NHL Playoffs 2019: Conference Finals Countdown and Predictions
Visual branding had a pretty good Round 2, going 3-for-4: Carolina, St Louis, and Boston, including calling the Blues in 7 perfectly. This bumps us up to 7-for-12 over two rounds, which is better than most people’s brackets are doing, so we’ll take it.
But that’s the past now. We have the Conference Finals to look forward to. Let’s get to the countdown/predictions for them.
As a recap…how does it work? 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. And it will be drawn from just the visual brand component (aka: categories 1 through 4) from our handy and comprehensive brand rankings that we did at the beginning of the season to help us out.
• More: 2018 NHL Brand Power Rankings
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. After 7 post-seasons, we’re 53-for-105, or 50.5% (not counting the 2019 1st round).
Okay, like last time, let’s start with the worst jersey match-up in the third round…
A Sharks-Blues matchup ensures that a jersey with something other than a red or black base has at least a chance to be lifting the Cup and breaking the red/black streak going on since 1994. But that doesn’t stop it from coming in second in this ranking. They’re both solid jerseys one their own, but it’s just not enough contrast (ie too much blue/teal) to make it a great jersey matchup, as well as the contrasting styles between the Blues’ classic approach and the Sharks’ minimalism.
San Jose Sharks Visual Brand Ranking: 24th. The highest points the Sharks get with their visual brand is for their third jerseys, which confuses me as, personally, I think they’re boring and awful. And if that’s the best part of your brand (it’s not, as the teal jerseys are great), you’re in trouble. But, the Sharks get lucky this round!
St Louis Blues Visual Brand Ranking: 10th. Their brand is solid, with their logo, jerseys, and visual legacy all in the top half of the league, with their historical third jerseys being among the absolute best in the league. They’ve made missteps in the past, but there’s no denying the strength of their visual brand at this point.
Prediction: Blues in 5
I’m still not a huge fan of the Hurricane’s third jerseys being worn throughout the playoffs (as it’s the weakest of their jerseys), and against Boston’s mostly black/white road jerseys, it’s a severely monochromatic matchup with only a few bursts of (mostly) gold and some red. But the jersey matchup in Boston is easily the best of this round: lots of bright, aggressive colours that provide good contrast and visual energy to the matchup. That’s what propels the Eastern Conference Finals above the West in this ranking.
Boston Bruins Visual Brand Ranking: 5th. All the Bruins’ visual brand categories rank between 4 and 7. They’re among the best in every single category from a visual brand perspective: great logo (2nd best imo), great jerseys, great legacy. They’re a beast. Really, how could they lose?
• BTLNHL Finals: Boston Bruins v Detroit Red Wings
Carolina Hurricanes Visual Brand Ranking: 19th. Carolina’s logo ranking doesn’t fare much better, but they have better jerseys and – all apologies to Connecticut – seeing those amazing Whalers unis on the ice again was absolutely fantastic! Having them as part of their legacy brand certainly helps.