Saturday, 19 October 2013

Saturday Power Ranking - Oct 19


Hey everybody, here is my 2nd version of my weekly power rankings.  There isn't too much change since last week, but with a full week's worth of action to look at, lets see where everyone is:

1. San Jose Sharks (6-0-1) - Last Week: 1

Still no regulation loss, still the most goals in the league, still #1 on my ranking.

2. Colorado Avalanche (6-1-0) - Last Week: 2

With only one loss so far this year, to a Detroit team that is quickly rising, the Avs still look like a legitimate team.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins (4-1-0) - Last Week: 4

Only one loss this season, and the best goal differential besides San Jose.  Crosby has been on fire, which is great news for the Penguins.

4. Anaheim Ducks (6-1-0) - Last Week: 11

They've allowed the least amount of goals this season, and have been able to shut teams down with their defence while using their scoring depth to win games.  If the Sharks aren't careful, the Ducks will have a chance to contend for the Pacific division title.

5.  St. Louis Blues (5-1-1) - Last Week: 5

Right on the heels of the Avalanche, St. Louis' defence-first game is paying off in wins for the team.  It also helps when depth players are giving lots of offence to help close out games.

6. Detroit Red Wings (6-2-0) - Last Week: 20

Since last week, they've found the offence that has been absent from the team's best players.  The line of Alfie-Datsyuk-Zetterburg seems too deadly for most teams to handle.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs (6-2-0) - Last Week: 3

Tied with their division-rivals and Winter Classic opponents in Detroit, they've been able to put up great offensive numbers, despite being heavily outshot in the last few games.  It's a good thing their goalies have played well, their defencemen sure haven't helped.

8. Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-2) - Last Week: 10

Most of their games have been close, and they still haven't had as good of a season as some of the teams below, but they've been playing well and getting offence from every part of the lineup. It wont take much for this team to shoot up the rankings if they start finishing their games.

9. Montreal Canadiens (5-2-0) - Last Week: 19

After a pretty miserable start, they've won 4 straight, and are looking like they could compete with Toronto and Detroit for the Atlantic division lead.

10. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-2-0) - Last Week: 6

Along with Detroit, Toronto, Montreal, and Boston, Tampa Bay is proving why the Atlantic Division will be the the toughest division to win.  As expected, most of their offence has come from Stamkos-St. Louis, and their goaltending has been good, but slightly worse than Montreal, so thats why they've sank a bit.

11. Vancouver Canucks (5-3-1) - Last Week: 16

While they've been getting the job done for offence, they've been allowing too many goals to be a dominant force in the Pacific division, especially with teams like San Jose and Anaheim who are playing like champions right now.  Luongo has had great nights, and poor nights, and needs to find consistency for this team to do well.

12. Calgary Flames (3-1-2) - Last Week: 7

Calgary only played one game since the last ranking, a close loss to Anaheim.  They shown that they can compete with the tough teams in the division, but goaltending consistency from their unproven netminders is important if they want to stay afloat this year.  Tonight's game against San Jose will be a real test of their ability.

13. Carolina Hurricanes (3-2-3) - Last Week: 12

They aren't exactly doing well, but they're the 2nd best team in a relatively weak Metropolitan division. Their future franchise player Jeff Skinner is finally playing to expectations, which is great news for the 'Canes.

14. Boston Bruins (4-2-0) - Last Week: 8

They're ranking probably takes a hit from not playing as many games as the other Atlantic teams, but they've played well and will be a tough team to play against.  Their physical style will be hard for some of the smaller, quicker teams like Toronto and Detroit to compete against.

15. New York Islanders (3-2-2) - Last Week: 15

They are still getting the scoring from their big 5 guys mentioned last week, but goaltending is still a huge question mark for this team.  Regardless, the Islanders are one of the hardest teams to play at their home barn this year, giving their fans something good to watch before their eventual move to Brooklyn.

16. Ottawa Senators (3-3-2) - Last Week: 13

So far on the outside-looking-in for a divisional playoff spot, but they're able to stay close despite not getting enough secondary scoring to support this team in the long run.  Either Spezza and Ryan have to carry this team, or their 3rd and 4th lines (a constant revolving door) needs to start scoring.

17. Phoenix Coyotes (4-2-2) - Last Week: 17

The good news is that they haven't lost a regulation game this week.  The bad news is that they aren't getting enough offence to be able to finish games off in the win column.

18. Los Angeles Kings (5-3-0) - Last Week: 18

Same problem as Phoenix, they play too many close games that they can't finish off.  Despite having a winning record and allowing a small amount of goals, they've scored even less themselves, which means they can't find the offence to win those close games.

19. Minnesota Wild (3-3-2) - Last Week: 23

They were 2-2 last week, and kept pace with the Jets.  The Wild still get the better rank because they've had some great goaltending so far despite the injury troubles they've had to deal with.

20. Winnipeg Jets (4-4-0) - Last Week: 24

While they haven't made a huge jump in the ranking, they were able to keep pace with their rival Minnesota, and pass a Dallas team that looked very solid at the start of the season.  Hope is far from lost on this team.

21. Nashville Predators (3-3-1) - Last Week: 26

At 2-0-1 last week (and currently leading the Montreal Canadiens), they're looking better than how they started, and are helping to create a mess of things in the Central division.  Seth Jones is making sure everyone knows he belongs in the league.

22. Dallas Stars (3-3-0) - Last Week: 9

While we're talking about the Central division (since the bottom of the Eastern conference is really weak so far), Dallas has dropped down quite a bit in my rankings, ending up at the bottom of the division.  It says quite a bit about the division when the worst team is playing .500 hockey.


23. Washington Capitals (2-5-0) - Last Week: 25

It was really hard choosing who deserves to be the best out of the rest of the teams, because the rest of the teams from here on out have really sucked.  Washington gets the nod for 23rd because Ovechkin is actually playing, and they at least won a game last week, which is more than most of the other teams can say.


24. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-4-0) - Last Week: 14

Columbus goes next, even though they lost 3 straight, because they've at least kept games close.  They haven't played well by any means, but they still look like a competitive team in the weak Metropolitan division.

25. New York Rangers (2-4-0) - Last Week: 28

It hurts me to put the Rangers up this high, because they've been nothing but terrible.  But they won last week, have yet to play a home game, and started the year against some really tough opponents, so they get a little bit of a pass this week.

26. New Jersey Devils (0-4-3) - Last Week: 21

Even though they haven't won a game yet (but looks like they will tonight), their goaltending has been fairly decent, and they appear to be competing in most games, just catching most of the unlucky breaks.  Their biggest problem is scoring, or lack thereof.

27. Edmonton Oilers (2-6-1) - Last Week: 27

I'll finally get to the Oilers, who appear to have given up on Dubnyk by igniting some early-season trade rumours.  Yakupov is under the same microscope.  If the team doesn't turn around, then the Oilers might be losing some key players as they try to retool and figure out what is stalling this team's success.

