Categories
NHL

Calgary: Something’s Gotta Give

The Calgary Flames dropped 2 of 3 to the Ottawa Senators after a 5-1 loss Monday night. They have now lost 7 of their last 10. Something’s gotta give.

General Manager Brad Treliving made the trip to Ottawa this time around. This comes after Montreal fired their head coach Claude Julian, after losing to the Senators. His appearance raised plenty of eyebrows and gave fans a glimmer of hope that change is on its way.

It was mismanagement that once again cost the Flames two points. Geoff Ward’s fourth line was Simon-Nordstrom-Leivo. It often times feels like he pulls names out of a hat to complete his lineup. Nordstrom at center is an interesting choice I’m not entirely sure one could easily explain. In total, he spent just under 8 minutes on ice. As a whole, the bottom 3 were on the ice for under 5 minutes.

It was Milan Lucic who scored the lone goal of the game. This was his second goal of the three game tilt. His production has improved since Ward has taken over as head coach. In 62 games, Lucic had 8 goals. He has 6 goals in 23 games. There’s room to speculate that Ward is playing favorites with the veteran. Ward and Lucic were in Boston in 2011, the year the Bruins won the Stanley Cup. There is no real reason why Lucic should be on the ice for an average of 12 minutes a night.

The 32 year old offered up some comments postgame which could be interpreted in many different ways.

Secondary scoring showed up to win the game on Saturday but then disappeared in tonight’s performance. The Flames tallied 28 shots on goal, which is ten less from Saturday. One thing the team has struggled with is overpassing. The puck will die on players’ sticks and there is nothing to build off of.

The Flames’ biggest problem is falling behind early. They are 1-10 when entering the third period trailing. It’s almost a guaranteed loss when their opponent gets out in front. It’s as if they lose all the air in their tires. They may gain that momentum back on the off chance they score or it really is a disaster for the remainder of the game.

How much of this can you put on the players when you aren’t being given much to work with. Your top six cannot carry the team through a season whether it be shortened or not. Middle six seem to be wishy washy and then your forth line could be replaced by prospects or a beer league line.

Ward has mismanaged the team almost all season. He did not bench Lucic when he was taking multiple unnecessary penalties a night and costing the team goals. Brett Ritchie who hadn’t played in the NHL in over a year and the AHL in exactly a year, made an appearance with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan for nearly 9 minutes. Not sure what you can be expected to do when Nikita Nesterov is on the ice for multiple goals against in a single game. Ward’s refusal to move Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin to the first pairing is only hurting the team. Mark Giordano has not been much of a leader this season and you have seen Captain like comments coming from “locker room bad guy” Matthew Tkachuk.

Where does the team go from here? Do the Flames throw in the towel and miss the playoffs, sparing their fans of another disappointing first round exit? Should ownership fire Ward and actually pay a head coach like Gerard Gallant? Or do we stick to the narrative that it is in fact a group of lazy players and blow up the core? Only time will tell.

Categories
NHL

Calgary Flames Mismanagement is a Recipe for Disaster

The 8-8-1 Flames have struggled through the first six weeks of a condensed season. The offseason optimism seems like a fleeting feeling at this point. Was Brad Treliving wrong to only interview Geoff Ward? Is the core a problem or is mismanagement to blame? How much time can pass before the Flames wash their hands of the season? 

Mismanagement is the biggest cause for concern. Geoff Ward was officially named head coach on September 14th, 2020. In his time as head coach, the Flames have gone 24-15-3. That’s not too bad considering he was working on winning over a room, coaching in the bubble, and the lack of a starting goaltender. 

The Jacob Markstrom acquisition is the single best thing that happened in the Flames’ offseason. You finally have a goaltender who can carry a workload and play at a starting goalie level. The issue isn’t Markstrom. It’s with Ward’s inability to manage his workload. 

David Rittich has only appeared in 4 games, starting 3. All of which have resulted in losses. He’s an easy scapegoat when he’s riding the bench and not learning from the team in front of him. It isn’t entirely his fault. How are you going to argue that you deserve to start more when you lost your job to Cam Talbot last season and there’s a talented six million dollar goalie now. 

It’s time for the coaches to implement a rotational system. Get creative. Obviously, you aren’t going to do every other game basis. The Flames are currently in the middle of a 3 games in 4 days tilt. That’s a lot of work for everyone involved. After the humiliating 5-1 loss to Vancouver, things need to be reassessed. 

You have a taxi squad and AHL team for a reason. When players aren’t performing, you scratch them and slot someone in who is more than capable of doing the job. Everyone is replaceable. If Sean Monahan is out for any period of time, I believe calling Glenn Gawdwin up from Stockton would be the only reasonable option.  

If there’s fresh blood you want to bring in, start there. 


One of Ward’s biggest mistakes this season is playing Brett Ritchie with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. There is no reason for him to be deployed with the stars of the team. He has appeared in two Flames games this season after not playing in the NHL for over a year. 


Ritchie is not the player you want to be sending out there on a 4v4. He is not effective and has given Ward no sign of life to be out there. Why is Sam Bennett playing on the fourth line with Milan Lucic and Bryan Frose?

Sam Bennett. Sam Bennett was blindsided with a scratch against the Winnipeg Jets. Ward didn’t tell him personally. He found out through a piece of paper in the locker room. 

“I didn’t see it coming,” Bennett told reporters. “I walked in and I was on the taxi squad and not dressing with the team, not skating with the team.”


Ward said he was using this as an opportunity to get some fresh blood in the lineup. Where is this mentality now? You have players who are generating turnover after turnover and proving to be nothing besides a liability. You could use the argument that Bennett has 9 giveaways this season but at the same time, there are defensemen who are putting up double digits still seeing the ice every night.

