November 13, 2009
The incomparable Paul Lukas of UniWatch has labeled the new Colorado Avalanche jerseys "really bad," and perhaps they are. (See a full gallery of yesterday's third jersey unveiling with Kyle Quincey(notes) and Paul Stastny(notes) on the Avs' Web site.) But we began our assessment of them with a three-part test that can be applied to most alternate sweaters in the NHL:
1. Are they better looking than the Atlanta Thrashers' third jerseys, the current baseline for alternate sweater awfulness? Undoubtedly yes.
2. Are they better than the franchise's previous third jerseys? Tough call. The earlier ones that were worn through 2007 played up the maroon in the uniform while this one accentuates the blue. From a traditionalist standpoint, the first one has a more classic vibe; the new sweater looks like the previous one re-imagined for a gay pride parade. (This is meant to be a validation of their relative flamboyance; read nothing more into it.)
3. Are they an improvement on, or more appealing than, the franchise's primary jerseys? We've come under fire here before for calling the Avalanche's "alphabetic log flume" logo outdated, but this new sweater makes their normal gear look practically iconic.
So are they "really bad," so-so or an improvement over the Avalanche's other sweaters?
As you'll see, opinions from the locals are decidedly mixed, so we'll put it to you first:
Pass or Fail: The Colorado Avalanche's new third jerseys.
The third jersey design is a collaboration of ideas from the Colorado Avalanche (including Kroenke Sports Enterprises Creative Imaging), the National Hockey League and Reebok. The third jersey has a predominately blue color scheme with a diagonal COLORADO type, laces at the neckline and stripes on the sleeves. Two rounds of sweater prototypes were tested and ran on ice before the final version was made.
Wonder what the other rounds looked like ...
Anyway, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post gave the new duds a rave on his All Things Avs blog titled "Avs third jerseys - tangled up in blue":
I love the new third jerseys, only if it allowed me to work in a reference to my favorite Bob Dylan song in the headline. But still, I like 'em. Nice shade of aqua blue, mixed in with a little burgundy red on the sides. To me, those are looks of pride on the faces of Paul Stastny and Kyle Quincey above (Milan Hejduk(notes) was supposed join Stastny down the runway today, but the stick-in-the-mud Avs' policy of "no injured players talking to the media" applied) as they model them.
I think they catch the eye in an appealing way, but then again, I also had a crush on Tonya Harding once. So put me down in the yay column on the new togs.
Joe Dunman of Mile High Hockey says "yay ... not so much" in his solid assessment of the third jerseys:
My first criticism is the blue that dominates the jersey. Why choose a color that isn't quite the standard Avalanche blue but also not the blue used by the Quebec Nordiques? Even Paul Stastny thinks the new jerseys are a subtle homage to the previous incarnation of the Colorado franchise, but he's wrong. For one, the Avs don't have the rights to use the Nordiques logos or color schemes, and two, they've only once made a conscious effort to recognize that part of the team's history. The new third jerseys are not a true nod to the Quebec years.
My second criticism is lack of bottom striping. We've seen how teams can effectively use the bottom of the jersey to tie the other aesthetic elements together. The Boston Bruins look pretty excellent in both their home and away jerseys. Even with the non-traditional bottom shape of the current RBK jerseys, bottom striping can help teams retain a traditional look.
Fair points. Tapeleg offers his take here as well. Finally, we commend our friend Jibblescribbits for a fantastic "buying guide" to the new Avalanche sweaters that warns of potential Jersey Foul pitfalls.
Our verdict? Middle of the road. The blue gives them a distinct look, and might actually make more sense thematically given that 10 days buried under an Avalanche will not make you turn maroon. If you're one that believes franchises signal new eras with their uniform changes, then this is a more vivacious look for the team of Matt Duchene(notes) and Ryan O'Reilly(notes) than the more traditional alt-sweater for the team of Joe Sakic(notes).
That said, we totally agree with Dunman on the striping: Its absence almost makes these duds look incomplete.
Bottom line: We're still not sure if we're happy or sad that the Avalanche have never given fans a Yeti-centric jersey.