30*. Florida Panthers (2-6-0) - Last Week: 22
30*. Philadelphia Flyers (1-7-0) - Last Week: 29
30*. Buffalo Sabres (1-7-1) - Last Week: 30

The reality is, none of these three teams deserve any distinction better than worst, so they're I'll make them tied for the worst rank this week.  All 3 teams have really struggled, having troubles scoring and letting in tons of goals.  Florida has one extra win, and has scored more goals, but have been embarrassing defensively with allowing 31 goals.  Only Edmonton has allowed more, but they have 4 more goals than the Flyers and Sabres combined.  Overall, its looking like a long season for these 3 clubs.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Lethbridge College, More BNG, and A Few Other Thoughts

So, it's been almost a long week without a single post, that's not good.  My life has been pretty busy as of late, and it can't be helped, but I really want to thank you guys for reading my blog still and keeping the blog alive.

*********************************************************************************

First, I wanna show off a few concepts I've made during the week:


Here's one I made for my current school, Lethbridge College.  The Kodiaks do not have a hockey team repping the school yet, but with their athletics logo and wordmark logo elements making up this jersey, as well as a classic looking 3rd jersey, I would be pretty happy if these jerseys were used.



This was done for a contest at HJC, making jerseys for the bottom 10 teams in the IIHF World Rankings.  I chose Israel simply because I had this design in my head already, and while it's a simplistic design, I still like how it turned out.

*********************************************************************************

While I'm talking about some concepts, let's take a look at some more designs sent in from Ricky at Buffalo Nickel Graphics:


Here is (I assume) a Colorado Avalanche redo. The logos are really cool, and it does relate to mountainous terrain for sure, but I'm not sure how 'Avalanchey' these logos are. The dog paw with the 'A' looks really good as a logo, but I thought at first it was for an Arizona logo (Future Arizona Coyotes logo? Could work).  The jerseys are nice and modern, yet keep the Avalanche look. The 3rd logo is decent, but the one-armed design is what I like most about the jersey. It looks really cool in Colorado colours.  Overall, not convinced that the logos do the job, but its a cool design.


Oh my goodness.  As god awful as this would look on the ice, this looks like a fantastic ECHL specialty-jersey design.  From a design standpoint, the lettering and numbers is hard to notice, especially the front number. This could never pass as an on-ice jersey, but if I seen a t-shirt like this, I'd probably buy it. Aloha Anaheim!


I don't have much to go on here, and I'd love input if anyone has more to add here, but to my knowledge this is for the Indigenous Round of the AFL, Aussie Rules Football.  It's a celebration of the native cultures of Australia, and some of the foundations of what created the game that connects most Australians together.  I know less about this sport than probably any other semi-major sport in the world, especially from a design standpoint.  But the artwork of the jersey, and how its blended with the jersey, is absolutely beautiful.  This sort of artwork is similar to how Team Canada designed their Olympic logo, which was a hit amongst Canadians.

And there are a few more of Ricky's concepts coming hopefully in the next couple of days, so stay tuned for that.

*********************************************************************************

Is it troubling anybody of how many suspensions have been handed out so far this season?  Not like I'm complaining about the suspensions, but the high amount of suspend-able offences committed.  5 during the season, 7 during pre-season.  Most of those were hits to the head or checks from behind.  

I like how the league is handling these incidents. There are no small 1 or 2 game penalties, with some 5 and 10 game sentences being handed out.  Pretty tough, but good for the league in the long run.

*********************************************************************************

In a very tragic incident in the USHL, a player lost his helmet during a fight, and fell with his head hitting the ice.  He started going into convulsions right on the ice, and had to be sent to hospital, where he is still recovering.  He will likely make a full recovery.

But while this was a tragic event, this will of course bring back the debate of fighting in hockey.  With occurrences such as this, or with George Parros earlier this year, the water cooler talk is at an all-time high on the issue.

I've always said that fighting needs to be in hockey, and until it's removed at the NHL level, it will not and should not be removed at the junior level.  Injuries like this are unfortunately not new, but seem to be getting more and more exposure to the problem of concussions in hockey and the problems caused by fighting.  

Is the game any safer without fighting?  That is a very important question, which I think I'd still say no to.  Things like this are going to happen with fighting or not  As I write this, Trouba from the Jets got sent off on a stretcher.  He wasn't fighting, he wasn't hit, he just lost his footing and hit the boards hard.

Fighting has a risk, of course.  And I think I could support a move to limit fighting, such as a game misconduct after a fight, or additional penalties if the fight was deemed to have no meaning (Laraque's "Good luck" fight), or was overly aggressive (John Scott's attack on Kessel).  But removing fighting all together will not be the answer, as more players will aim for dirty hits without the consequence of being stood up by one of the other team's tough guys.  

Fighting give the game accountability, and while it has an injury risk itself, it keeps the game safe from the Torres', Cooke's, and Kaleta's of the league.  You can suspend them, but will that make them learn any more than having to stand up for themselves?  Have you ever seen Cooke, Torres, or Kaleta fight?  Cooke fights players like Kovalchuk, Callahan, and E. Kane.  That's a weak fight card.  If Scott Stevens got a hold of Cooke, do you think that could change him?  I think it would.

Overall, I think there should be less fighting, particularly "staged" fighting.  But I don't think I would like the NHL's direction if they decide to remove fighting all together.  Fighting is both a safety risk and a safety device, but a perfect balance needs to be needed, or else it could be the game itself being removed on a stretcher.



Saturday, 12 October 2013

Saturday Power Ranking - Oct 12

Alright, so I decided to finally make a regular recurring segment in my blog (not including my Nike rants, which unfortunately probably wont go away).

I decided on Saturday, I will give my NHL Power Rankings of the teams so far.  Not much more explanation needed, so lets go!

1. San Jose Sharks (4-0-0) - Last Week: N/A

They've been the biggest fish in the sea so far this year (pun very much intended).  With a goal differential of 21 Goals For to 5 Goals Against, they've just been hamming teams they play.  A good portion of those goals have been scored by Tomas Mutant Ninja Hertl, the 19 year old rookie who's been plastered on every highlight reel package for the last few days.  Beyond Hertl, everyone else has been showing that this is a very hard team to compete against.

2. Colorado Avalanche (4-0-0) - Last Week: N/A

While they've haven't scored as much as San Jose, they've only allowed 3 goals in 4 games to open the season.  The Avs, led by rookie coach Patrick Roy, have been a defensive juggernaut, while getting it done offensively as well.  This team will be dangerous to play this season.

3. Toronto Maple Leafs (4-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

They're only blip this season was against the Avalanche, and have otherwise been perfect so far.  Bernier has made himself the prime starter in net, but there's a long way to go before the goalie duel can be certainly put to rest.  Bernier has played great, and Toronto has been getting the offence they need to win tight games.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

After everyone (including myself) doubting the Penguins after last season, especially goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, the Pens have been off to a great start.  Fleury holds a .963 save%, and their only loss was when their backup goaltender Zatkoff was lit up for 6 goals.  Everything has been clicking so far, so the doubters can start believing again.

