29 March 2023

Depeche Mode - Memento Mori


Depeche|ModeMemento | Mori

Yep, this is another review of the fifteenth studio album from Depeche Mode, Memento Mori, released 24 March 2023.  Anyone find it weird that their first tour date was a day before that album release?  How are people suppose to 'study' for the concert when they have not heard the album?

This is not a "first time reaction to" review.  Those are lame. The album has been out a few days, and I have listened to it a few times.  I have no formal training in music, so I will not get into technical stuff (too much).  For sure there are tons of reviews out there that are better and more informative than mine.  Critics seem to give this album positive reviews, while some long time fans are split and tend to lean towards the negative side.

I have been a fan of Depeche Mode for almost four decades, not that it means anything to anyone.  Heck, I have no idea who Caroline is...more on that later.  Here we go, track by track of Memento Mori

1. My Cosmos Is Mine - 7/10

Good intro for the album.  We hear a lot of distortion, some call that "over produced", which has been common with the band with their last few albums.   Dave Gahan sounds good, although it seems like there is a bit of auto tune being used here.  Martin Gore's parts seem out of place, and sort of ruins the mood.  There is a section of repetitive lyrics, which I am not a fan of.  "No more, no more, no more..."  Song would benefit from ending sooner, instead of dragging it out.  Repeating lyrics is just lazy writing and producing.

2. Wagging Tongue -  8/10

A little "Teenage Wasteland" keyboard like intro.  Would not hurt to turn down the keyboards a notch so it does not fight with the rest of the instruments and vocals.  This is a good track. Again, the copy/paste lyrics could have been trimmed down - "watch another angel die..."

3. Ghosts Again - 10/10

This song.  Each line.  Two beats.  Simple.  Easy to hear why this was chosen as the first single, by far the best track on this album.  Great track that got everyone excited for the new album.  Another great track with classic DM elements.  As the first single this track prepares us for a much darker, slower (tempo) album.

4. Don't Say You Love Me - 10/10

Love the lyrics of this one.  Music is done elegantly, and not overdone.  This is a strong track. 

5. My Favourtie Stranger - 7/10

Feels like a lot of callbacks to older DM.  Little too much distortion on the rifts for my taste. The one note repetitive keyboard can use some work to make it more interesting.  Overall a good track, with nothing special.  The vocals, again, seemed like they were put through some sort of auto tuning and/or digital manipulation.  The 'solo section' just sounds like a mess...like a bunch of kids turning every speaker and distortion to 11.

6. Soul With Me - 5/10

Usually not a fan of Martin tracks, except for the early ballads.  This is no different.  Lot of the elements, instruments, vocals, etc., just seems all over the place.  Chorus, again, is monotonous.  Take my soul, indeed.  I am sure people are going to love this track like they love "Home", but it is no "Somebody"

7. Caroline's Monkey - 8/10

This is...different, not your typical DM, but it works.  Like many of the tracks, the electronic synth noises seem out of place.  Still not sure who Caroline is, and why she has a monkey.  I am sure it has to do something with drugs and/or sex. 

8. Before We Drown - 8/10

Another strong track.  Lyrics are great, but unfortunately, are drowned by the music (instruments).  The backing track needs to be toned down a little to let the song float above the clutter.  

9. People Are Good - 8/10

Good beat on this one, more 'dancey' than the rest of the album.  The most upbeat song of the album.  Fairly good balance between the music and lyrics.  I can see this being used in a night club scene, like in Collateral or some John Wick movie...something where people are dancing while an assassin is killing bad guys to flashy lights and this track.  Still, too much distortion.

10. Always You - 6/10

The words are set to a beat of a ballad, but the music is set to a dance track.  Sounds like a dance remix.  The beat kind of ruins the song.  Also, say it with me...repetitive lyrics.  Surely you can replace "my love" with something else.  Maybe sing "There's always you" once, maybe twice.  Come up with something different or just end the song earlier.

11. Never Let Me Go - 5/10

Another track where the beat and music competes with each other and the words, with distortion and auto tune coming out on top...with repetitive lyrics.

12. Speak To Me - 8/10

Little Nat King Cole "When I Fall In Love" feel to this ballad. Since Dave (and others) have started writing tracks, their tracks been very good.  While different from typical DM, this track is great...until the producers go crazy with the distortion pedal at the end.  Otherwise, great track to close out the album, much like "Goodnight Lovers" was for "Exciter".