Matthew Tkachuk has been in a slump since the Jake Muzzin incident. I guess getting a puck thrown at you can rattle you. He’s been chasing his 100th career goal for about two weeks now and the pressure is on. The instigator we knew has been nowhere to be found. He leads the team with ( 10 ) penalty minutes and has tallied 10 points. He may be considered a ghost or phantom right now but he is still generating shots on net. He’s averaging about 3 per night which shows his confidence isn’t completely gone. 

Tkachuk spoke with the media Saturday morning and puts a lot of pressure on himself, “It starts tonight and I’m prepared to do whatever I can. For me personally, I’ve got to get going. All the pressure should be on me to perform. It shouldn’t be on anyone else. I haven’t been at my best and it’s time to get going and help this team get some wins. I haven’t performed the way I’d like personally, so all the pressure should be on me to try to provide emotion from the drop of the puck tonight.”

The issue isn’t the players not giving a damn or wanting to be elsewhere. It comes back to the leaders. Is Mark Giordano doing enough as a captain? Why aren’t we seeing him talk about accountability? Is Ward truly holding the room or has he already lost it? There are so many questions when it comes to the Flames and the best thing they can do is give us answers. 


Fundamentals, accountability, and teamwork. Let’s bring it back.

Categories
NHL

Flames Beat Vancouver 4-3 in OT

The Calgary Flames earned two points after a 4-3 OT win over Vancouver, Monday night. It was not a pretty game by any means but good is sometimes good enough.

A Much Improved First Period

The Flames had a horrific first period in their last meeting. They were outshot 20-3 and not recording a shot until 11 minutes in.. The penalty kill struck early after Dillion Dube was called for hooking and naturally, the Flames would lose steam early. It didn’t take long for the Canucks to take advantage of that, putting them ahead by two.Milan Lucic cut the deficit in half after scoring his forth goal of the year.

It was not a pretty period for the Flames PK either. They found themselves on the kill four times in the first 20. Connor Mackey earned two trips to the box in his second NHL game. Calgary’s golden child, Johnny Gaudreau found himself in there on an interference call.

Relying On Momentum

One of the most frustrating things about the Flames is how heavily they rely on positive momentum. If things are going south, expect them to keep spiraling but if things are good, they’ll be really good. Elias Lindholm tied it up before Dube redeemed himself with a goal. There was a bit of confusion around the goal, though. Vancouver’s Nate Schmidt tried to pass the puck to goalie Thatcher Demko but Dube’s stick tipped it in. Thanks for that, Nate.

Dube’s go ahead goal set the tone for a good portion of the third period. One thing I did want to touch on was Elias Lindholm and Tyler Myers. Lindholm was called for elbowing Myers. Elbows to the head are never good or acceptable but I believe it was an unfortunate collision as Myers was already falling.

The Friendship Tour Continues

It shouldn’t come to a surprise that the Flames are ranked the best third period team in the league. For some reason, they find themselves playing their best hockey at crunch time.

The Flames are also great at getting under their opponents’ skin. Tonight, it was Andrew Mangiapane’s turn.

A fantastic defensive play turned into Tyler Myers needing a hug, Mangiapane getting the Brad Marchand treatment, and of course- Matthew Tkachuk and Mackey in the penalty box.

Tkachuk has fallen into a slight slump. He appears afraid to shoot the puck which leads to overpassing which is never good. It’s no surprise that he chimed in on this scrum. Although, he does appear to be picking his battles these days.

In true Flames fashion, they got too comfortable on the ice and allowed the Canucks to tie it up. Jacob Markström was visibly upset. How many dinners does this team owe him now?

Overtime was over before it really started when Gaudreau buried one. It wasn’t time to call it a night just yet though. The Canucks would not go down without a fight and challenged the goal. Toronto reviewed the offside challenge and the call on the ice stood.

Everyone say thank you, Johnny and Toronto for allowing Calgary to go to bed before too much free hockey.

Takeaways

The Flames walked away with two points. That’s all you can ask for. It was an improvement from Saturday’s performance but certainly not the full sixty they need to be playing.

Captain Mark Giordano and Rasmus Andersson were split up and demoted from the first pairing. Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin rightly slid up to that first pair. Giordano was paired with Valimaki on the second line. While Andersson earned a spot with Mackey on the back end.

Goaltending cannot keep saving this team. The Flames are lucky they have Markström and I hope everyone has pitched in to buy him a new car or something really nice. He’s carrying the weight of this team on his back. Even after facing 47 shots, the team couldn’t bail him out.

Being outshot two games in a row is not ideal but the deficit tonight was far less. 33-27 is more ideal but still a heavy workload for Markstrom. It was Gaudreau who bailed him out but before taking it to OT.

The Flames wrap up their four game trip to Vancouver on Wednesday.

Categories
Previews

Calgary Flames Looks To Fight Off Red Hot Toronto Maple Leafs

For the first time in nearly a week, the Calgary Flames are back. Puck drop’s at the Saddledome at 4:00pm. 

Dillon Dube likely will not play, ( day to day with LBI ) did not skate during Saturday’s practice and there is no morning skate tomorrow. 

Geoff Ward did say that they’ll take a look at how things look in the morning and go from there. 

If Dube is unavailable, the lines will likely look like this: 

Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Dominik Simon

Andrew Mangiapane – Elias Lindholm – Matthew Tkachuk

Sam Bennett – Mikael Backlund – Josh Leivo

Milan Lucic – Derek Ryan – Joakim Nordstrom

Mark Giordano – Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin – Christopher Tanev

Juuso Valimaki – Nikita Nesterov

Jacob Markstrom 

Things to watch: 

The Flames will reunite with TJ Brodie for the first time this season, after he signed with the Maple Leafs in free agency. Brodie has been heavy on the assists so far this season with three points in six games.

Chris Tanev has been an absolute beaut for the Flames. He took time to practice and shoot around with some of the younger guys yesterday.

Not only is he playing an intricate role on the penalty kill, he is showing his leadership abilities.