5.  St. Louis Blues (3-0-0) - Last Week: N/A

Halak has seen all of the ice time in the Blues' net so far, and has allowed only 4 goals in 3 games this season.  St. Louis is a very strong defensive team, with great goaltending to back them up.  They may not be the strongest offensively, but they're apt to find the back of the net before anyone can get past their defence.

6. Tampa Bay Lightning (3-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

While goaltending is still an issue, the fiery offence of the Lighting, anchored by duo Stamkos and St. Louis, are getting the job done in the other teams' zone.  If their young goalies can step up their game, then the Lightning can be a legitimate contender in a tough Atlantic division.

7. Calgary Flames (3-0-2) - Last Week: N/A

While they have more loses then a few of the teams below them, both of those came in OT.  One of only 5 teams to not lose a game yet in regulation, they've defied the low expectations put on them and have been dominant so far with their young troop.  Monahan is looking like the future face of this franchise already, putting up extremely good numbers for someone just celebrating their 19th birthday.

8. Boston Bruins (2-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

Despite the team's relatively new look to it, they've transitioned well and have taken out divisional foes Detroit and Tampa so far in impressive fashion.  This will be a contending team this year for sure.

9. Dallas Stars (2-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

Even though they're looking up at Chicago right now in the standings, everyone in the Dallas organization has to be impressed with how the team is shaping up so far.  Benn and Seguin have been performing to their high expectations, and the goaltending has been great so far.

10.  Chicago Blackhawks (2-1-1) - Last Week: N/A

Chicago hasn't been as impressive as a top 10 team should be, but considering the championship pedigree of the team, remaining almost entirely intact since last season, its hard to ever count them out from being a cup contender again this season.

11. Anaheim Ducks (3-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

Most of their games have been pretty close games, and their offence doesn't appear to be firing on all cylinders yet.  But they've been getting the job done, winning all of their games so far besides the one loss against still-undefeated Colorado.

12. Carolina Hurricanes (2-1-2) - Last Week: N/A

The goaltending duo of Ward and Khudobin have been keeping the Hurricanes afloat in the seemingly-weak Metropolitan division.  None of the perennial powerhouses are doing well, so Carolina has a chance this year to sneak themselves into a playoff spot.

13. Ottawa Senators (1-0-2) - Last Week: N/A

The only team in the Eastern Conference not to lose a regulation game.  Unfortunately, the've still lost more than they've won.  With Spezza coming back from an injury, maybe Ottawa can continue their unbeaten streak for a little longer and climb up the Atlantic standings.

14. Columbus Blue Jackets (2-1-0) - Last Week: N/A

With Gaborik playing as well as expected, help from secondary scoring, and Bobrovski playing good (maybe not great) so far, Columbus is proving that they can play with the tough teams of the East.

15. New York Islanders (2-1-1) - Last Week: N/A

Right in the thick of things with Columbus and Carolina are the Islanders.  Their goaltending can be better from Nabokov, and they could use some secondary scoring, but they're getting plenty of offence from Tavares, Grabner, Bailey and Nielsen.

16. Vancouver Canucks (3-2-0) - Last Week: N/A

While their goaltending seems as spotty as ever, there is no denying that they are offensively on track so far this season.  If Luongo can start playing a bit more consistent, and Tortz can give the team a more defensive attitude, then they might be able to make a run this year.

17. Phoenix Coyotes (3-2-0) - Last Week: N/A

They have an identical record to both Vancouver and Los Angeles, but their wins came against easy opponents, and their losses were against teams they should have beat.  Lots to prove left on this team, but there is hope to make the playoffs yet.

18. Los Angeles Kings (3-2-0) - Last Week: N/A

Again, as noted above, they have the same record as divisional rivals Phoenix and Vancouver.  But the Kings have had a much easier schedule than both teams, and have had a hard time pulling off wins.  Quick needs to play a bit better, and then they will be back to an elite team.

19. Montreal Canadiens (2-2-0) - Last Week: N/A

They didn't get the start that they would have liked, but the team isn't doing bad so far.  They're getting lots of offensive production from their young players, which is a good sign.  If Price can find his form, you'll see their rank improve greatly.

20. Detroit Red Wings (2-2-0) - Last Week: N/A

They've had the same start as divisional foe Montreal, but while Howard is helping the team keep up defensively, the strong offence Detroit should have isn't there.  Zetterburg, Datsyuk, Alfredsson, and Kronwall should be putting up better numbers to help the offence than they are, and that's why they're far down this list.

21. New Jersey Devils (0-2-3) - Last Week: N/A

Technically, they're one of only 2 teams in the league left without a win yet this season.  Why are they ahead of 9 other teams then?  There schedule has been tough so far, and every game they've played so far has been a 1-goal game, besides a 3-0 loss to the very respectable Penguins.  Their goaltending has been solid, and they still have a team that can take them far this year if they can turn things around.  This is one of the only instances where the record doesn't necessarily reflect the team's performance.

22. Florida Panthers (2-3-0) - Last Week: N/A

Well their goaltending situation is a big ugly mess, even with Tim Thomas, but hope isn't lost on the Panthers just yet.  They only have 2 wins so far, and got thumped by Tampa Bay, but they also just had a very impressive victory over the Penguins.  No one else can say that yet.  They're putting up good offensive numbers, they just have to figure out who deserves to be in net, or find someone who does.

23. Minnesota Wild (1-1-2) - Last Week: N/A

Its hard to see where the Wild are sitting.  They only have 1 win, to the lowly Jets, but their losses have all come by 1-goal games.  They're staying in games, which is a good sign.  Healthy goaltenders and more offence is needed for this team to be successful.

24. Winnipeg Jets (2-3-0) - Last Week: N/A

Speaking of the Jets, they're parked right behind the Wild for my ranking.  They had a good start to the season, but then lost 3 straight.  The games have all been close besides their last one, a 4-1 loss to Seguin and the Stars.  This is still a team on the outside looking in, but they've had a decent start to the season.

25. Washington Capitals (1-3-0) - Last Week: N/A

They haven't exactly played solid hockey so far this season, but Ovechkin is firing on all cylinders, which is a very good sign.  Once he started doing that last season, the Caps went from 15th to 3rd* in the East, very impressive.

26. Nashville Predators (1-3-0) - Last Week: N/A

Their best player so far has probably been Seth Jones, which says a lot good about Jones, but a lot bad about the rest of the team.  They're still in the thick of things in the Central division, and Nashville is a team you can never count out.

27. Edmonton Oilers (1-3-0) - Last Week: N/A

While their goaltending has been bad so far, they've been doing well on offence.  Almost everyone has contributed, besides surprisingly Nail Yakupov, who is without a point in 4 games this season.

28. New York Rangers (1-3-0) - Last Week: N/A

They've been embarrassing over the last few games, being outscored 15-2 combined against San Jose and Anaheim.  Tomas Hertl has as many goals this season as the New York Rangers, 4 of his goals coming against the Rangers.  AV isn't looking to hot behind the bench right now...

29. Philadelphia Flyers (1-4-0) - Last Week: N/A

But AV is doing better than coach Peter Laviolette, who was fired after losing the Flyers' first 3 games of the season.  Holmgren isn't impressed with his team's performance, his team and fans aren't impressed with him, and nobody is impressed by Giroux, who hasn't found the scoresheet yet.

