The St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks likely wanted to make a show of unveiling their respective Winter Classic jerseys, with the belief being that the lead up to a Nov. 9 meeting between the two clubs would see the uniforms revealed. But the NHL’s online store appears to have jumped the gun before either team was ready to show off their new duds.
In what could have only been an accidental posting to the league’s store, shop.NHL.com, the jerseys for both the Blues and Blackhawks went live for a brief time on Thursday and gave fans a look at what’s to be expected when the official jersey announcement comes.
The logos, unveiled when the announcement of the Jan. 2, 2017 outdoor game was announced at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium, gave a slight hint as to what fans might see, but the Blues’ jersey is sharper than maybe even the most hopeful of fans could have been expecting. As for the Blackhawks, well, earning a place in an outdoor game for four-straight years appears to have left Chicago plum out of ideas.
For their first outdoor game, the Blues have gone with a design that’s almost identical to the jersey the team wore during their inaugural season in 1967-68. The differences between the two sweaters are quite minimal, with the only change to the overall striping design being a thinner white stripe along the bottom of the jersey. The collar, arm striping and numbering looks to be near identical.
The most noticeable change, however, is the shade of blue used for the jersey.
Unlike the Blues’ current uniforms, the blue used on the Winter Classic sweaters is lighter, and it seems as though the yellow was softened, as well. Take a look at a photo of the entire jersey, including the name bar, numbering and front-of-jersey lettering on a leaked Alex Pietrangelo jersey:
In Chicago, the Blackhawks have gone back to the well with another white jersey that boasts the same striping pattern we’ve seen on the 2015 Winter Classic and 2016 Stadium Series jerseys. The only difference, really, is that the base of the jersey has the black stripe across it instead of white space, which has been there on the two previous white Winter Classic uniforms.
The puzzling thing about Chicago’s jerseys — which can be seen below with name, number and captaincy — is that the team hasn’t tried to do anything bolder in the past few years. The 1948-51 Blackhawks, for instance, had red shoulder yokes. Even further back, the Blackhawks has football-esque jerseys with each player’s number as the lone graphic on the front.
While it may be a non-starter for some fans, it could have been interesting for the Blackhawks to attempt to use their secondary logo, the C with crossed tomahawks, on the front of the jersey. Some traditionalists may have bristled at the idea, sure, but it would have been something new instead of it feeling as though Chicago is rehashing old ideas with a slightly modified version of an old logo slapped on the front. Granted, this is probably what happens when a team has been involved in an outdoor game for four consecutive years and played in five total outdoor games over the course of eight years.
But while the Blues may have picked up the style victory, the on-ice outcome is still months away from being determined. And come Jan. 2, the two teams will be much more concerned with actual points than style points.
(Retro jersey images via NHLUniforms.com)
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