Goalie Frederik Andersen’s season has not been off to a hot start. With an .898 SV% and averaging nearly 3 goals against, he’s already in playoff form.

The Flames are going to have to play another full sixty minutes of hockey on both ends of the ice. Toronto is a scary team when they’re healthy and on the same wave length. The Flames have their work cut out for them.

Puck drops at 4:00pm EST. Make sure you check back for your postgame coverage!

Categories
NHL

Matthew Tkachuk is Your Next Flames Captain

Mark Giordano’s contract is up at the end of the season and with his age you have to think about him calling it a career. Who would be next to fill the Captain’s shoes? When looking at the Flames roster you see a few standout names. Matthew Tkachuk should fly off that paper. 

Making A Case For Himself

The 23-year-old has already made a name for himself in the sense of being a well-rounded player and an agitator. Some call him a mini Brad Marchand. No matter which way you take that, it’s a compliment. After all, Marchand is one of the best left wingers in the game.  

Captaincy doesn’t mean you’re the best player on the team and can put up the most numbers each season. You possess an unmatched level of dedication to the game and your teammates.

Tkachuk is a player you can count on to retaliate if a teammate is hurt. He isn’t afraid to be the agitator. There’s a style to his gameplay that is gritty and he admits that he needs to be physical and not just a goal scorer.

I don’t see his talent up for debate at all. As he led the team in points last season. In 293 regular-season games, he has a total of 235 points. There’s no denying he’s good at hockey and will continue to prosper in the league especially if the Flames use this mini rebuild as a chance to build around him. 

Tkachuk is a very emotional athlete. You see it when he fights or when he’s in the press box watching an elimination game. 

Tkachuk’s performance during the 2019-20 playoffs kept the team alive. He, unfortunately, had to be sidelined due to injury. Whenever they showed him in the pressbox, you could tell how frustrated he was and how desperately he wanted to be out on the ice with his teammates. This was the solidifying moment for me. The Flames played a tighter game when he was on the ice. His presence is a force to be reckoned with. You’re not “safe” when Chucky is on the ice. I’d imagine you’re always looking over your shoulder and not entirely focused, especially if you’re behind the net. Seems to be a sweet spot for the future captain. 

Growing into the role 

He isn’t afraid to step up and put an aggressor in their spot but he’s also not afraid to get under someone’s skin. His history with Drew Doughty comes to mind. In a way, he reminds me of Zdeno Chara. Granted, Chara is 7 feet on skates and it’s a little terrifying going up to him but Tkachuk still has people shaking in their boots if they decide to go after a Flames player. He’s not afraid to retaliate. The Flames power play can take care of the rest. 

It may be next season or years from now, but expect a C on 19’s jersey. After all, like father, like son.

Categories
Podcasts

DTFR Podcast #210- 56 Games (And Nothin’ On)/2020-21 Season Preview: Canada Division


Nick and Colby preview the realigned Canada Division for the 2020-21 regular season, which will be a shortened 56-game version of NHL hockey.

Subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsStitcher and/or on Spotify.

Categories
NHL Nick's Net

The definitive review of all 31 Reverse Retro jerseys

Adidas and the National Hockey League are trying something creative this season. It wouldn’t really be right to call it “new”, since most things are old anyway, but all 31 adidas Reverse Retro jerseys were revealed on Monday to mixed reviews by fans and jersey critics alike on social media.

In theory, “everything that’s old is new again” can be a reassuring nostalgic feeling, but it works best when you’re reuniting with friends you haven’t seen in a while and some of them haven’t changed one bit or something.

In reality, “everything that’s old is new again” is just a marketing ploy to sell jerseys and– to the dismay of my wallet– I’m sold. Somewhat.

Not every jersey is perfect, but some are unique, some are good looking and others are downright attractive.

Yes, it’s possible to be seduced by sweater threads. Ask any jersey collector.

Before we begin, there’s just one question left to ask– what, exactly, were the prerequisites for determining what could be considered “retro”?

There’s inconsistency across the board between all 31 teams, but that’s bound to happen since some have been around since before the league’s inception (see, Montreal Canadiens) and other teams are just entering their fourth season of existence (shoutout Vegas Golden Knights).

Alright, let’s grade some sweaters.

Editor’s note: Yes, adidas picked a single year that each jersey represents, but we’re going to present a more accurate timeline for when each original design was flying around the ice.

Anaheim Ducks (based on the 1995-96 alternate)

The Anaheim Ducks must have been browsing eBay one night, saw that the original “Wild Wing” (or “Mighty Wing”, if you prefer) jerseys often sell for double the price of a regular adidas authentic jersey these days and said to themselves “gee, we could make that money easily” without realizing that the sales on eBay do not– in any part– go to the Ducks themselves.

Nevertheless, this is a good plan B, but almost everything from the Mighty Ducks era is beloved except for one thing– whatever’s happening on this jersey.

For one season, it’s a good gimmick and a quick cash grab (especially for the drying up reserves due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic).

It’s standard for an NHL team to reach back in time, change a thing or two and sell a lot of “new” jerseys. Solid effort, Anaheim.

It shouldn’t come back out of the vault ever again.

Grade: C

Arizona Coyotes (based on the 1998-2003 alternate)

This is one of my favorite jerseys in the Reverse Retro bunch simply for the fact that the Arizona Coyotes took an already legendary concept from the 1990s and made it better.

Sure the original look wasn’t great (but also not as horrendous as you probably remember) back in the day, but this time around it looks much better with purple as the base color instead of green.

Why? Because the Coyotes’ moon logo is primarily purple and purple is featured more prominently in the crest logo on this jersey than the green ever was– plus is makes the saguaro inspired cacti design at the bottom pop.

Purple is the night sky of a desert sunset. It accentuates the mountains and rock formations in the lower third.

In simple terms, this jersey is art. It’s a masterpiece.