30. Buffalo Sabres (0-4-1) - Last Week: N/A

But alas, even the Flyers' managerial and coaching incompetence can't compete with Buffalo for worst in my power ranking this week.  Miller hasn't played bad, but only 6 players have a point so far, only 3 players have more than 1 point, and only Hodgson and Vanek seem to be carrying the offence with 4 points each in 6 games.  All but 1 of those 6 players have a negative +/- rating, which means even though their scoring, they're hurting the team more than the players who haven't even gotten a point yet.  Hopefully you kept up with all of that number jumping, but it all points towards an awful start and what could be a long season.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Some Reviews Talk, And More From BNG

Hey guys, I finally have a day where I'm not at the college until awful hours of the night/morning, so I can get some time in to do a post.

*********************************************************************************

First, just a heads up: I had my weekly jersey review post on HockeyJerseyConcepts.com today.  I had a few really good concepts to look at today.  If you'd like to take a quick look at my HJC post today, you can go to http://www.hockeyjerseyconcepts.com/2013/10/thursday-czech-these-jerseys-out.html

*********************************************************************************

As mentioned a while ago, designer and friend-of-the-blog Ricky from Buffalo Nickel Graphics wanted to get some of his hockey and non-hockey related work displayed on the site.

Today I'm going to post a handful of his concepts, and maybe some more in the near future.  Lets have a look.

Here's a court design for the Indiana Pacers of the NBA.  I really don't know much about what goes into court design, but this looks really cool.  I've always liked courts that have a darker finish to them, which this design has outside of the 3-point zone.  The current design for this year is much lighter and more plain, with less space taken up for advertising than Ricky's design, thats why I like Ricky's more.  There is more going on with his design, and it's better to look at.  The text at the ends of the court is a really nice touch.  Simply put, I like it.


Next Ricky tries to give the Bruins new aesthetic life by turning their 3rd jersey into their main jersey.  It looks nice, and translates well into a regular set.  Its different, but it still looks like a Bruins jersey.  The execution is almost perfect, besides the TV numbers looking way too large.  And with some teams having yellow home jerseys or 3rds, the yellow road jersey might not work against all teams.  But overall, it's a very nice look.

Had to do a small bit of research, but this is a set belonging to the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League.  They had a very plain jersey style, and only had one style of helmet for their whole set (this is at least the case for their last incarnation, the Columbus Destroyers of 2008, anything before that is a mystery to me).  Here, Ricky has a really psychedelic jersey with 3 different helmet combos.  I'd have so that that the dark blue helmet seems to fit the best, but the others fit well as a retro helmet.  The jersey itself has a really cool design, and while I don't think it's a look that belongs in the NFL, it's a really cool look for the AFL.  The pants are pretty wacky though, something that either Norwegian curlers or golfer John Daly should wear.


Here's a jersey for the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA.  They've changed from being a primarily orange team to being a primarily navy blue team the last few seasons, but I think they should have stuck with orange.  This looks like a great, clean basketball jersey, and I like the stripes on the shorts.  If I were to change anything, it would be just making the name and "Charlotte" wordmark the same colour.  It just looks strange having only one piece of white text and the rest being blue, but thats just me.


Lastly for today, we have a concept for the Colorado Mammoth of the NLL.  I love this design.  Starting with the white jersey, everything about the jersey seems in place, unique, and true to Colorado.  The dark jersey of the set is almost perfect, but I'm curious why you changed the mountains to grey.  There is one tiny speck of grey on the logo, and nowhere else on the jersey.  I think it would look just as good if the mountains were left black with white highlights.  The 3rd jersey is really cool.  Clean and straight up.  I assume it reads "Colorado" on the one arm, which is cool.  This is an awesome set and I'd love to see something like this worn by the Mammoth.  This could actually look like a cool Avalanche jersey as well if you swapped the logo and a few colours around.  This jersey just screams "Colorado" and thats great.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Nike, STAAAAHP! (Part 3)

I'm not sure, should I go into my discussion of the current season so far, my hockey pool "success", my latest jersey design review, Tim Thomas's performance, some hockey card talk...

Wait, they officially unveiled Canada and Czech Republic's Olympic jerseys?  I must have a look!

...

And what do you know, they surely look like Nike's work.  Not for the better either.

Let's start with Canada's jerseys.  It was leaked a while ago, and I had a post (Part 2 of this tragic tale) already written about it, but I'll go again since there is much more to see.

(images from BCLocalNews.com)

Complete with faux-laces, shoulder decorations, asymmetrical patters and a very plain look, this looks to be about what everyone was expecting.  Its my favourite set of the ones released by far, as this looks like a 1920's European take on a hockey jersey.  At least it's meant to look like a hockey jersey.  I don't like how plain the jersey it, but it screams national pride, which is good.  The black, gold and red 3rd jersey is interesting.  I'm not sure if I like how its just chest stripes and text, something a kid with MS Paint could make.  And it seems flamboyant making a jersey gold to show the countries expectations for the tournament.  You don't see Slovenia with a sublimated 12th place ribbon on their jersey (mind you, I shouldn't speak too soon on that, we haven't seen their jerseys yet).  It's just weird seeing a black and gold Canada jersey.  But overall, it's my favourite so far.

And it wont face competition from this next set:


Yikes.

Of course, they have the faux-laces and the Nike mark on the side, so it looks true to Nike's form so far.  The arms are bare, the dark uniform isn't exactly all dark, the white jersey's striping looks like it belongs on a soccer uni, etc. etc.  The only thing missing is the decorations on the shoulders, which is probably good.  There's nothing flamboyant about the white jersey.  It's a very plain, simple jersey with weird shoulders that make it look like a vintage soccer jersey.  Thats cool I guess, that's what the Americans (and somewhat the Canadians) have so far.  But then we get to the "dark" jersey.  Half of it is white, which a) doesn't make it a good dark jersey, and b) although we can't see it now, does that mean the numbers are going to be different colours?  That's not a good look for anybody.  Plus is it that bad of a thing to have your crest closer to the middle of the jersey?  All of these jerseys besides Canada's have the crest in a funky spot, leaving the bottom bare of making the uniform feel unbalanced.  It just looks weird.  Carolina did it to their jerseys this year:

(image from sportslogos.net)


I may have said this already, but while I have this jersey here: this is a plain, Team Canada bargain store rip-off jersey, with traditional laces for a non-traditional team, black on the numbers and logo and NONE on the jersey itself, and of course, a logo that is slightly raised.  Some of the leaks I've seen had the logo looking even higher.  But anyways, just wanted to bring this along as an example.

My biggest problem with the jersey: what if the Czechs play the Russians, and the Russians wear their "white" jersey while the Czechs wear their "dark" jersey?


Oh those Russians...

Seriously though, this is going to be so painful to look at (much like my pixelly version of the Czech jersey here, apologies).  If you see two of these guys go into the boards, how can you tell where one player starts and one ends?  I'm highly surprised the IOC or IIHF hasn't shut this jersey down for the same reason.  There is a reason why most dark jersey have between 0 and <30% white on them.