Conclusion - Overall score 7.5/10

This is a darker, slower tempo, distorted version of the Depeche Mode, with repeating lyrics.  "MmWaaahhh...dgzzz, dgzzz" - These have been the go to sounds for a few albums now.  While those ingredients work for some tracks, it should not be used on every track.  It definitely should be overtaking the track as there is way too much distortion and clutter ruining otherwise good/great songs. 

While there is a lot of copy/paste song writing on many of the tracks, the overall lyrics is well written.  As I have mentioned, some of these songs could work better buy trimming those monotonous areas, as well as toning down the electronic distortions and auto tune of  the voice.

Many of the song titles are confusing, as they call back to Depeche Mode classics like People are People, Never Let Me Down Again, Speak and Spell, It's No Good, etc.  Alternate track names would help allow these new tracks to stand out.  Well, I guess the distortion is the difference.

Looking forward to seeing Depeche Mode concert, again.. Until then, I will be studying and absorbing Memento Mori.

05 March 2023

Eddie "the Editor" Hamilton - Top Gun: Maverick


Top Gun: Maverick Avid Timeline

 Obviously, I wrote this in advance, since this has been bugging me for months. I have two intros to this post, one for each outcome of the 95th Annual Academy Awards, which happens next Sunday. 

Version 1:  Congratulations to Eddie Hamilton on winning the Academy Award for Best Achievement in Film Editing for Top Gun: Maverick!  TGM really was the best movie of 2022.  While the film was nominated for six Oscars, Film Editing was a sure lock for Eddie Hamilton.

But, there is one editing hiccup that just does not flow right...

Version 2:  Well, I guess it is always good to get nominated by the Academy. If you ask me, and many others, Top Gun: Maverick should have been nominated for more, and won more, especially when we are talking about a once in a generation cinematic experience like Top Gun; Maverick. 

There is one editing hiccup that may has cost Eddie Hamilton his first Oscar win...

This scene has bothered me for a while.  You may have missed it this first time.  But upon further viewing, there is a clear continuity mistake in the edit.  Here is the timeline as presented to us by Academy Award Nominated/Winner, Eddie Hamilton.  

When the team is on the carrier, we see beautiful shots of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) with a great soundtrack.  Speaking of shot and soundtrack.  Huge Oscar snubs for Cinematographer Claudio Miranda and Composers Hans Zimmer, Harold Faltermeyer , Lady Gaga.

Tom Cruise as Captain Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

Anyway, we cut to...sorry, Eddie Hamilton cuts to Maverick in the hangar bay staring out to sea, in full flight gear, delivering the iconic Top Gun line, "Talk to me Goose", as he collects his thoughts.  This is his final mission.  Note that his flight suit has no patches.  Patches are removed as one gets deployed into combat zones.

Charles Parnell as Rear Admiral Solomon "Warlock" Bates

Warlock appears behind Maverick, "Captain Mitchell.  You're where you belong.  Make us proud." Behind, the track appropriately titled "You're Where You Belong".  Brilliant!  Maverick acknowledges as the elevator comes down with two Hornets.  

Maverick on elevator, Warlock looks on

Maverick steps on the elevator and rides up with the two F/A-18's.  Much cooler shot than watching Maverick take the stairs. 

Heading up to deck.  Full flight gear, no patches

The next scene, we are in the hangar for a mission briefing. Uh, they have briefing rooms for mission briefs, why have it in the hangar area where there is a bunch of noise and stuff going on? Again, looks better on camera.  Cyclone and Warlock are there as the team is chosen by team leader Maverick.  Note that Maverick is only in his flight suit, with no flight gear.  Also, all his patches (Top Gun Fighter Weapons School, Name tag, American Flag) are on the flight suit.

Mission briefing in the hangar.  Flight suit only, with patches

After the brief, they all head up to deck for a sweet montage

Phoenix and Bob ready for mission

Wait, so Maverick is in full gear...goes from hangar to deck...then takes off the gear, puts patches back on, goes back down below deck to the hangar for mission briefing...picks the team...then removes patches and puts on his gear, again...stand by the elevator for Warlock scene?  Man, Hondo is one busy guy.