Grade: A

Boston Bruins (based on the 1981-95 design)

A simple remix of an iconic look that the Boston Bruins used for many years spanning the likenesses of Terry O’Reilly, Ray Bourque and Cam Neely in the “Big Bad Bruins”/”Lunchpail A.C.” era, this Reverse Retro redesign works well as a short-term implementation of the league’s fourth jersey rotation to Boston’s lineup.

Could it become something that sticks in the Hub for a while? Sure, but the franchise would be best to use this for a few seasons and work on an incredible new gold design.

Though it’s hard to argue not resurrecting the bear patch on the shoulders full-time. That bear has seen some things.

The Bruins last used a gold-based jersey in the 2010 Winter Classic and a gold-based third jersey in 1995-96 (the first year of the NHL’s official third jersey program). Prior to that, the B’s actually wore gold for select games from 1940-44, then again as a primary design from 1955-67, when the team was mostly irrelevant to the overall league standings.

It must be mentioned, however, that when Bobby Orr first laced up for Boston, he was wearing a gold uniform in his 1966-67 rookie season.

Simply put, the Bruins need a gold jersey in their rotation. This one works (for now).

Grade: A

Buffalo Sabres (based on the 2000-06 alternate)

The Buffa-goat is back. Kind of.

It’s on the shoulders and modernized with the current color scheme (so… Buffalo’s original colors), but the Sabres opted to cancel out one of their positive changes made in the offseason with a negative resurrection.

No, the two swords logo on the front isn’t bad, but one thing that never made me feel anything special for the original 2000-06 alternates was the fact that the city’s name appears in the lower striping pattern.

It’s neat, but is it necessary?

At least it looks better in traditional Sabres colors and the number font is just like “the good old days” when Buffalo dominated the league with players like Miroslav Satan, Maxim Afinogenov, Daniel Brière and others.

If the Sabres make the playoffs for the first time since 2011, then we’ll know the real reason why the franchise has been awful for about a decade. It all comes down to style points.

Grade: A

Calgary Flames (based on the 1998-2006 alternate)

Yes, folks, as the Calgary Flames’ tweet mentions– “Blasty” is back.

Now get off your high horse if you think this is truly a “Reverse Retro” jersey and not just an updated alternate/fourth sweater.

There was just one minor change to the eye in this design– aside from the white flaming “C” instead of how it looked originally on the shoulders in red– and it’s the striping pattern on the bottom.

There’s significantly less red to this jersey. It isn’t bad, but just… …not great. It doesn’t really “reverse” anything major, which discredits the basic foundation and understanding of the Reverse Retro ideology.

Had adidas gone in a different direction and made a white reversed version of the iconic “Blasty” look, then Calgary would be getting a better grade.

Grade: C

Carolina Hurricanes (based on the Hartford Whalers 1979-82, 1983-85 design)

Prior to the 2018-19 season, the Carolina Hurricanes introduced a Hartford Whalers Throwback jersey that they wore three times between 2018-20 (twice against the Boston Bruins in 2018-19 and once against the Los Angeles Kings in 2019-20).

Despite not playing in Hartford since relocating to North Carolina ahead of the 1997-98 season, Carolina made every effort to get into character– even dressing up PNC Arena in Whalers colors on the inside of the barn, but there was one thing missing from the look.

This time around the Canes have added “Pucky” to the shoulders of this second iteration of a throwback sweater.

It’s grey though, which isn’t so much of an inversion of the 1979 color scheme so much as it is a reversal of the 1992-97 final design before leaving Hartford.

At the very least the Hurricanes deserve credit for going all-in on the retro requirement and not coming up with any “fauxback” shenanigans using Whalers colors on a Carolina logo.

Grade: B+

Chicago Blackhawks (based on the 1940-41 design)

Well, this is… something.

Back in 1940, the Chicago Blackhawks only had the crest on their dark jersey with the white jersey simply having numbers on the front and back a la American football teams.

This is, in fact, a Reverse Retro with the overall design of the white jersey from the 1940-41 season now done in black, but the logo was understandably modified to make it… less racist than it was back then?

Sure the Blackhawks name itself was done in honor of both a military division and a prominent Sauk nation member, Black Hawk, and the club does (at best) more than other professional teams that have recently changed their name (see, Washington Football Team) to honor indigenous people, but the logo isn’t great.

The overall aesthetic is simplistic, but sharp. Why ruin it with a caricature?

Grade: D+

Colorado Avalanche (based on the Québec Nordiques 1991-95 design)

It’s hard to imagine what the Québec Nordiques would look like today– especially since they were rebranding for the 1995-96 season anyway had they not relocated to Denver, Colorado, but the Avalanche have provided a clear look at what wouldn’t have been a terrible idea if the Nordiques had decided to go with the rebrand in the ’90s, then settle back down from a period of throwing caution to the wind.

There’s nothing wrong with bringing something out of the closet once in a while, but someone might cry “jersey foul” if it’s exactly as things used to look before relocating.

That makes things difficult for Carolina and Colorado to do a Reverse Retro sweater without leaving someone feeling like they’ve had their team “stolen” once again.

But whatever, these are meant to make a profit off of nostalgic feelings and jersey collectors. Buy one or not, it doesn’t affect the feelings of the overall brand.

The fact that the Avs and Canes lay claim to the old logos helps them make it out alive in the grueling course of Reverse Retro critics, unlike the Minnesota Wild’s attempt at being the Minnesota North Stars without stepping on the Dallas Stars’ history too much.

Now the only question I have left for the Avalanche is should I get this in Nathan MacKinnon or Mikko Rantanen?

Grade: A

Columbus Blue Jackets (based on the 2000-01 design)

The Columbus Blue Jackets read the directions for the assignment and nearly got a 100% on the final exam. These jerseys are incredible– even if they remind you of the early days of the Washington Capitals (and Washington’s current alternate jersey).

