2010-11 Wrap-Up: Of Blings and Strings (Part 2/2)

Will Nashville ever truly lose its Hee-Haw image? Does it even want to? The new Nashville Predators jerseys revealed at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft make me wonder. (Photo courtesy of  morethings.com)


This isn’t gonna win me many friends down at 501 Broadway…
Y’know, it’s one thing to have that gnawing, uncomfortable feeling in your stomach when you dread something; it’s quite another when it turns out you didn’t generate all that excess stomach acid for nothing.

On Thursday, photos depicting what certainly appear to be prototypes of the long-anticipated new Predators home and away jerseys leaked out onto the Internet. They were first posted in the comments section of an entry at OnTheForecheck.com, then later on Twitter, which is when I became aware of them.

It was one of those times I really wish I hadn’t clicked. Why? Oh, how do I put this delicately?

the new jerseys suck balls…

… in my opinion.

The following is a rant borne of frustration. I know full well that not everyone will agree with me. I’m quite sure a lot of folks will consider it an overreaction; that I’m splitting hairs. Nonetheless,  it is my opinion and I cannot let this pass without comment.

In a time when the organization has made great strides in a positive direction, this, I believe is a considerable step back, unless of course, they have a secret sponsor deal in the works with Chiquita Brands International.

Exhibit A:

I need to note that while I really am not in love with the white road version either, the main problem I have is with the home gold/a.k.a. banana suits, as depicted at left.

Here’s the problem (just in case you can’t immediately see it). If you’re saying to yourself, “Wow. This sorta looks like a practice jersey,” well, congratulations! You’re a rational thinker.

The simplified logo, combined with extremely simplified, Tour de France-wear styling and the gawdawful intuitive casualness of this garment make it great for a bike ride, lounging around the house, or possible sleepwear; not so much for a professional-looking hockey sweater.

And that’s where the sorest part of this oh-so-sore spot on my hockey hiney desperately cries out for a little Preparation H.

Whither Then The Third?
What the heyelllllll happened to that which anyone who possessed even the slightest awareness of style agreed was every bit as good as this new version is bad: the current Predators third jersey? You know, the one the team has been wearing on weekend home games these past two seasons; the one that actually looks like a hockey sweater, with its traditional collar, deep navy blue shell, and way-cool (and way-subtle) checkerboard trim on the bottom hem?

That was a jersey a fan could be proud to wear. It was a huge win for the organization, and not only in my estimation; it drew rave reviews from everyone. I never heard a single disparaging comment about it.

In fact, it was so well-liked that it was nearly a foregone conclusion it would indeed become the Preds new home uni, and a reverse white version, as was debuted at the Preds’ charity gala a few months back was likewise assumed to become the new road sweater.

But no.

Apparently, an undisclosed number of ‘season ticket holders,’ presumably interviewed in a focus group, allegedly said they wanted yellow (and I’ll betcha dimes-to-donuts that most of them also liked the mustard-yellow disasters that were the team’s first —and worst — third jersey offering back in the early 2000s).

So the Preds’ Marketing Department went about paving the way — more like, softening the blow — in preparation for the debut of the new home sweater hued in that hideous tweener- banana/gold.

Stood Up
They tipped us off with otherwise the well-done Stand With Us drive-to-the-postseason advertising and graphics campaign, with its series of nicely-designed posters, programs, and paraphernalia, all bathed in a sea of yellow-gold.

I didn’t have a problem with that. I liked it, even, like a before-dinner aperitif. I was totally oblivious to the impending onslaught.

Then came the playoffs and our appetizer of ‘gold-out’ t-shirts and rally towels. My Spidey-sense began to tingle; I started to twitch. The haters were already beginning to snicker.

By this time, I knew what was coming when they brought out the main course.

IHOPEitsnotLIVER, IHOPEitsnotLIVER, IHOPEitsnotLIVER!

Guess what? It was liver.

A jaundiced, yellow liver.

And I think I’m gonna be ill.

As a wise man once said, “Nobody looks good in yellow.” But you retort, “What about the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins?”

Boston can pull it off, because, let’s face it, they’re the killer bees, and the traditional styling of that deep gold and black has never lost its appeal. It works for them.

But the Preds’ gold isn’t the Bruins gold. It’s bright, downright garish in the phosphorescent light of Bridgestone Arena. And while the color may work great on a practice jersey, I cannot escape the feeling that it’s just too bright, too cheery, for a hockey team that now more than ever wants to be taken seriously.

Personally, I’m already bracing for the earthquake-like  tremors generated by the collective belly laugh eminating from around North America when this jersey is officially launched.

I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

Y’see, when you’re fighting Hee-Haw, the first thing you want is classy, established, and traditional — all the things that the rest of the world has long assumed you’re not. The last thing you want is trendy, cute and cheery — especially in hockey. Nashville has just begun to turn the tide of its long-standing cartoon image; the worst thing we can do now, in my opinion, is to reinforce it by dressing our hockey team in cartoon colors.

But that’s just the color. There’s more to be mortified about regarding these new jerseys.

Rumblin’ Bumblin’ Strumblin
It was something I had no clue about until seeing the pictures yesterday. Among the images posted, there was no view offered of the back of the home sweater, but there was one of the road whites — which ironically was the jersey variety I said before that I didn’t have a problem with. Well, that sentiment was in consideration of the shell color; I still don’t care for the overall styling, but I can live with it. However now, what’s choking me nearly as much as the gold is the cutesy inclusion of six thin horizontal stripes running through the middle of the player numerals on the back of both the home and road togs, as shown below.