Bashir Salahuddin as Wo-1 Bernie "Hondo" Coleman

The briefing scene should be before the Warlock and Maverick scene.  Right?  I could be wrong, but it should go like this:

  • Carrier cutting through the ocean 
  • Mission Brief, Maverick (in flight suit only, with patches) selects the team
  • Pre-flight montage
  • Warlock and Maverick (in full flight gear, no patches) in hangar, "You're where you belong" 
  • Maverick goes up elevator with planes...or take the stairs
  • Hangman/Rooster, on deck "You give'em Hell"
  • Maverick/Rooster pre-flight "We'll talk when we get back

That is it, this is what keeps me up at night.

Update:  Well, well, well.  The final script was released and the time line is exactly what I thought I should be.  Now, we all know that things change due to time, money, availability, etic and hopefully fixed in the editing room.  You can read the scrip HERE


Note that the meeting takes place in the ready room.  Am I looking way too much in to this?

Eddie Hamilton, ACE

Oh, one more thing. In another scene, Maverick say, "this will be a cake walk".  No!  This is a chance for another callback. The line should be "this will be a walk in a park".  Come on, guys!  Otherwise, perfect movie, masterfully edited. 

01 March 2023

2022 NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys - Pacific Division


2022 NHL Reverse Retros

Finally, the Pacific Division.  After this, I will be done...and you will not have to read about my stupid opinions.  At least, until the next Reverse Retros come out.  Less work for me, as there was a lot of research just looking for good images of these uniforms in action.  Less work for you, of course, you can just skip this for something way more interesting.  But, there will be some interesting facts and theories in this entry.  

Anaheim Ducks

Anaheim Ducks - 8/10

Admit it, the Disney logo is the better logo. Another all-time-great logo in sports.  People whined about Disney buying a hockey team to promote a movie.  Yeah, so?  It takes years and a lot of money to start an NHL franchise.  Disney just one day said, "hey, how about we promote this mediocre movie franchise by starting a hockey team...in Southern California?"  And, they did!  Bonus, they had some of the best designers in the world designing the logo and uniform.  Although, if I know my licensors, I am sure the designs went through thousands of rounds of changes. 

Pretty much anytime a team goes with orange, green, and/or purple, you have a winning combo.  Heck, the original colours of the Mighty Ducks were green and purple...sorry, "jade and eggplant".  

Oh, the design.  Anaheim has a good history of design.  Yes, even the Wild Wing jersey is awesome!  Why else would that be their first Reverse Retro?  The lone not-so-good design is the wordmark logo.  But, they fixed that by just using the more legible D logo.  This season's Reverse Retro, is a good execution using the logo and template of their original uniform, but replacing it with current colour pallet.  Again, the orange is key here.  The Ducks could have easily (and lazily) stayed with black pants, but those orange pants are fire!  These uniforms pop on ice.

Another reason to love this logo...it is the one worn by Paul Kariya!

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames - 8/10

Ah, the pedestal jersey.  Back in the mid 1990's, a new technology allowed ink to be laser printed on fabric.  Which, for teams in the NHL, jerseys with whacky stripes and not limited to traditional basic  horizontal striping (or major change in the template).  Coming out of the lockout shortened season, the Calgary Flames were one of the teams that used this new technology and gave us the pedestal.  The pedestal jersey era was the dark years for the Flames. 

While I am not a fan of black uniforms, more on that later, there is enough accent colours here to balance out the black.  This is the first time we see the Flaming C logo on a black jersey (as a main logo), as other black jerseys featured Blasty the flaming horse head.  Is the white Flaming C too bright?  Would a yellow Flaming C, and numbers (on back) work better?  I get it, this is the same white Flaming C from the mid-1990's with black and yellow trim.  But, ponder this...yellow C with red and white trim, same with back numbers.  Keep the numbers on the sleeve the same as the white and black trim work well against the red.

I also dig the pants.  Back in the day, I got some scrap vinyl and hand sewed this exact pattern on my hockey pants.  I even did the same pattern on the 'midsoles' of my skates with coloured electrical tape.  All this to match my white pedestal jersey and the socks.  Still have everything,  I even made a hand sewed and painted a mini jersey, using the vinyl pieces to make the Flaming C crest.  Nerd!