That's my rant for the day.  My final verdict is that the Czech jersey is just plain crazy, and the Canadian jersey isn't great, but good considering my expectations with Nike at this point.  What do you think about these jerseys?


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Thoughts On The First Few Days

Hey gang, I'm back.  It's been a bit of a long week for me, so I haven't been able to update the blog like I would have liked too.  Here's a few little notes from the first few days of the season:

*********************************************************************************

Patrick Roy made his coaching debut in a big way, coaching the Avs to a 2-0 start, and possibly beginning a new divisional rivalry with the Ducks by means of Roy acting like classic Roy.

Did he deserve a $10000 fine for his tantrum?  Of course he did.  It's fine until you start tearing down the arena.  But I'm sure it was a fine well worth it, as it helps fire up his young team.  He drives his players hard at practice, and shows just as much passion for the game as he did during his playing days.    That's something the young players like MacKinnon and Landeskog can get inspired by.

Its hard to say whether this experiment in Colorado is successful or not yet, but surely its off to a great start.

*********************************************************************************

I'm winning my hockey pool on Facebook so far, because Ovechkin has been performing like I thought he would.  5 points in 2 games?  Thats hardly even fair!

*********************************************************************************

Radem Vrbata, a 32 year old vet playing for Phoenix with a career plagued with injury, has started this season with a hat-trick.  He's always flown under the radar because of his injuries, but this is a great sign for the Coyotes.

*********************************************************************************

Toronto started 2-0, thanks to a great start by both Reimer and Bernier.  Bernier had the better game of the two, but both kept their team in their respective games.  This is definitely a goaltending controversy Toronto likes to have.  If they both can play solid hockey, look for a season similar to St. Louis' goalie tandem a few years ago.  Exciting time to be a Maple Leafs fan.

And staying in Toronto, can there be anyone left who isn't a Mason Raymond fan?  He went from being unsure if he'd be on a pro lineup this season, to working his way onto the Leafs, to being one of their best players so far.  Gotta love it.

*********************************************************************************

It sounds like the plan for Teemu Selanne is that he's going to sit at least once for every back-to-back game this season.  If healthy, that gives him a 70 game season max.  It's kinda sad to see that happen, but its an obvious sign that he can't keep up with the game full-time anymore.  Hopefully as the season continues, he can prove everyone, including Father Time, wrong.

*********************************************************************************

And finally, I had my HJC blog post on Thursday go live without a hitch.  Lots of good, interesting concepts on there.  If you'd like to see, go here:  http://www.hockeyjerseyconcepts.com/2013/10/thursday-puck-drop.html

Thats all I got today.  Being the first HNIC Saturday of the season, you can bet I'll be watching lots of hockey tonight.  Hope you all have a good night, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Canada vs. Canada

So my good friend and hockey fan Vanessa and I were discussing the Olympics and some of the Canadian players who were left out, when she made the suggestion that Canada should have two teams.

Wouldn't that be interesting?  If Canada sent their "2nd" team to the Olympics, how would they fare?  Could they possibly be just as competitive in the tournament as Canada1? And perhaps the best question, who would be on it?

Well I'm about to tackle that question, and propose the possible lineup for Canada2.  To make it interesting, I'll only name players that were NOT at Canada's evaluation camp.  So the bubble players and outsiders on that roster wont be featured on this team either.  I'll also recap who was on the main evaluation roster as we go.  And I'll name enough players to fill the lineup with one or two bubble players, but not as many as the camp, so this will pretty much be the game-day lineup.

So first, we'll start with the goalies.

Goalies

Canada1 Goalies
Corey Crawford (Chicago)
Braden Holtby (Washington)
Roberto Luongo (Vancouver)
Carey Price (Montreal)
Mike Smith (Phoenix)


Canada2 Goalies

Martin Brodeur (New Jersey) - This one is probably the most obvious.  Despite his age, and downgrading of skill, he has more than earned at least a chance to make the roster.

James Reimer (Toronto) - As I said in my Gold Or Bust post awhile back, I think he would have been a dark horse to make the team, but he deserved at least a chance.  Despite being on some poor Maple Leaf teams before last season, and being plagued by injury, he's posted great numbers for Toronto.  He also played great at the 2011 World's.  I think he could make this team.

Jake Allen (St. Louis) - This is were I'm probably going to lose some people.  There are plenty more experienced goalies, and more dependable.  Allen probably wont be in the NHL at the start of the season, even though he has so far outplayed Elliot and Halak.  But because of his recent international experience and just playing like a skilled vet so far in his NHL career, I think he could be my bubble goalie, much like Holtby for Canada1.

Canada1 Defence
Karl Alzner (Washington)
Jay Bouwmeester (St. Louis)
Dan Boyle (San Jose)
Drew Doughty (Los Angeles)
Mike Green (Washington)
Dan Hamhuis (Vancouver)
Travis Hamonic (NY Islanders)
Duncan Keith (Chicago)
Kris Letang (Pittsburgh)
Marc Methot (Ottawa)
Dion Phaneuf (Toronto)
Alex Pietrangelo (St. Louis)
Brent Seabrook (Chicago)
Marc Staal (NY Rangers)
P.K. Subban (Montreal)
Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose)
Shea Weber (Nashville)


Note: I forgot how many D they took to camp.  Judging by how thin the defence is getting by the end of this list, this is probably where Canada2 will suffer.

Canada2 Defence

Cody Franson (Toronto) - 3rd in D-men points last season is probably a good place to start for our defencemen roster.  Young player with lots of upside.

Francois Beauchemin (Anaheim) - He's been a solid member of Anaheim and Toronto the last few years, and does have some international experience.  He has great stats and isn't a defensive liability.

Michael Del Zotto (NY Rangers) - Another young defenceman with lots of upside and international experience.  Had a bit of an off-year last season, but is slowly improving his game and being less of a defensive liability.  

Sheldon Souray (Anaheim) - What this lineup needs now is a veteran player, and Souray is a perfect fit.  He could pair up nicely with Beauchemin.  He was one of the best +/- players last season, which shows that he isn't a defensive liability and a strong defenceman for the team.  In fact, he was tied for 1st in D-men +/-, tied with none other than Francois Beauchemin.

Dougie Hamilton (Boston) - Last season in his rookie year he played great for the Bruins.  Although his defensive game seemed flawed at times, especially during the playoffs, he shows lots of potential for the big club.  He was a major piece in Canada's World Junior teams for the last two seasons, so the international game isn't new to him.  He brings size and physicality to the defence.

Mark Giordano (Calgary) - To find a good, defensive, physical partner to put alongside Hamilton is tough.  Giordano is Calgary's best defenceman, and plays a good physical game.  He also has a little bit of international experience.  He's not a rookie, so he's a bit more reliable and experienced against the best players than Hamilton, and could help keep him out of trouble defensively.

Jason Garrison (Vancouver) - He isn't a name you'd probably think of to put in this spot, but he is a good fit.  He's a vet, even though he doesn't have tons of NHL experience outside the last few years.  Last season in Vancouver he put up very respectable numbers, including one of the best +/- stats for defencemen. He plays a strong defensive game, and makes up for some of the holes created by defensive liabilities of the other defenders.