Sure the original Blue Jackets logo is a bit out there, but Columbus set the bar in terms of doing something different and giving the fans in the heart of Ohio a red jersey for the first time in franchise history.

It shouldn’t become commonplace, since– you know– they’re the Blue Jackets– “blue” is literally in their name, but for an “outlandish” marketing standpoint, this jersey has everything.

Except for one thing. Stinger’s not on the shoulder patch.

For whatever reason, adidas decided to include Columbus’ current cannon shoulder patch/alternate logo on this jersey instead of following the guidelines of simply reversing their original look.

That’s why they almost got a “100” on their exam. Just a few points off for not including the most iconic thing about the franchise’s early years and current mascot.

Grade: A

Dallas Stars (based on their 1997-2006 design)

Adidas claims this jersey is based on Dallas’ 1999 Stanley Cup champion look, but the star based design for the Stars began as a third jersey in 1997, before making its way to the full-time grounds for the home and road uniforms from 1999-2006.

Since rebranding ahead of the 2013-14 season, Dallas has put an emphasis on one thing– being Dallas. Gone are the days of the Minnesota North Stars. By removing any semblance of gold from their jersey, the Stars fully completed their transition from pre-relocation to post-relocation.

As a result, this monstrosity happened.

It’s not that the star-shaped design isn’t appreciated– it’s that it shouldn’t be matched with white pants, white gloves, white socks and drained of any color or originality to begin with, since the crest is rather muted as a result of the change from gold to silver on a white background.

Had the jersey been black with a white bottom star-striping pattern then it’d be a different story.

Grade: D

Detroit Red Wings (based on their 1987-2007 design)

Once more, adidas claims that this Reverse Retro jersey harkens back to a championship winning year for the Detroit Red Wings back in 1998. In reality, the Red Wings wore the same look from 1987-2007, with the only difference being that since the 2003-04 season, the NHL deemed white jerseys to be the road set instead of the home uniform.

This jersey seems to borrow the silver from Detroit’s 2017 Centennial Classic jersey to give it a little more definition than a long-sleeved plain white shirt with a logo slapped on the front and red numbers with a nameplate on the sides and back.

If only they would’ve picked something from Detroit’s days as the Detroit Cougars or even the Detroit Falcons.

The Cougars had some designs unlike any other in franchise history, while the Falcons used yellow with the usual red and white format for the club– marking the only time the team has ever used more than just red and white on a regular sweater.

Reversing the Falcons colors would’ve been a hard sell, sure, but the Cougars, man. There was potential and it was left untapped.

Grade: F

Edmonton Oilers (based on the 1979-80 design)

It’s simple, clean and a nod to the team’s inaugural NHL season, while subtly paying homage to their pre-Edmonton Oilers days as the Alberta Oilers in the World Hockey Association (WHA).

Orange is more prominent in what would otherwise likely be a better companion to their home uniform as a road jersey than their current road set, but that’s just probably one of the reasons why the entire jersey wasn’t done in orange instead of white as the base design– because it already exists (sure, with the more modern shade of blue and traffic cone orange, but you get the point).

These aren’t bad, but the Oilers never really stray far from the formula.

Todd McFarlane at least had fun with the brand and nudged it towards the future with his 2001-07 alternate jersey– love it or hate it.

There are just… …fine. The logo wasn’t reversed like some had hoped, but whatever.

Grade: B-

Florida Panthers (based on the 1993-98 design)

The Florida Panthers have long had an identity crisis.

For some, the leaping panther is a better looking logo than today’s spitting image of current head coach, Joel Quenneville, despite the modern logo dating back to the 2016-17 season, which was prior to Quenneville’s arrival behind the bench last season.

Confused? That’s exactly how Florida feels.

This team has probably flipped from red to blue and back again as many times as the state has in U.S. Presidential elections in the last few decades.

Florida’s first dark based uniform was red, then added a blue alternate jersey to their rotation from 1998-2003, before swapping the red with the blue as their new home look from 2003-06, prior to de-arching the nameplates on the back of the jersey on an otherwise untouched design in 2006-07– which was prior to Reebok’s demands that the Panthers use a template with vertical piping centered between the underarms and crest from 2007-11.

Anyway, the Panthers need a blue uniform in their set and this one utilizes the current colors of the franchise (red, blue, tan and white) well in the inverted aesthetic of how the club looked when the team first hit the ice in South Florida after almost being named the Florida Block Busters upon expansion in 1993.

At this point anything else is just filler material to describe a masterpiece that doesn’t really need words to be observed.

Grade: A

Los Angeles Kings (based on the 1988-91 design)

Purple “Forum Blue” is back and the Los Angeles Kings have never felt more royal– except for that time they won the Cup twice in a three-year span in 2012 and 2014.

The timeless look of the Wayne Gretzky era jerseys were given a fresh paint job with old leftover colors, which begs the question “is this really a Reverse Retro look or something new entirely from recycled parts?”

Has marketing gone too far?

Probably not, since there’s no burgers involved this time around.

While the Kings could’ve come up with something different, Los Angeles played it safe and went with something that encapsulates the spirit of the city– trying to be the Los Angeles Lakers.

You might not know some of the struggling actors in Hollywood or if that really was just Anze Kopitar that walked by, but everyone can identity a favorite (or hated, if you’re a Boston Celtics fan) Laker.

Grade: C+

Minnesota Wild (based on the Minnesota North Stars 1978-79 design)

Whereas the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche own and used some form of their old logo from prior to relocation for their Reverse Retro jerseys, the Minnesota Wild have no ties to the Minnesota North Stars because the North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, so we’re left with the Wild logo as the crest on the front in 3-D and in North Stars colors.

By default, these jerseys should’ve been what the Stars used, but with the North Stars stylized “N” on the front of the jersey or Dallas could’ve just let Minnesota buy back that old logo or whatever, but instead we get this jersey that looks more appropriate for a local beer league team sponsored by Subway.