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers - 8/10

Remember when Todd McFarlane was part owner of the Oilers?  Remember when he designed an alternate jersey for the team?  Remember how many thought that design was lame?  The original design of the jersey was a navy blue base with grey (silver) and white trim. This Reverse Retro added the orange that the original needed to make everything pop.  I get it, you want a cool looking third jersey so you go brooding comic book dark with monotone theme.  Hence the dark navy blue and minimal colour accents...think Gotham City Oilers.

Speaking of monotone, the Oilers' current alternate uniform, the blue and orange one, is crap.  Damn, what an eyesore.  When you have complementary colours like that, on a uniform, it needs some white (or other accent colour...not black) to break things up.  It just does not work.  Get rid of it.

Anyway, this crashing-mechanical-oil-drop-on-a-space-sprocket is the first and only time the main Oilers logo is not on the jersey.  The alternate uniforms had a good run for a few years.  Maybe they got rid of it because fans did not think too much of it.  Maybe it was gone because McFarlane sold his part of ownership.  Or maybe they did not want to be know as just winning five championships.  See the five rivets on the gear?  Yep, those are the five Cups.  As mentioned in my write up on the Islanders, I am not a fan of tallying the teams championships on a logo.  Okay, they got rid of this design (partly) due to change in jersey template throughout the league when Reebok re-designed all the NHL jerseys.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles, Kings - 9/10

Nailed it.  Prepare for a history lesson and why purple and gold is the direction the Kings should go and never should have moved away from.

When you think purple and gold, you think royalty.  That is why these colours were chosen to represent the Kings.  The Kings are the only major sports team originally from and stayed in Los Angeles.  Sadly, when you think purple and gold, especially in LA, you think Lakers.  Well, the Lakers were originally from Minnesota (where there are lakes).  The original colours were blue and white...like water.  When they relocated to LA, they keep the name and colours.  

Meanwhile, the Kings were the royal purple and gold.  With the Lakers and Kings playing in the Forum, the Lakers changed their colours to match the Kings.  Yes, Lakers' colours is really Kings' colours.  Then in 1988, you had two things that literally changed the look of the Kings forever.  Under new ownership, the Kings were looking for a new identity. With the popularity of the Los Angeles Raiders, and  their merch selling like crazy.  The Kings abandoned their royal colours and adapted the silver and black.  They also had a blockbuster trade that brought in Wayne Gretzky.  

The silver and black design is boring.  It just looks black and white.  In this age of big screen colour television, we are watching a black and white hockey game in hi-definition.  All that glitz and glamour in LA and you go with black and white.

Oh, I am not done.  The Kings' current logo is crap!  It sucks!  The crown was their best logo, see Reverse Retro.  They Chevrolet logo was a far step down...you jack the font from the Lakers and colours from the Raiders.  They brought back purple to complement black and silver.  They played with a shield design for a while and even designed a new crown logo.  But, take a good look at the current logo. It is home plate!  Now, they are jacking home plate from the Dodgers.  The worst part is the Kings won two Cups in that jersey/logo, so no way they are changing it anytime soon...and that stupid baseball home plate is in the rafters, representing their hockey team.  Ugh!

Anyway, this Reverse Retro is a win simply for not borrowing from other LA teams and bringing back royalty and originality to the Kings.

Seattle Kraken
Seattle Kraken - 5/10

Uh, okay...I guess.  According to the press release, the design "honours the 1943-44 Isaacson (Seattle) Ironmen of the Northwest Industrial Hockey League (NIHL)".  Remember what I said about vintage jersey designs?  They are limited to horizontal striping due to stitching techniques.

Giving the Kraken a pass on this design (sort of), since this only their second season in the league. No real 'history'.  But, why not use that awesome secondary logo seen on the shoulders?  Yeah, that one!  The awesome anchor with the Seattle Space Needle.  How about that Metropolitans jersey they were teasing when before they named the team?  

I think they could have done something better/different.  Without knowing the history of the city and its relation to hockey, the Ironmen tribute is a deep dive.  This just looks like a third...a good third, and a good enough Reverse Retro, under the circumstances

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks - 8/10

Wow, the Sharks nailed it with this design.   Since they are limited in logos, it was great move to dig deep into Bay Area NHL history with this Golden State Seals tribute uniform.  The Seals went through a few uniform/logo changes in their short history.  This design was from the last few seasons in Oakland, before they relocated to Cleveland.  