Exhibit B

When I first saw the picture, I thought, “Oh, …PLEEEASE don’t tell me those are supposed to be guitar strings.”

“I think they’re guitar strings.”

“KAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNNN!!!”

ReallyPredators? GUITAR STRINGS ON THE NUMBERS? Say, why don’t we, while we’re at it, just go down to Greer Stadium and borrow the Nashville Sounds’ gee-tar scoreboard and install it prominently, on the far end of the arena opposite The Cellblock? That way, whether we’re looking in the stands or down on the ice, we can all be reminded that Nashville is more about Country Music than any other possibly more diverse, cosmopolitan, progressive endeavor that we have going on in this wonderful city!

I mean, why fight it? IT’S OUR DESTINY!

Take a breath, AJ.
Okay, allow me back up the truck a bit here. I am not a Music City self-hate monger. I realize that Nashville would not be what it has become were it not for Hank, Waylon, and geetar strings. I get that. What I don’t get is the near insistence we seem to have on reinforcing stereotypes by continuing to lean on the crutch of our Country Music heritage.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE our Tim McGraw goal song. I love and respect the Grand Ole Opry. But Nashville is more than Country Music — a LOT more. We don’t need to remind folks what this town is known for; we need to RE-EDUCATE them on what our hockey club is about, and that we want the Nashville Predators to be what this town is known for.

Okay, screed over. If I’ve stepped on some sensibilities, I apologize. But I had to get this off my chest. I wasn’t just going for yuks here, folks; I’m dead serious about the damage I believe this direction might impose.

However, I tell you what, Preds marketing — I’ll meet you half way.

I’ll live with the gold, if you’ll lose the guitar string motif on the numbers. Together, those two components strike a pretty sour note in the opinion of this season ticket holder.

 

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finis

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6 Responses to “2010-11 Wrap-Up: Of Blings and Strings (Part 2/2)”

  1. Chris June 26, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    AJ as usual I agree with you on this one. Not sure if our hockey teams needs to embrace our country music or music in general. Everyone in North America knows we are music our hockey team was becoming known as Smashville and these new sweaters don’t really say that about our team. Another thing that I am starting to not understand is why are they changing so much? I know third jersey are suppose to be different and worn at most Saturday home games but why are they changing their logo and colors so much? If you take the original 6 teams overall their logo and colors have changed very little over the last 85 years. On the other side of that you take teams like Tampa, Florida, Atlanta, Anaheim along with a few more have changed several times in their very short history. The NHL is all about history, if you watch the NHL Network they have a lot of past history segments something that the NFL, MLB and NBA Networks do not do as much. I think everyone has to agree that blue and gold/yellow are Nashville colors but they do need to take the geetar strings off the numbers and why oh why did they take the skull off this new sweater. To me the skull is as much the Predators as the blue and gold colors. I hope they at least leave it on one side of the jersey. I would be ok if these new ones were our new third and the old third becoming our regular home. Anyway another great blog always enjoy them.

    • AJ in Nashville June 26, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      You nailed it, Chris. It’s the traditional aspect I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot on here. It’s just not a good way to go forward in my opinion. But who knows, maybe there’ll be an unexpected backlash and someone will come to their senses. After all, they haven’t dropped the puck just yet. Thanks as always for your comments! :)

  2. Jen Burns June 27, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    AJ,
    Boy are we on the same page here! What on earth were the focus group & marketing gurus thinking? I am disappointed that this was the best “redesign” they came up with for the Preds. I sure don’t see the Titans doing anything music related on their jerseys. The Titans do have the 3 stars in their logo so a side patch with that for the Preds is a nice nod to the great state of Tennessee (and how we have fans from all three sections of the state). The guitar strings need to go. Yellow/gold is not my favorite color (never has been) so I don’t see me wearing our “free” STH jersey this year unless it comes with a free beer at every game (and then I gotta start drinking beer.) ;-)
    I do hope the Preds organization is listening to all the fans, if it wasn’t for us, the team might not be here.

    • AJ in Nashville June 27, 2011 at 9:13 am #

      Thanks for weighing in, Jen!

      However, I’ve been told by someone (@PredsOnTheGlass) who saw the road jersey up close at the draft that it’s really pretty sharp-looking, so perhaps I’ll hedge my opinion a bit until I can see it for myself. I still have major concerns about the gold, judging not only by the photos I posted, but by the way the gold-out tshirts and rally towels looked under the lights and on TeeVee. But I’m gonna pull back and just say, let’s wait and see. No sense in fighting something you can’t change, and being reasonable in hindsight, perhaps I was jumping the gun a bit over the color indicated by the photos.

      Yeah, I’m moonwalkin’ a bit here, but we’ll see. :)

  3. CC July 4, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Happy 4th of July Preds fans!

    The white jersey in the pic looks good. I think I have to wait and see the whole team on the ice skating with the yellow jerseys before making a call. I think yellow is a difficult colour to pull off but again it’s hard to tell just looking at a pic of a a single jersey on a hanger.

    I agree with the lose the strings sentiment. Everyone on the planet knows Nashville is the country music capital of the world – no need to play up the theme on your hockey jersey. I think the Predators should be building on their hardest playing team in the South theme instead. The music can remain a selling feature by incorporating it into the games entertainment presentation – music before/after/intermissions etc..

    Cheers,

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  1. 2010-11 Wrap-up: Of Blings and Strings (Part 1/2) | Pull My (Fang)Finger - June 25, 2011

    [...] that have been top-of-mind with me lately. Part One here deals my take on the recent NHL awards. In Part Two, I cast a jaundiced eye toward the new Preds’ jerseys that will be making their official debut at [...]

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