Some say the Wild should switch to these colors full time– especially with Dallas relinquishing gold from their palette ahead of the 2013-14 season, but those people should just move on like the North Stars did.

The Wild are here to stay and could’ve been really creative with a red or tan based primary color in a true Reverse Retro design based on their original look from 2000-03.

Besides, Minnesota could use a red jersey as an alternate, whether you like it or not. It is one of their team colors and it could go well with their more uniform approach to their jerseys since adidas took over ahead of the 2017-18 season.

Otherwise these are just fine. The yellow on green number font gives off a “Da Beauty League” vibe, which just isn’t very like the NHL to have fun.

Grade: C

Montreal Canadiens (based on the 1974-2007 design with 1909 elements, etc.)

While the Montreal Canadiens played it rather conservative with regards to their Reverse Retro look, the designers over at adidas really came up with something crisp, clean and hit it out of the park.

Montreal last had a third sweater in 2006-07, and it was really well done for being the one and only regular alternate jersey in franchise history.

Though the Habs have a timeless look that isn’t one to be messed with in any matter, there’s always an exception to every rule and this is it if the Canadiens are planning on using this blue jersey as an alternate in the long-term.

Then again, people from Montreal might feel weird about wearing what would otherwise be considered the Nordiques’ primary color, so there’s the “Battle of Québec” to consider.

If you’re a Habs diehard, maybe you don’t like this jersey. If you’re from Québec City and begrudgingly became a Habs fan after the Nordiques relocated to Colorado instead of joining the Boston Bruins fanbase north of the border or simply following the Avalanche, then perhaps this is the jersey for you.

Grade: A

Nashville Predators (based on the 1998-2001 design)

If the Nashville Predators had walked out onto the ice wearing these in 1998, it would’ve explained their evolution to the modern marigold jerseys a lot better than the simple reversal of the colors that they originally made ahead of the 2011-12 season before Reverse Retro became a thing for 2020-21 (and beyond?).

That said, Nashville’s original look inverted to a gold based jersey with the blue stripe separating the silver yoke that runs down the sleeves still looks fantastic– and with the old number and nameplate fonts too!

The one thing that’s not true to the original 1998 design (other than the slightly modified original crest), however, is the shoulder patch that originally debuted on the mustard yellow alternate sweater from 2001-07, but made its way to the home and road uniform’s shoulders from 2005-07.

Does that actually mean this look is really just based on the 2005-07 design and adidas doesn’t think that something as old as 15 years ago isn’t, you know, actually kind of old?

No big deal though, these jerseys are still great, since the Predators went with the better shoulder patch from their early days.

The guitar pick that’s been on their right shoulder of their regular jerseys since 2011 shouldn’t be afraid of going extinct.

Grade: A

New Jersey Devils (based on the 1982-92 design)

Italy! Great to see they finally got an NHL team.

The New Jersey Devils are paying homage to The Sopranos with these Italian flag inspired jerseys.

Actually, it’s just the inverted color scheme of their original road jersey and the Devils have a quality Reverse Retro jersey on their hands. If they plan on keeping the Heritage Jersey long-term, then this brings a fine balance to The Force.

If not, New Jersey should really design a black alternate jersey and roll with red, white, black and green as their main color scheme among the club’s four jersey options.

Now why do I have a craving for Sbarro?

Grade: A

New York Islanders (based on the 1978-84 design)

Was the Gorton’s Fisherman unavailable?

It doesn’t really look like the New York Islanders even tried at all, but upon further inspection you’ll notice that the orange and white are reversed on this jersey– and that’s besides the fact that the blue is a darker shade than how it looked back in the day (and nowadays too).

To the Isles’ credit, this jersey isn’t outlandish like most of their other attempts at creating a contemporary image for their club.

It’s uninspiring and, frankly, not that original, but it works. It just doesn’t offer much for the Reverse Retro vibes, however, which takes major points off overall.

At the very least it wasn’t oversimplified like their neighbors’ new threads in Manhattan.

Grade: D

New York Rangers (based on the 1996-98, 1999-2007 alternate)

Want to know how to kill a good thing? Make it a practice jersey.

These Statue of Liberty jerseys don’t scream “[g]ive me your tired “, but rather “I’m tired and I shouldn’t have been awoken. Now let me go back to sleep.”

The striping pattern on the sleeves would look better on a New England Patriots pro-shop sweater, which should probably unnerve New York Giants and New York Jets fans that are also New York Rangers fans.

It should’ve been red with blue, silver and white inverted stripes to truly make it “Reverse Retro”.

Instead, New York gave us this. Whatever this is.

Grade: F

Ottawa Senators (based on the 1992-93 design with the 1997-2007 crest)

Are you upset about the Ottawa Senators going back and modernizing an early version of their 2-D logo while casting off the red based home jerseys into the sunset? Well then here’s a red jersey for you!

It’s the reverse of the original black jersey, which is sort of back (there’s some minor differences in number font, striping, etc.) and it’s fine, but it just feels like something Sens fans have come to know and despise in recent years– it feels cheap.

Sure, Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot, Matt Murray and Co. will look good in it, but introducing this jersey alongside the resurrected homage to the days of yore that the team currently has as home and road sweaters just makes this whole thing feel off.

That said, Ottawa does need a red jersey to complete their otherwise timeless set and it wasn’t like we’re going to get a reversed barber pole jersey anytime soon.

Usually something a little different is preferred, though, to make it feel like an alternate or at least a throwback to the original Senators franchise. This will work for now, however.

Grade: B+

Philadelphia Flyers (based on the 1984-97 design)

The inside of the neck of the jersey says it’s inspired by Philadelphia’s look in 1995, but the Flyers wore this design for much longer before, during and after the mid-90s.

Hell, the base of this design first emerged when “Cooperalls” were adorned, then promptly banned by the NHL because after two seasons they were found to be too much of a safety hazard (sliding on ice without any brakes became an issue because of the nature of the pants’ ability to act like a broom in curling and clear a path to the boards).