Fortunately, the Sharks have a pretty good history of uniform designs.  Okay, a few flaws...and you know where I am going with this.  Yep, the black jerseys.  At one point, every Pacific team had a black uniform.  Boring!  Although they have modified their logo to give it a more 'modern' look...similar to the Flyers, the Sharks do not have separate logos for home and away. They have one logo.  So, that logo did not pop against those black uniforms, especially when they removed the triangle (which may have helped it pop) on the black uniforms.  Hey, how about a grey (silver) shark? 

By the way, this is the first time the Sharks have something other than their logo on their jerseys.  For a few seasons, the Sharks had their main logo on the front, and on the shoulders of their jerseys.  That is too much.  The fin logo on the shoulders was a nice touch. Good to see that is back...could work as an alternate logo.

This Reverse Retro design is a great look.  The Seals knew they were on the right path when they picked these colours.  Just ask the Flint Tropics from the ABA.  But, imagine if the Sharks went with the yellow/green (Oakland Athletics) Seals uniforms...with the white skates.  White skates are awesome, just ask Sergei Fedorov.

Vancouver Canucks

Vancouver Canucks - 7/10

Bro, what are you doing?  The Canucks almost had a perfect design with this Reverse Retro.  But, they done screwed up.  So much good happening with this design, and one stupid design-by-committee ruined it.  Good news is, there is an easy fix.

The good parts.  It looks retro...and I do not mean "Reverse Retro"...I mean, it looks timeless.  The proportions of the stripes are spot, with the green balancing out the blue.  The elbow strip repeated on the socks.  The Johnny Canuck logo is the Canucks' best logo.  Yep, first time used as a main logo on their uniform.  Bonus points for having lace-up collar...retro and timeless.

The bad.  Look where the Captain C is located.  Yes, I bring it up every time a team does this...because the C/A belongs on the left side of the uniform.  Why is the C/A forced to the right in this design?  There are numbers on the left side!  What is this, some sort of Bizzaro world?  Numbers do not belong on the front of a hockey jersey.  That is another strike.  

Wait, there is more, look at the left arm...what is missing?  Yeah, the jersey number...there is nothing there.  Hold on, going off on a tangent.  Remember when the league added numbers to the front of the helmet so "refs and identify the players better"?  Well, good luck identifying the players when they are skating right to left, you cannot see their number.  This is almost as bad as shoulder numbers.  Some intern must have shifted the the C/A and jersey number before submitting the design to the league...and then some intern in the league front office approved it.  

Since this is just a limited edition uniform, it gets a slight pass.  Like I said, this is an easy fix.  When...yes, when...the Canucks make this design their main uniforms, they need to do it properly and move the C/A and number to their assigned positions.  If you are a Canucks fan, let the organization know.  If you bought or plan to buy this jersey, get it customized with name/number/captain...and ask them to put the letters and numbers in the right place. 

Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights - 11/10

Winner, winner...chicken dinner!  In their short history, Vegas has nailed every jersey.  Their regular home and away has patterns and textures on the logo and sleeves.  They went with grey as their dark jerseys.  For their whites, they have matching white gloves...the first to have home and away gloves. 

In true Vegas fashion, they went with a gold...and I mean GOLD...for their alternate jersey.  With limited history, their first Reverse Retros honour the Las Vegas Thunder, using their template.  They did this in red, with their secondary 'star' logo.  I mean, come on!  Sure, those retros looks a little like the 2003 Flames jersey, why mess with great design.

Now for their fifth jersey design, Vegas goes with a black uniform.  They had two previous chances to fall back on a black jersey, but they waited until now.  You know how I generally feel about black uniforms.  But, the Golden Knights do a good job with enough accents to warrant a colour television.  Striping is good.  Again gold for Golden Knights, not yellow, but gold with sparkles.  Great selection of font choice, even though wordmarks in general are lame.  The VEGAS font is from the Excalibur hotel, while the number font is from the old Stardust hotel.  Can you get more Vegas?  Yes, you can

Glow in the dark!!!

Oh, I should mention that parts of the uniform GLOW IN THE DARK!!!  The white elements, the front VEGAS letters, player's numbers on back and arms, trim around the shoulder logos, adidas logo on back of neck, trim on pants, and off course the corporate sponsor logo all have lume. 

Yes, I would buy one just for the lume.  