Canada1 Left Wing
Taylor Hall (Edmonton)
Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh)
Andrew Ladd (Winnipeg)
Milan Lucic (Boston)
Brad Marchand (Boston)
Rick Nash (NY Rangers)
James Neal (Pittsburgh)
Patrick Sharp (Chicago)


Note: In reality, most of these guys wont make the team anyway, as they'll be replaced by centremen.

Canada2 Left Wing

Evander Kane (Winnipeg) - Although he isn't always dependable, and is still improving, he has potential to be one of the biggest offensive threats on this team.  He has a ton of international experience to help his case too.

Mason Raymond (Toronto) - Maybe this is a surprise pick for some, but his speed will be a huge asset on an international ice surface.  He's a hard grinding guy who will give much needed character and grit to this team.  He also has some World Jrs. experience.

Dany Heatley (Minnesota) - He's fallen off the radar hard from his glory days, but he has a very impressive international resume, and is still one of the most skilled shooters in the game.

Ray Whitney (Dallas) - Why not?  He's 41, but the last two seasons he's gotten almost a point per game, in Dallas and Phoenix, so with not much help.  He has lots of World Championship experience, and could provide a good veteran presence to a primarily young team.

Canada1 Right Wing
Jeff Carter (Los Angeles)(C/RW)
Jordan Eberle (Edmonton)(RW)
Claude Giroux (Philadelphia)(RW)
Corey Perry (Anaheim)(RW)
Martin St. Louis (Tampa Bay)(RW)


Canada2 Right Wing

Jerome Iginla (Boston) - This is where I'll cheat a little bit.  Even though he wasn't named to the evaluation camp, I named him on my Olympic team in my Gold Or Bust post.  Since he's not on the main roster, I'll steal him away for mine, and he'd probably be captain too.  Line him up with some skilled playmakers, and you'll have an endless supply of pucks in the net.  He's also a great leader with plenty of international experience.

PA Parenteau (Colorado) - Although he's only had 3 years as a full-time NHLer, he's spent lots of time in the AHL, and is anything but a rookie.  Once he cracked the NHL full time, he's put up some very impressive numbers for the Islanders and Avalanche.  He's had to work hard to find his place in the NHL, and I'm sure he'd be one of Canada's hardest workers on the team.  Oh, and he was 3rd in Canadian RW points last season, ahead of Eberle and Perry, just throwing that out there.

Shane Doan (Phoenix) - Like Iginla (and maybe even more-so), he is a great leader with lots of international experience.  He's not as prolific of a scorer as he used to, but he can still be a great asset to this team.

Brendan Gallagher (Montreal) - Unlike the other RW's here, he's young.  Last season he had a great rookie season with Montreal.  He does have some international junior experience, and he has a high talent level.

Canada1 Center
Patrice Bergeron (Boston) (C)
Logan Couture (San Jose)(C)
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)(C)
Matt Duchene (Colorado)(C)
Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim)(C)
Mike Richards (Los Angeles)(C)
Eric Staal (Carolina)(C)
Jordan Staal (Carolina)(C)
Steven Stamkos (Tampa Bay)(C)
John Tavares (NY Islanders)(C)
Joe Thornton (San Jose)(C)
Jonathan Toews (Chicago)(C)


Note: Are there any left?  Theres enough centermen here for 3 teams! This will be difficult.

Canada2 Center

Nazem Kadri (Toronto) - So like Don Cherry, I might have a bit of a bias towards him.  I love how hard he plays, and he could really be a benefit to this team.  He has tons of skill, World Jr. experience, and could play a few different rolls for this team.

Jamie Benn (Dallas) - A young vet in Dallas, he has plenty of upside and experience.  He could be one of Canada's most dependable scorers.

Sam Gagner (Edmonton) - With lots of international experience even for a younger player, he has lots of things needed to be an important player on this team.  He isn't always consistent, but has flares of greatness when he's on his game.  

Mike Cammalleri (Calgary) - A very speedy player, with lots of experience.  Sometimes a bit of a defensive liability, but could give Canada some grit and extra options in the offensive zone.


*********************************************************************************

Canada2 Projected Line-up

Whitney - Benn - Iginla
Kane - Cammalleri - Doan
Raymond - Kadri - Gallagher
Heatley - Gagner - Parenteau

Beauchemin - Souray
Franson - Del Zotto
Hamilton - Giordano
Garrison

Brodeur/Reimer
Allen

*********************************************************************************

So what do you think of Canada2?  Would they be competitive?  I think they would have troubles on defence, but offensively they would have a shot to compete against the faster, more skilled teams.

Alright, so it has to be done.  Later in the week, look for this post to come back, and I'll document what happens when these two teams go against each other, via NHL14.

And if you have any line-up changes you'd like to make before I do the simulation, leave me a comment and I'll work it in.  

Once again, thanks for reading.




Thursday, 26 September 2013

Guest Concepts, And An Early Goof Up

This is probably the earliest I've made a post, and theres a bit of a reason and story behind it, but I'll get to that later.

First, I'd like to give a shout-out to friend-of-the-site Ricky, from Buffalo Nickel Graphics.  He sent me his concepts wondering if I could display them on my blog.  Considering he's been very helpful to me by displaying my concepts on his own blog, I am more than happy to feature his work.

I like Ricky's work, and he is one of the few hockey designers I know that also does designs for other sports, as you will probably see in the near future.

But for now, I'll start with two concepts of the hockey variety, both involving some infamous jerseys:


Ah yes, the St. Louis Blues jersey that never was.  The best thing Mike Keenan has ever done for the NHL was preventing his players to wear this original set.  Ricky has a go at this set, and considering there really isn't a template to base this colourful jersey from, the effort involved is rather impressive.  I'm still not a fan of the design, but as far as execution goes, this was really well done.  I'd maybe suggest a more standard sports font, but thats just me.  And I should mention that I love what was done with the background of the concept.


This is 100% better than the current Buffalo alternates.  Getting rid of the blue "cape" went a long way to making a hockey jersey out of patchwork.  I like how he kept the new "C" patch, but coloured it so its not yellow on yellow.  I think the jersey looks better with this logo rather than the regular Sabres logo, although it looks a little high on this jersey.  Everything else looks really good on this design, and the detailing on the equipment is really nicely done.  This looks like a good alternate uniform set for Buffalo.

*********************************************************************************

You'll probably be seeing more of Ricky's work in the near future, although he'll show us some of his concepts from other sports.

And to anyone reading who wants their work viewed on this site, don't hesitate to drop me an email and set it up.  I'd love to showcase other designers' work on here.

I'm also setting up a Guest Concepts page, where you can see concepts from other designers who have been featured here.  It's a work-in-progress right now, but it should be set up in the next few days.

Thanks again to Ricky for showing us his concepts.  Hopefully he doesn't mind my nitpicking, but they are very impressive designs.  I look forward to seeing more of his work.  And if you'd like to see more of his work for yourself, he has his own blog, Buffalo Nickel Graphics.  The link to that blog is on my Links page.