Anyway, the Flyers already have a solid set of jerseys to the extent that this one isn’t really necessary.

It might conjure images of Halloween, nightmares of Gritty or reminders of being sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) if you don’t perform well in them, but they’re fine, I guess.

Unnecessary, but fine.

Grade: C

Pittsburgh Penguins (based on the 1992-97 design)

The Pittsburgh Penguins became bold in the 1990s after winning their first Stanley Cup ring in franchise history.

First, in 1992, they introduced the “Robo-Penguin” crest to the world, then they made a jersey with diagonal lettering on the front as their road uniform.

Neither decision was very smart and only one of them was corrected on this Reverse Retro jersey, which– all things considered– doesn’t look that bad.

Sure the Penguin on the shoulders is free from his triangle like on their current alternate jerseys (former 2017 Stadium Series look), but the “Pittsburgh” letting seems to standout better on the white edition of this timeless classic (for better or worse).

More teams should experiment with diagonal alternates, but that’s not to say that every team can succeed– let alone barely get away with an acceptable look with just words on the front of their jersey.

There’s a lot of rich jersey history for the Pens though and some of that potential went untapped. It’s a shame, really.

Grade: C+

St. Louis Blues (based on the 1995-98 design)

Aside from the music, the St. Louis Blues are blue for a reason. Sure red is in the St. Louis city flag, but they’re the Blues. The BLUES.

This is almost as bad as the trumpet jerseys that were rightfully spited to the gates of the underworld.

It’d almost make sense to put the shoulder patch as the main crest on these, since then it’d at least make sense as an homage to what was almost the worst alternate jersey in the history of the league, but thankfully avoided due to Mike Keenan’s keen eye.

Some things are just better in concept, but in reality they’re not. As a fashion jersey, this is probably fine. As something the team has to wear on the ice for a game, well… …that’s different.

At least the team didn’t end up moving to Saskatoon back in 1983, right?

Grade: D

San Jose Sharks (based on the 1997-2007 design)

Adidas stipulates that this jersey harkens back to 1998, but the San Jose Sharks originally used this template as an alternate jersey back in 1997-98– the final season that San Jose wore their original uniforms since joining the league in 1991 as an expansion team.

The original Sharks logo is a timeless classic from the ’90s, while the fact that San Jose has already reached back and utilized their original setup to mark their 25th anniversary back in the 2015-16 season, it’s only fitting that they’d naturally move onto their second ever look for the subsequent nod to their franchise history.

In other words, ten years from now, you can probably expect an orange Reverse Retro jersey based on the 2007-13 design, because that’d keep the pattern going.

Anyway, these are fine. They’re nothing spectacular, since grey is a hard sell on a home uniform, but reviving an iconic look without murdering it by reversing it is exactly what the Reverse Retro jerseys are all about.

Grade: B

Tampa Bay Lightning (based on the 2001-07 design)

They really like pointing out when teams won Cups years ago with these jerseys, huh? Once again, adidas points out that this is from “2004” (as in “the year the Tampa Bay Lightning won their first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history”), but the Bolts used this template from 2001-07 after originally debuting the frameworks of this jersey when they first hit the ice in 1992 as an expansion team.

Tampa refined the look over the years by changing the number and nameplate font to italics, changing the font altogether and finally landing on the look that they wore the last time they won the Cup before 2020.

As such, these Reverse Retro jerseys are a great nod to the Lightning’s history as a hockey market.

Though their current uniforms might be a bit plain, a blue version of what is essentially their original design adds a spark of life to their complete jersey set.

Teams sometimes go back to old motifs after a while and if these are popular enough, the Lightning would be smart to find a way to mix their current logo with this jersey template or something.

Grade: A

Toronto Maple Leafs (based on the 1967-70 design and 1970-72, 1973-75 design, etc.)

What were they thinking? Seriously, what were they thinking?

It’s one thing to pull out the old alternate Leaf logo on the shoulders from “the bad Leaf era” or whatever, but it’s another thing to use elements from the 1960s Toronto Maple Leafs jersey and slap it on the 1970s and 1980s jersey design.

Toronto introduced new jerseys for the 1967 Stanley Cup Playoffs and went on to win the Cup wearing the Leafs logo that was brought back for its appearance on this Reverse Retro jersey, but again, it’s a sin according to Leafs fans and historians to put it on the base design of some of the worst Maple Leafs hockey in franchise history.

Also, it’s a crime to put a blue maple leaf on a blue Maple Leafs jersey– and with blue numbers on the sides and back too!

There’s so much adidas could’ve done with Toronto’s lengthy history of jerseys and instead they went for the most bland design.

If they hadn’t used up the throwbacks to the Toronto Arenas and Toronto St. Pats over the last few years, then that would’ve been a great opportunity for a Reverse Retro look that was truly something special.

Even still, they could’ve gone with anything from 1927-67 or 1992-2011 for a better retro feel.

These are just insulting to the Leafs’ legacy.

Grade: F

Vancouver Canucks (based on the 2001-06 alternate)

Gradients aren’t usually something that look great in sports– especially on a hockey jersey. Yet, this time around the Vancouver Canucks have made significant strides in gradient technology.

When this template first hit the ice in 2001, Vancouver utilized a slow change from blue to maroon which– while being a little bit out there– didn’t look completely out of place for Canucks standards.

It wasn’t the greatest thing ever seen, but it also wasn’t the worst, since Vancouver’s previous gradient design was a horizontal change as opposed to the almost symmetrical vertical approach.

Plus, the Canucks had those “V” jerseys before, so it can’t possibly get any worse, right?

This time around, instead of maroon, the Canucks are using green and a sharper looking number font. Sometimes progress takes time, but when it’s allowed the time to grow, the end result is something pretty special.

These Reverse Retro threads get a seal of approval as one of the better nods to an organization’s more recent past.

