated the pretenders; it's now time for a champion. Here's my bracket for this year's NCAA Frozen Four.

Created using College Hockey News' Bracket Contest

I feel a lot less confident about my bracket this year than previous years; no team has repeated as National Champion in quite some time, and putting a 4 seed in the National Championship game may be risky business, but I'll stand behind my picks. A lot of teams seem to be limping in to the tournament; Notre Dame was the uncontested #1 for most of the regular season, but slid back in February. Cornell had the best regular season record in the nation, but failed to win its conference tournament. #1 overall seed St. Cloud St. also failed to take home any hardware from its tournament. Denver won the ever-challenging NCHC conference tournament, and has largely stepped up their play in the last month, which gives me the most confidence that they'll come out on top.

Did you fill out a bracket this year? Share your picks in the comments if you're playing along at home.

Speaking of playoffs, HJC's The Season is down to its title game. Much unlike in that bounceyball sport, the Solar Bears didn't falter as the top overall seed, but can the Canucks pull off the upset? That's up to you to decide! Vote for your champion, and come back on Saturday for the winner, and a reveal of who made each concept! Also in voting, strong submissions last week put 4 concepts in this week's COTW, so vote now!

COTW March 9-15 vote (ends Friday @ noon ET)
The Season Final vote (ends Friday @ noon ET)

Mitch S.- Toronto Blue Jays

America's Pastime in the Great White North inspires Mitch with this Blue Jays crossover. First of all, I strongly recommend that you include your name or an ID on your concepts. I'm at a loss finding justification for the design. The 90's-esque angled striping doesn't compliment the Jays' current brand, which calls back to something much more traditional and less edgy. I see a similar identity was used by the team during the 90's, but I see that more as in the decade and not of the decade. It's also on a completely different angle than those of the logo. The darker blue stripe isn't different enough from the lighter blue to make a sharp enough distinction; the result makes it look more like a mistake than a design decision. Other than that, the colors are done nicely, especially using the red sparingly as an accent. I usually don't like the Adidas color split color like that, but I can see rationale to have the red as an accent here. The logo choice is the most fitting for a baseball-to-hockey crossover.

Grade: D

 Taylor R.- Clarkson University Golden Knights

Taylor heads to Potsdam, New York to continue his NCAA series, for the only Golden Knights outside of Nevada who aren't crusading against the US Trademark Office. If there's a trend I hate more than any else, it's black for black's sake, especially for schools; school colors represent so much more than a hockey team, and almost always predate the teams themselves. I would much prefer a green helmet and pants, with black eliminated or just as an accent. Color selection aside, the striping is gorgeous. If black must be in the design, I like do like how it's is used against the white so separate the yellow. The complimentary yoke stripes to the traditional sleeve and hem stripes give the jersey a perfect amount of color. The logo selection was the right choice; the team also has a logo with just the knight's helmet, which is much weaker than this one as a primary.

Grade: B+ 

T.C. M.- Vintage Classic (Tampa Bay Lighting vs San Jose Sharks)

Friday writer TC continues his Vintage Classic series.

Tampa Bay: There's something about a dual stripe design that's so fitting for the Lightning. The broad stripes across the chest conveys it terrifically. Adding the solid block of white around the hem and cuffs certainly helps to keep the jersey from being too bland, though the hem block is a bit too large and begins to draw too much attention to itself. The pants striping could be thicker to match the rest of the set. The blue outlines of the number on the back could stand to be thicker for better legibility against the chest stripe. The name on the back would benefit from having its font match that of the logo.
Lighting Grade: B

San Jose: Where the broad stripes work for the Lightning, the Sharks thinner stripes are still a strong, central element by adding the third stripe. The design's balance is experty created by sandwiching the stripes between the yoke and hem/cuff stripes. The socks should have just one set of 3 stripes, to keep the entirety of the design coherent. The color section is very fitting for the design, especially as a fauxback; it may be tempting to try and add white or orange, but the simple contrast between the teal and black looks sharp. Block letters can work as a crest logo, but it's just not strong enough here. Without a third color or thicker teal outline, it's just as prominent as the stripes behind it. As with the Lighting, thicker pants stripes would better match the jersey, and thicker number outlines would go a long way for legibility.
Sharks Grade: B

Overall Grade: B

My COTW nomination goes to Taylor R.'s Clarkson Golden Knights. Thanks for joining me today for another exciting adventure through the wide world of sports. See you next week, and keep your stick on the ice.
Tuesday: Frozen Four Bracketology Reviewed by Ben Shaffer on March 20, 2018 Rating: 5

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