NHL Playoffs 2016 (Round 3) Countdown and Predictions
Time for the Conference Finals round. How’d it go in Round 2? Not too shabby at all. Perfect actually. 4-for-4. That brings this year’s total to 7-for-12 (after going 3-for-8 in the first round). We’re back over .500, and with only 3 more matches left, hopefully it will stay that way.
As a recap for how this works: We’ll compare the overall branding of each series and see how they match-up. This includes the logos, alternate logos, jerseys, historical logos and jerseys, general legacy and everything else that builds a team’s brand. But on top of that, the match-ups are going to be ranked according to which will be the best to watch from an aesthetic standpoint. Some jerseys work better together than others, and you’ll see why.
This series features two really nice individual sets of jerseys. And they work just okay against each other. The problem is having two many tones of blue involved. There’s teal, there’s royal blue and there’s navy blue. It’s just a bit too much and the addition of yellow and orange stripes aren’t helping matters either. It should be an awesome match-up hockey-wise, just not as great aesthetically.
St. Louis’ logo is one of the best in the game, but up until their current logo and jersey design, the Blues’ visual branding has been a nightmare. The previous logo was too rounded and hokey-looking (that’s hokey, not hockey) with a mishmash of primary colours, a “St.Louis” in the logo that’s pretty much unreadable on a jersey, and then a huge double-outlined “Blues” on their logo from before that (and still with the “St. Louis” on it, making it ever harder to read). But, the concept has been there from the beginning and has been tinkered with but never changed. Also a bonus is that their current third jerseys are great. But this monstrosity that they almost wore if not for Mike Keenan (thankfully) forbidding it is absolutely unforgivable. That cost them a game right there. But still, overall, they’ve been relatively consistent in the visual branding and logo concept since their inception.
For the Sharks, they’ve never strayed from their original concept since inception, and as my interview with the designer Terry Smith revealed, they’ve owned the teal in a market and era that hugely embraced it. For a water-dwelling animal like a shark, the teal makes sense. Their original logo is better than the newly designed one, but at least they’ve moderately improved the visual mess of a jersey that preceded these ones, making it a little more minimal and clean. Their Stadium Series jersey was a bit of a league-mandated mess, so you can’t pin it all on them…but whose idea was the choker necklace (#itwas3to0, or can we officially bury that now?). And say what you want about never getting to the Cup, but they’ve been a perennial Western power for a long time now, and that kind of success can build a solid brand and fanbase, despite its negatives.
So, it’s close, but the vastly better logo has to take it.
Blues in 7
This is a really great match-up aesthetically, for a few different reasons. In Pittsburgh, you got the vintage Penguins gold-and-black against the minimalist modernism of the Lightning’s white jerseys. And in Tampa, the modern Vegas gold against the aggressively-blue Lightning home jerseys. The gold (Vegas or otherwise) looks great against the blue. And unlike their previous match-ups (Rangers and Capitals), the Penguins’ decision to have a traditional jersey at home and a more contemporary jersey for the road doesn’t hurt this match-up. The Bolts’ jersey set walks the line between being classic and modern at the same time, so the match-up will look great in either city.
There was generally a lot of disagreement about ranking the Penguins logo at #6, and of them wearing Vegas gold in general, but I’m still a huge fan of it. It’s the best logo they’ve had in their history, ahead of the regular gold penguin of the ’70s – ’90s, the corporate-looking penguin of the ’90s, the older penguin within the thick band of text, and the original penguin who looks like he’s going to join Bonhomme at Quebec’s Winter Carnaval. But the Pens do get points for a fantastic Winter Classic jersey (but also get points taken away for a not-so-fantastic one), and a tremendous Stadium Series jersey. Their move this season to their classic gold jerseys has been pretty great to see as well. So, they’ve also been pretty innovative (but maddeningly inconsistent) in their jersey designs. The fact that they’re starting to look to a great design era in their past gives me hope though for the future.
As mentioned, Tampa Bay may have righted their branding ship recently, but it’s still not completely steady, particularly the overly-simplified and corporate-looking logo. And those new third jerseys are pretty inexcusable considering the superiority of their regular jerseys, and their previous third jerseys aren’t much better. And if we start diving back too far into the past, hoo boy. And their past logos have offered some pretty horrendous and illegible typography. Sure, they’ve had some on-ice success, and for a southern-US team, they’ve have a tremendous fanbase and community support, so all things considered, they have a pretty strong brand, both visually and otherwise, at this point. Their visual branding history, though, drags them down.
Penguins in 6