Grade: A

Vegas Golden Knights (based on the Las Vegas Thunder 1993-98 design)

The Vegas Golden Knights were born in 2017, therefore making it pretty difficult to reverse something retro that hadn’t even been born yet.

If you were thinking “well, they could at least reverse the colors of their jerseys” then you must not have noticed the introduction of their gold alternate uniform this offseason, so that limits you further.

Unless you get creative.

“Sin City” used to have an International Hockey League (IHL) team known as the Las Vegas Thunder.

The Thunder had a primarily a 1990s looking teal, silver, black and white color scheme and used the template that Vegas based their Reverse Retro jersey on to design this red edition with the Golden Knights’ alternate logo on the front of it.

It works, but at what cost?

Vegas could use a red jersey in their overall selection of jerseys to choose from, but this one probably won’t be getting too much time in the spotlight.

Even for a place where “a bit much” is the standard, this jersey seems a bit too much.

Grade: C

Washington Capitals (based on the 1995-2000 road design)

The Washington Capitals hit a home run by digging out the eagle and updating it with their current colors. The only thing that should change if these become part of their jersey rotation is the name and number font.

It’s nice to see something from the past brought into the future, but it’d also be nice to see it get cleaned up a bit more than just the occasional dusting.

It’s an iconic look from the days of a questionable change in the direction of the franchise’s branding, but in the end it made the team that much better.

Or maybe this all just the nostalgia talking. Either way, it gets them an “A”.

Grade: A

Winnipeg Jets (based on the old 1979-80 Winnipeg Jets)

Like the Minnesota Wild and their relation to the Minnesota North Stars, the current Winnipeg Jets have nothing to do with the old Winnipeg Jets, but at least the Jets have the ability to use the old Jets logo.

They also have the ability to use the old Jets’ colors, which could’ve led to a unique red based Reverse Retro jersey, but we got something that looks like it was designed by Snow Miser instead.

Did it really have to be grey?

The Aviator Jersey is at least more colorful than this and did a better job inverting the color scheme than whatever’s going on here.

The logo is fine, the rest of the jersey is, well, it leaves something to be desired.

Grade: D-

Categories
Free Agency

Petrovic signs with Flames

The Calgary Flames had a strong opening day in free agency. Not only did they add Jacob Markstrom earlier in the day on Friday, but Calgary also added Alexander Petrovic with a one-year, two-way, contract worth $700,000 at the NHL level and $300,000 at the AHL level.

Petrovic did not play in an NHL game last season after signing a professional tryout agreement with the Boston Bruins at training camp, then later earning a one-year contract and being sent to the Providence Bruins (AHL).

He amassed 2-18–20 totals in 54 games with the P-Bruins last season and might be a little more than just a depth signing if the Flames were in dire need.

Calgary wanted to improve their defense and they got their guy. What a time to be a Flames fan right now.

Categories
Free Agency NHL

Calgary lands Markstrom in free agency

Jacob Markstrom is the latest goalie off of the market, as he and the Calgary Flames agreed to a six-year, $36 million contract (worth $6.000 million per season). It was the longest unrestricted free agent signing of the day on Friday as the NHL’s free agency period began.

A native of Gävle, Sweden, Markstrom was originally drafted in the second round (31st overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2008 NHL Draft and made his league debut with Florida in the 2010-11 season before he was later traded during the 2013-14 season to the Vancouver Canucks ahead of the 2014 trade deadline.

The 30-year-old goaltender had a 23-16-4 record in 43 games (43 starts) last season and amassed a 2.75 goals against average, as well as a .918 save percentage and two shutouts in that span.

For the first time in his career, he made a postseason start in the 2020 playoff format and carried Vancouver in 14 games to an 8-6 record with a 2.85 GAA and a .919 SV%– as well as one shutout– until an injury forced Thatcher Demko to takeover in the crease for the Canucks in their ultimate Second Round series loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games.

Meanwhile, the Flames desperately needed an upgrade in net and can finally differentiate between having a starting goalie and a backup. For the first time in what feels like forever, this isn’t a 1A/1B situation.

Markstrom is an elite goaltender that’s been in the Pacific Division since March 4, 2014, so there’s enough familiarity in what the Flames are getting and will more than likely provide the stability Calgary has been after.

Categories
Free Agency NHL Nick's Net

Wild sign Talbot to three-year deal

Minnesota Wild General Manager, Bill Guerin, added depth to his crease by signing veteran goaltender, Cam Talbot, to a three-year contract worth $11.000 million ($3.667 million per season) on Friday.

The Wild have to negotiate a new contract with their current-restricted free agent goaltender, Kaapo Kähkönen, but once Guerin locks up the 24-year-old young goalie Minnesota will have some healthy competition for the starting and backup jobs in St. Paul between Talbot, Kähkönen and Alex Stalock.

Talbot was originally signed as a free agent by the New York Rangers on March 30, 2010, and broke into the league in the 2013-14 season as the backup to the now new Washington Capitals goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, and spent parts of two seasons as a Ranger before he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on June 27, 2015.

After parts of four seasons with the Oilers, Talbot was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers leading up to the 2019 trade deadline, then signed a one-year deal with the Calgary Flames prior to last season on July 1st.

The 33-year-old native of Caledonia, Ontario went 12-10-1 with a 2.63 goals against average, a .919 save percentage and two shutouts in 26 games (22 starts) with the Flames in 2019-20.

He recorded a 5-4 record with a 2.42 GAA and a .924 SV%, as well as two shutouts for Calgary in all 10 postseason games this summer and has a career record of 150-122-25 in 314 regular season NHL games with a 2.61 GAA, a .915 SV% and 22 shutouts in that span with the Rangers, Oilers, Flyers and Flames.

Talbot played three seasons of college hockey at the University of Alabama-Huntsville from 2007-10 and helped save the independent program in the offseason.