*********************************************************************************

Now I get to explain how I done goofed.  Last night, when completing my HJC post for today, I set the schedule for 4:30am ET.  The post is SUPPOSED TO go live at 4:30pm ET.  Apparently someone (me) forgot about the whole 24-hour clock system.  Thankfully, the good folks at HJC caught the error this morning before too many people noticed, and saved the day.  I'll definitely have to pay more attention to that from now on.

For those wanting to see my HJC post later, it will be live on HockeyJerseyConcepts.com at 4:30pm ET, or 2:30 for my local friends.

I might have a second post today talking about that post, depending on my schedule for the day.  Until then, thanks for reading and have a good rest of your day.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dropping Helmets, Dropping Gloves, Dropping Games

So this NHL preseason has introduced several new rules to the game, most of which I find important, but not quite ironed out and reasonable as the players would wish.  Most are for the safety of the players, but safety is barely helped and is more of an inconvenience than a precaution.

Hybrid Icing?  It means well.  Its supposed to eliminate the rushes to the endboards caused by delayed icing calls, which can sometimes turn dangerous if one player catches an edge, or gets hit hard with his back turned.  Enter hybrid icing.  Now, if the defender is leading the race to the puck by the faceoff dot, then the whistle is blown and icing is called.  This is good because it does help speed the game up from players who slow right down to kill the clock.  And, if a slower player is leading but a faster player is catching up quick, then the play is blown dead to avoid a collision.

 However, if the attacker is leading the race, or its very close, play continues.  So effectively, the play will only be blown dead if there is a very LOW chance of a collision happening, but is allowed to play on when the play is most dangerous. Back to the drawing board, I'd say.

The Helmet Rule?  This makes sense from a safety standpoint as well.  Fighters cannot remove their own helmets during a fight, in hopes that players better protect their head.  As a fighter, of course you'd want to protect your head, but fighting tends to be very difficult without a head to punch, and punching a helmet will only hurt the puncher more.  The fighting regulars of the game have already started to take off each other's helmets before the fight, loopholing the rule and being able to put on a good fight.  Again, the rulebook's heart is in the right place, but the reception from the players tell me that this rule isn't going to last.

The Jersey Tuck Rule?  Poor Ovechkin, all he wants to do is tuck in his jersey, is that too much to ask? Apparently yes.  The NHL made it illegal to tuck in your jersey or do anything to obstruct the view of the full jersey, and will give out a minor penalty to those who don't comply.  I never thought that this was a huge problem in the NHL, given that jerseys have been around forever and such a rule has never come up.  But during the games I've watched in the preseason, the penalty is rarely enforced.  It just seems like more of a nag to look nice rather than a rule.

Leaving The Bench During A Fight?  I'm not 100% that this wasn't a clear, suspend-able offence before now, but its come up twice in the last few days and its a hot topic in the NHL now.  Right now, the first guy to leave the bench to get involved in an on-ice altercation will AUTOMATICALLY receive a 10-game suspension.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for trying to stop this action, and I think it should be suspend-able.  But 10 games?? Come on, man.  Most suspensions around 10 games usually involved hitting a player's head with a stick or a dirty hit, and causing serious injury.  10 seems a little much, especially if he is out there just to defend his teammate, and not cause injury.

So I propose an automatic 2 game suspension for leaving the bench and "dancing" OR delaying the game to do so, 4 games for being fully involved in a fight, and a MINIMUM 10 games for causing an injury OR showing overly-agressive behaviour OR instigating a fight.

So I did go back to 10 games, but I still think there should be judgment on how involved the player was.  In my mind, I don't see why Clarkson got a 10 game suspension, when he should have been out 2-4 games MAX.

*********************************************************************************

Whats that?  You live under a rock and didn't hear Clarkson was suspended?  Then you must have totally missed the previous preseason game between Toronto and Buffalo.

Let's just say, it got kinda nasty.

(Video from YouTube, which was from HockeyFights.com) 


That, my friends, is what I like to call a brouhaha.

To add some context, before this happened, there was another fight, which Buffalo felt Toronto sent a larger player to attack one of Buffalo's smaller guys.  The Buffalo bench wasn't thrilled, and sent out their goon line on the next shift.  Toronto, trying to cool the heat down, sent one of their top skilled lines to curb the aggression, but apparently John Scott didn't buy it.

Strike One: John Scott.  I don't care how much of a fighter you are, you don't just drop the gloves and start swinging at a guy off the faceoff, regardless who it is.  In this case, Scott practically attacked Phil Kessel, who probably is at least 1ft and 100lbs smaller.  It wasn't a fight, it was an attack, and I don't know how he escaped unscathed and without suspension out of all this (however, I'd give it relatively small, probably just a game or 2).

Strike Two:  Phil Kessel.  Yes, he was attacked and had to defend himself.  No, going Paul Bunyan style on Scott's ankles wasn't the best way to do it.  That is an intent to injure penalty all day long, and I think even if he turtled, he'd leave the game with more class than what he did by axing Scott's ankles with his stick.  And worse, once John Scott was held by the linesmen, Kessel went and speared him.  Thats a little like poking the sleeping bear, no?  He seems much tougher once Clarkson and the refs have a hold of him.  He got suspended a few games for his actions, and it was rightfully deserved.

Strike Three: David Clarkson.  Remember when nobody knew who David Clarkson was?  He was a good, hard-nosed grinder for the Devils, and didn't receive much stardom for himself.  The last few seasons, he's become on of the best and underrated power forwards in the league.  I firmly believed his acquisition by Toronto was the final piece needed for Toronto to become a potential powerhouse team. 

Well, I'm not giving him a strike for what he did, because essentially that is why they brought him there.  But "when" he chose to jump off then bench was questionable.  The situation was pretty much all handled before he got on the ice, and he should have known that he was getting the full 10-game treatment, since Paul Bissonnette got the same suspension the day before.  Now, the Leafs are without Clarkson's services for 1/10th of the regular season.  Was it worth it?

Overall, goalie fight included, it was a very entertaining game.  It showed the best of hockey, the entertainment value and sticking up for your teammates.  But because of these 3 people above, it might have also shown the worst of hockey. 

If this kind of thing is happening during preseason, then I'm really getting excited for the regular season this year.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Winter in Washington

Hello everyone, first a few quick notes before I get to the main topic today.

First, yesterday I had a new record for page views for one day at 79.  That's absolutely wicked! Thank you to all of the readers who made it happen! My blog usually averages around 20 views per day, some days much lower than that. But to get so many views in one day for me is really cool! I know there is no way I can keep up that number every day, but maybe if this blog keeps going, I can top that number again.  Hopefully with more content, which will be easy when the season begins, the community for this page will get bigger and bigger.

But just one day at a time for now.

*********************************************************************************

Second, out of some captaincy news from the NHL, Jaime Benn has been named captain of the Dallas Stars, and Mark Giordano has been named captain of the Calgary Flames.  