There you have it, some rando's opinion on the 2022 NHL Reverse Retro jerseys for all 32 teams.  Thanks for making it this far.  The adidas contract runs out next season (or season after), so there will be a new uniform manufacturer and new designs.  Until next time...

05 February 2023

2022 NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys - Central Division

2022 NHL Reverse Retros

On to the Western Conference...if you are old school and retro...the Campbell Conference.

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona Coyotes - 8/10

Based on the team's third jersey design from the late 1990's, the designed was originally on a green jersey.  For the 2021 Reverse Retros, Arizona brought back the design on a purple jersey.  Following the use of 'unconventional', but awesome colours, this season we get this design on an orange jersey.  If I was a Coyotes fan and had unlimited funds,  I would be rocking all three designs as a season ticket holder.

In short, these are fantastic.  I love how the organization is having fun with Reverse Retro designs.  They certainly look better and more interesting that their burgundy/howling coyote head phase.  Sometimes teams get it right the first time with their first uniform design.  Those designs limited their options.  What did they do for third jerseys during this period?  Black, just black...black and boring.  Also the position of the head meant the captain's C/A was pushed over to the right side of the jersey.  This just looks dumb.  More on that later.

If you squint a little, these Reverse Retro uniforms look the Duck's Retros from last year.  Orange jersey with black pants. Good thing over 90% of NHL teams do not use orange, but when they do, it (usually) looks great.  Except Philadelphia, see Flyer's entry for more details.

Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks - 2/10

Oh no, what have you done?  Okay, I get it.  It is a throwback to some of the Blackhawk's original jersey designs.  

To my knowledge, the Blackhawks have only used the their regular logo or a modified one (in a circle) on their jerseys.  This is the first time "CHICAGO" has been featured on their uniforms.  Although it may be classified as a third jersey, here is a chance to use their secondary logo on the crest.  Talking about the C with crossed tomahawk logo.  Speaking of tomahawks, maybe do something with Tommy Hawk, like the Ducks did with Wild Wing.  Again, getting into third jersey territory if they did that.  

Remember what I said about Original Six teams and how they are handcuffed to their history?  This is the result of that tradition.  Only hardcore Blackhawk fans are getting this for their collection.  

Colorado Avalanche
Colorado Avalanche - 10/10

Whoa!  Two Reverse Retro designs paying tribute to the Colorado Rockies.  I think the New Jersey Devils did it slightly better.  Of course, the Devils have direct history linked to the Rockies...and they incorporated the correct red pants.

Anyway, this is also a win for the Avalanche.  When the team moved from Quebec to Denver, they kept the 'mountain' theme in their name and logo, as well as the jersey design.  The 'jagged' band that runs from shoulders to wrists form a mountain range.  This template has been part of their jerseys since the beginning, only changing for special uniform designs.

This is not the first time the Avalanche used the Rockies C logo, also seen on the Colorado state flag.  It was first seen on the shoulder, replacing the yeti foot secondary logo, then later as a main logo in one of their Stadium Series games.  The Avalanche has also used the Colorado flag on a third jersey.  The yeti foot logo would be a great logo for a third.

Whether it is the yeti foot logo or Rockies/Colorado flag logo, the Avalanche has great secondary/shoulder logos.  A nice touch to use their main logo on the shoulders for this design.

Hoping for a dark version of this, along with a dark version for the Devils.  Would be great to see a home and home series with the two teams in their Rockies uniforms.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars - 6/10

A throwback to their original jersey with the strip running down both arms.  The Stars' inaugural home jerseys where white with a black stripe with green trim (the NHL had white home uniforms).  This was a straight carry over from Minnesota North Stars uniform, with no change to the template.  They added the Texas patches on the shoulder and DALLAS down the side of the pants.  

The main Stars logo was not changed from Minnesota, adding the "Dallas" on top of the logo a season later with slight adjustments to the striping and darker green.  This Reverse Retro design uses the original Stars logo, without the Dallas on top.

Overall, this is an okay design for Dallas.  Their jersey designs have quite average in recent years.  By far their best design was one 'borrowed' from the mid-1990's All-Star jerseys.  Yeah, the Star jersey.  They played with it last season for their first Reverse Retro, but did it in all white.  Like too much white, much like Buffalo's Reverse Retros.  Their current third/alternate jersey is pretty sweet...the one with the neon trim...which also kind of borrows from the 2015 All-Star Jersey.  Hey Dallas, what up with that?

