Re-designing jerseys: the new expansion?

I'm not sure how everyone else feels about the Reebokification of hockey sweaters, but as a fan who's team underwent a jersey and logo re-design just a summer ago, I'll say that I'm pretty disillusioned about the development. Not only does it seem to be a meaningless move in terms of improving the on-ice product, but it stinks pretty much of a cash grab.

I'm calling it "the new expansion" because the revenue ramifications worry me: owners obviously like re-designs because it's a pretty easy way to make a cheap buck, forcing their fans to buy into a new look. And sure, there's nothing wrong with doing that once in a while. But I don't really trust the NHL to treat these one-time revenue streams appropriately. Before the lockout, expansion fees were another one-time revenue source that really escalated the league's spending appetite, but once that revenue stream dried up, all that remained was an unsustainable salary structure. Nowadays, with salaries linked to revenues, the dangers are different, but I worry about contract commitments made after a year with artificially high revenues (under an artificially high salary cap).

From an Anaheim fan's perspective, I'm getting sick of these re-inventions. Three seasons ago the team wore white Mighty Duck jerseys at home. Two seasons ago they switched to dark-at-home and introduced a 3rd jersey. Last season the team re-designed its team name and logo for a brand-new look, and next season it will convert to Reebok-style fitted jerseys. While I'm sure that each year's sweater development has earned the franchise tons of money, I think the market is shrinking for jerseys with a one-year shelf life. Be warned, NHL. You may have found a nice trick to scrape together some quick cash, but like expansion fees, I don't think the boost is sustainable. If and when it loses its steam, I really hope you're not planning on making up the revenue on already-high ticket prices.

Readers: If you are curious about these new uniform developments (and yeah, it is still kind of exciting), check out NHL Tournament of Logos, who's doing a great job of keeping track of all the league's changes.

Meanwhile, in other BoC news:
  • Since Mike Chen is knee-deep in wedding preparations (congrats, btw!), I'll go ahead and give a BoC shoutout to a new Sharks blog that started this summer, Bleed Teal, run by Sharks fan Gautham Ganesan. I've linked to his story on the latest re-signing by Doug Wilson: a 6-year, $26 million extension for winger Milan Michalek. Though the Sharks have been quiet this summer when it comes to player addition, they have done a great job preparing for the future with extensions for Thornton and Michalek, and promise to be a scary team for the next several years.

  • The ever-industrious James Mirtle has listed out the early standings projections of two major summer publications: McKeen's and The Hockey News. McKeen's has the Pacific Division as follows: Dallas (3rd), Anaheim (t-4th), San Jose (6th), Los Angeles (9th), and Phoenix (15th), while THN has it as: Anaheim (2nd), San Jose (4th), Dallas (11th), Los Angeles (12th), and Phoenix (15th). Feel free to spit on these Pacific projections in the comments, if you wish.

  • Meanwhile, Steph at No Pun Intended has taken an enormous step for a Red Wings fan—admitting her admiration for a Duck. Actually, it's known as BryzgaLove, and its obvious target is the Anaheim backup-for-now, crazy Russian Ilya Bryzgalov (His best asset from a Wing fan's perspective? He's not Giguere). She has a great recap of Breezy's day with the cup (including his kick-ass shirt-of-many-colors), and is trying to find photo evidence of his allegedly-awesome Buccaneer costume, if anyone can help with that.


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