If the unveiling ceremony of the new NHL jerseys at Wynn Las Vegas would have been conducted in the manner of a TV game show, these would have been good answers to the aptly named face-off question: “Name three things you don’t mess with.”
2. 42nd Street’s Big Jim Walker, the pool shootin’ son of a gun from that old Jim Croce song.
3. The hockey sweaters made famous by the Original Six franchises.
If the unveiling of the NHL jerseys would have been been conducted in the manner of a TV game show, it also would have been over in 30 minutes. Tuesday’s night’s session seemed to last longer than the Flyers’ 2-1, five-overtime victory over the Penguins during the 2000 Stanley Cup playoffs, and that was the third-longest game in NHL history.
When adidas assumed the jersey contract from its subsidiary Reebok, and word got out that 13 of the 31 teams (counting the Golden Knights, who did not have a say in the matter) would be getting new designs, hockey fans of a certain age raised a wary high stick.
There was fear, or at least 5-on-3 shorthanded angst, that the Original Six teams — Blackhawks, Bruins, Rangers, Red Wings, Canadiens, Maple Leafs — might hit the ice looking like Coco Crisp. With the exception of local slugger Kris Bryant, the baseball outfielder is one of the few pro athletes who have promotional deals with adidas that I can recall off the top of my helmet.
The big reveal didn’t start until around 7 p.m., roughly two hours after the puck was dropped on schmoozing at a Bell Centre-sized cocktail party at Intrigue nightclub. But adidas must have an assembly line in the White House basement — by mid-afternoon, leaked photos of the new sweaters started popping up on Reg Dunlop’s Twitter account.
The first two I saw were Nashville and St. Louis. Both were done tastefully, with the lack of striping, piping and other adornment around the shoulders being the most noticeable difference. This gave the new jerseys, called ADIZERO, more of a spartan appearance than the old ones.
More importantly, it also freed up the shoulder areas and a little space above the crest for sponsor patches.
The NHL has said that sponsor patches worn opposite the captain’s ‘C’ and alternate captains’ ‘A’ could help the league raise an additional $4 million per year, per team. This new deal with adidas is for seven years, during which most insiders (and cynics) believe that hockey jerseys will start to resemble Kyle Busch’s NASCAR ride.
A story for another day, perhaps. This one was all about the big reveal, which, I have to say, turned out to be far less dramatic than most you see with the Property Brothers on HGTV.
A Canadian comic dressed like the Good Humor man — turned out to be false advertising — tried to dig some jokes out the corner for 15 minutes, and as somebody said through the smoke machine wisps, where’s Denis Leary when you need him?
Knights in gold satin
The curtain was lowered on the Golden Knights’ uniform first.
One man’s take — they’ll probably look OK to pretty cool on the players on my table hockey game.
I’m not a fan of the gold lame stripe on the sleeves. The white gloves? Unique and sublime. I can’t wait see one of the lumbering fourth-line types the Knights are going to select in Wednesday’s expansion draft drop them and get five for fighting.
As for the Original Six uniforms, there were subtle changes. But like Dennis “Pee Wee” Maruk, you sort of had to look for them.
There’s a reason the Original Six teams usually rank 1 through 6 in most polls ranking NHL uniforms from best to worst. Unfortunately, the Anaheim Ducks’ logo still reminds me of a Batarang or some sort of flying invertebrate, but give adidas credit: When the curtains were lowered, there was nary a University of Oregon-inspired hockey uniform to be seen.
Big Jim Walker would have approved.
Contact Ron Kantowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.