If anyone remembers my "Oh Captain, My Captain" post from a few weeks ago, I predicted that both would be named captain of their respective teams.  I would have picked Glencross as captain for the Flames personally, but Giordano seemed like the heir to the "C".  Benn, on the other hand, was an obvious pick.  He's the face of the franchise, and it's about time that he becomes the distinguished leader of the team.  The perfect cap to the remodelling of the franchise.

*********************************************************************************

And one last note, Ty Rimmer will get to play half of Edmonton's game against the Canucks tonight.  Rimmer is an undrafted goalie who spent some time here in Lethbridge last season.  Despite the Hurricanes not having a great season, Rimmer played well and had a few really good hot streaks through the season.  He also had a great season in Tri-Cities the year before, and also played in Prince George for the Cougars. 

An Edmonton-born prospect, he's so far looked really good during training camp for the Oilers, and will get his first NHL action tonight for his hometown team, sharing the net with vet Jason Labarbera. 

I've watched him play here in Lethbridge, and I'm really rooting for him to land a contract with the Edmonton franchise.  The game is on HNIC tonight, so I'll definitely be watching.

*********************************************************************************

For the main topic of today, it was announced yesterday that Washington will host the 2015 NHL Winter Classic.  

It's not exactly a surprise choice.  Washington is a popular hockey market, and there are a host of teams that could make the game an exciting rivalry match.

The venue, nor the opponent, has been decided yet.  The problem is, most of the main "rivalry" teams that Washington should play have played in at least one Winter Classic.  

Rangers? They've played one in 2012, and are due to play two games in 2013-14. Probably not.

Islanders? Playing next season, but wouldn't be a bad option.

Philadelphia? They've already played two, last in 2012. They don't play one next season, so its likely they could be involved.

Pittsburgh?  The rematch? Would be cool, but I'm sure the NHL would want another match up.  Pittsburgh also plays next season, and has already been involved in a few Classics themselves.

Carolina?  An old "Atlantic" division matchup, that people may actually care about.  I'd watch if Carolina wore some green and blue.

Tampa Bay? An exciting team to watch, but are they a good draw for a large game like this?

Ottawa? Bringing back the Captial Cup would be a good idea, but Ottawa plays in a game next season, so its less than likely.

Columbus?  So no one really cares about Columbus, but from an NHL standpoint, this could help the struggling franchise, while maybe developing a new divisional rival.  I wouldn't rule this one out.

*********************************************************************************

And I'd like to point out, that it is speculated that the 2015 Winter Classic will NOT be the only outdoor game next season.  There is talk that there could be 4-5 outdoor games.  I assume that will mean the NHL Winter Classic in Washington, 2-3 Stadium Series games, and a Canadian Heritage Classic.

It should be interesting to see who gets involved for 2014-15.  I'd love to see some western teams get involved finally. I know California gets a good taste of outdoor hockey next season, but where is Colorado, St. Louis, Minnesota, or Winnipeg? I'd love to see some outdoor hockey there.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves, we still have 6 games to watch this season before we get there.




Thursday, 19 September 2013

The Debut

Hello everyone.  After going balls to the wall the last few days for my school work, I finally have some time to update on my post.

Today was a pretty big milestone day for me, as I got to make my HockeyJerseyConcepts.com writing debut.  I'd say it went pretty smoothly, and the concepts I got to review were really good.  The reception by the writers for me has been phenomenal, and I'm really excited to have this first post done.

If you want to see my post, then go to http://www.hockeyjerseyconcepts.com/2013/09/thursday-rookie-debut.html

*********************************************************************************

And speaking about jersey concepts, I've been really in a creative funk lately for my own designs. Other than the 2 contest designs I showcased a few days ago, I really haven't been able to sit down and make a design.  Part of this is because of my schedule, but mostly I haven't had any inspiration or motivation to make a design.  I simply don't know what team I should redesign, or have any cool redesign ideas.

I've been kind of thinking about doing a league-wide concept for the RMJHL.  Don't know what that was? Well it was the predecessor to the BCHL, British Columbia's Junior 'A' league.  My hometown Fernie Ghostriders started there, and many teams from the current BCHL and KIJHL began in that league.  That was the first hockey league I really watched and followed, so I thought it would be a cool, if not difficult, concept.  What do you guys (especially my friends from the area) think?

And if anyone has any other suggestions for designs or concepts, let me know and I'd love to give it a shot.  Maybe doing a few fan-suggested concepts will get me back into the swing of things for design.  Who knows.

*********************************************************************************

One more thing I want to ask you, as my readers.  One of my next posts will be about the poll I just conducted, determining which of the Buffalo Sabres' jerseys were the worst designs of all time.  I could talk about the results, and compare the jerseys, in a standard blog format.  Or, I could also create a "Vlog" post, if people would be interested in watching a video for my blog rants.  If it gets enough interest, I could have a weekly video, or something like that, coinciding with this blog.  It could get me some practice in video editing (which is useful for my college program), and give this blog a bit more exposure.  That would be cool, but its not necessary.

Would you guys watch something like that?  Or would you rather me keep the traditional blog format?  I may do one or the other, regardless of opinion, but I really value my readers' (and friends') opinions on it.

So thanks for reading, and hopefully I can come up with another post soon.  Until then, enjoy the preseason!


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Back In The USSR, and Anyone Up For Some Pool?

Hey gang. So I got my first set of concepts to post on HJC for Thursday, and I'm really excited to get this post out already.

In the meantime, here's a couple of jerseys I'd like to share.


This was for a contest I entered for HJC, where you had to submit jersey designs for the Anaheim Ducks, using the colours they proposed to use before going with black, bronze and orange. Orange was one of the colours involved in this contest as well, but I left it out because I thought the green and orange looked awful together.  Anyways, I picked out one of the old secondary logos, and gave the jersey a unique wing style to it. I wasn't sure how it would be received, but I came 7th out of 24 designs, so it must not have been too bad.


Here's one that I made today for the current HJC contest, asking for a new design for the Soviet Union. Really cool contest idea, so I gave it a go. I really like how it turned out, looking like their classic jerseys and staying simple, while having its own style.

What do you guys think?  I'd love to know your thoughts on these.

*********************************************************************************

I don't exactly have much to talk about today, but I do want to point out that it didn't take long for Toronto's new contract for Nazem Kadri to look like a bargain deal.  Early in the preseason game against the Flyers, he absolutely undressed Hal Gill and scored a brilliant goal for Toronto.  He showed signs of stardom last season, and I think he has nowhere to go but up this season.  For a player under the microscope so much in Toronto, its nice to see for sure!

*********************************************************************************

Theres only a few more days to vote on my poll for the worst Buffalo jersey of all time. For the few votes I'm getting, I'm not overly surprised how it's shaping up so far, although I'm disappointed how bad the Goat-head jersey is doing, as those were always my favourites.  Expect a discussion on these jerseys in a few days.

*********************************************************************************

Now, just wanna give a quick question to those who read my blog.  I'm thinking about starting a hockey pool.  Would anyone be interesting in something like that?  Depending on interest, we'll figure out the rules and stuff later, if it does happen.  Its just a thought for now. 

Thanks for reading!