In Defence of 2018's "Worst"

Upon reflection it may seem 2018 was the year Adidas took all the optimism built up in 2017-18 with no screwing up solid jersey identities built in the ashes of the disastrous 2007-08 Edge unveiling, and threw it all away. I'm not suggesting there were many bad designs this year, in fact there were very few I would say are definitively bad.  That being said this was a very boring year for jersey design, where we saw most teams opt for throwback jerseys we've seen within the past 3 years. Of the original designs and the carryovers from 2016-17 none of those had nothing I didn't like given some times to think things over, but that's not what matters. I'm here to defend or at least put some perspective on jerseys that received negative press this year.

Carolina Hurricanes Double Storm Flag Alternate:

Photo from ESPN
When this was unveiled I held no bars and called it one of the worst alternates ever. That somehow this would be one of the turdburgers, so early in Adidas's time as the NHL's jersey producer. The other HJC writers were no more impressed than I was and despite their assumption I would like these as I tend to like black jerseys and like Carolina's previous black jersey.

HJC's own Corey happens to have this jersey in his collection  so I'll use this lovely photo he sent me to show you the positives of this jersey. I think I was quite hard on this jersey, namely because photos and press releases shows the primary to be much more vertical than horizontal, which if you don't know, hockey logos don't do well if they are too vertical. The "storm grey" yoke looked not particularly great on the mock ups, but in real life, it's an okay idea, it stands out more than I thought it would. The state flag patch isn't the best idea, but you can't see it much anyways to whatever. The heathered stripes I'm quite fond of now, and the inverted stripes the arms aren't the first time we've seen that type of  arm pattern (2014 Detroit WC).

2018 Western Conference All Star Jerseys (Pacific & Central)

Photo from San Gabriel Valley Tribune 
The NHL All Star game, especially after this year's unveiling, has yet to really have a unanimously positive jersey set probably since 2004, maybe 2011 for some, but that isn't to say 2018's were bad, far from it. The biggest problem with 2018 was the same as 2017, as you had a black and white set that worked fine. This year brought back the classic orange black and white for the first time since 1993. The striping was pretty solid, and would have been probably the best in years if not for the fact they opted for half arm striping. The Adidas stripes on the side weren't too distracting, and I'm a huge fan on the bridge style ares. The biggest criticism is that they looked like glorified practice jerseys, and while I couldn't say they're that simple, but they do a good enough job. The problem was you had two more. The Metro looked okay in grey, volt green and black, and the Atlantic was meh in blue and volt green, but the West had a look that could have made excellent jerseys in a normal East v West.

All the Damn Throwbacks

Photo from NHL.com
Not to pick on Calgary and Edmonton too much on this subject as I do on the Jersey Nerds Podcast, but this was not the best year for new alternate designs. Winnipeg, Anaheim, San Jose and Carolina are the only teams unveil truly new alts. Philly, NYI & Pittsburgh made the right call to bring back their 2017/2014 SS jerseys with some minor changes, while Columbus, Colorado, and LA brought back previous Edge alternates. The only alternate from last year, Ottawa's NHL100 jersey did come back as expected, but that leaves St. Louis, Edmonton, Calgary, Arizona, New Jersey and Washington  all doing throwbacks. The worst offender were the Alberta teams as they couldn't even wait a 2nd season before bringing back their old jerseys. That being said...at least as far as I'm concerned, many of us can't complain too much, this is what we asked for. Maybe it's a byproduct of the Edge era, but the call for throwbacks extends long past the Adidas era's short life so far. A lot of hockey fans have been demanding their favourite jerseys of the past be brought back as alternates or outdoor jersyesMaybe the best solution is to do what Winnipeg, opts to do, and wear their Heritage (not alternate) jerseys twice a year or so against old rivals from the WHA, allowing for their actual alternate to be worn more. I'd have no issue with this, but Calgary has now brought back their red '89 jerseys 4 times, so either shit or get off the pot!

Pyeongchang Olympic Jersey Templates

Photo from Vancouver Courrier 
I'm specifically defending the templates, since the idea to either use just a script or some crappy 3d beveled maple leafs I can't really think of a thing I like about that other than making room for a Norge Viking ship. We saw this template at the World Championships and the World Juniors, and once you add some logos, the jerseys improve massively. The determining factor is whether your country can support a gradient style. The USA jerseys with a proper logo look better, but as Ryan has brought up, the US using two shades of blue doesn't work. On the other hand, it really works for Finland, and their WJHC jerseys are probably the best they've ever worn. It also works for Switzerland as they change their jerseys so often these are probably the best they've ever worn. With the exception of Finland I don't want any team to keep these jerseys past when they contractually have to, but at least they weren't as bad as say the 2006 template.

What jerseys/logos from 2018 did you thing weren't nearly as bad as people were saying they were. I didn't mention a few such as the Washington Capitals SS, since the reception on that was closer to mixed than outright negative. That being said, tell us what you think! 

In Defence of 2018's "Worst" Reviewed by winnipegjets96 on January 16, 2019 Rating: 5

1 comment:

Geoff said...

Based on the number of throwbacks unveiled I almost hope the NHL and Adidas look at a model similar to the NBA and Nike and have home, road, retro (used very sparingly) and an actual alternate.

I'm disappointed in the Blues recycling their Winter Classic. I think those jerseys should remain special event jerseys and be used for that game only. However too many teams have already used them as an alternate after. I think it makes them less special by being used after the fact. Although I contradict myself by saying the Blues should have used the WC Alumni game jersey as their alternate.

Hopefully as All star game hosts next year they make up for how plain this year's all star jerseys are. The only idea that should carry over for next year is the team logos on the jersey instead of nhl shield. I'm hoping for a yellow jersey with a Blues logo for an option. Based on their history of colors used I could see, blue, yellow, red and white Jersey options.

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