Yo, go with a star jersey in gold with black, green, and white trim. 

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild - 7/10

The dark version of their 2021 Reverse Retros.  The stars on the pants are a great touch, and they saved money and just used pants from last time.  Now, they have the complete set of home and away North Stars tribute uniforms.

One minor design slip up is the Wild logo.  With the green on green, the crest gets lost in the jersey.  This is the same issue the Wild had with their initial dark jerseys since the logo colours (like Philadelphia) do not change.  They 'solved it' later by having a secondary logo for the dark uniforms or adding a light colour band across the torso to pop the dark logo.

The North Stars green jerseys had a white N logo with yellow trim, pointing at a yellow star with white trim.  Not sure what can be done here on the Reverse Retros to make that logo pop.  While you can have white trees and clouds, yellow sun and star...you will end up with a green sky and river.  

By the way, the Wild logo is one of the best logo designs in sports.  It may not work with this template, but it was never designed to be Reverse Retroed.  These uniforms still look great.

Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators - 5/10

Wait, where is the mustard?  And why the "Nashville" on top?  Many made fun of the mustard colour uniforms this design is based on. But, the mustard was the best part.  The problem is the logo, which is a step down from their main one...one that is a big step down from the similar Wild logo. 

The wordmark is also unnecessary,  especially one with the city...on a home jersey.  I think people in Nashville, know they are in Nashville.  At least they did not bring back that stupid flat-bottom-v neck line from the mustard jersey.  Speaking of flat-bottom-v, do they still use that to sharpen skates?

Cool that they brought back something from their history.  They took away the part of those jerseys that made them stand out in the first place...the mustard.  Replacing the mustard with their yellow is okay, but what if they took their original jersey template, with main logo, and made it mustard?

St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues - 10/10

Okay, I like this.  Yeah, I know it steps away from the "blue" theme.  But the team is named after the music genre (actually a song, but you know what I mean) and not the colour.  The organisation has a great history of uniforms and logos and have identify themselves as "blue".

Although the gloves are a little too dark, but that might just be from Warrior.  Too lazy to find a better picture. You know how long it takes to find good pictures of these Reverse Retros on ice, in full body, and shows most of the design?  Anyway, helmet is a perfect match, and that is from Warrior...what gives?  The pants are a perfect match as well.  Because, CCM.  Great overall look in the uniform.

A lot is working on this uniform. Using the original unused St. Louis Blues logo and template is fantastic.  Love the retro logo...true retro, from 1966.  Choosing yellow as a base with blue trim is a bonus for me, as it looks like Team Sweden.  

For next time, you know what we all want.  Make it happen and give us the trumpets!

Winnipeg Jets

Winnipeg Jets - 9/10

This is pretty much what we all wanted when the Reverse Retros came out in 2021.  We all had to wait another year to get this.  Worth the wait.  

Okay, I am being a little nitpicky.  But, there should be a some red trim.  Just on the logo, a red circle, just like the old logo.  Otherwise, perfect!

Perhaps the next Reverse Retro, they can do something with the Atlanta Thrashers templates, colours and logos.  That would be the bomb.

21 January 2023

2023 NHL Reverse Retro All-Star Jerseys


2023 NHL All-Star Jerseys

The NHL just released these jerseys a few days ago.  I guess I should do a quick write up on this before we get to the Western Conference Reverse Retros.  Actually, I have them already written, Central Division will be released in February and Pacific Division will be posted in March. I know, you are dying of anticipation.

Like many of you, I had forgotten about he All-Star Game all together.  As with tradition, the format is changed every year.  This year, it seems like the NHL picks one player from each team.  That way, we have at least one member from each team...and no one gets left out...and everyone is happy.  

Then, there is fan voting to complete the rosters.  A good way for fans to pad the ballots and get half their team into their respected division.  Nothing like a third-liner at an All-Star Game, a la All-Star MVP John Scott.  

Well, there you have it. The All-Star Jerseys, a throwback to the mid-1990's design...but, you know, Reverse Retroed.

But wait, the competition format has not changed (that I am aware of). Heck, I had to look up where the game is hosted this year.  Florida, in case you had no idea either.  Anyway, for the past few seasons, the All-Star Game has been a tournament style format between the four divisions.  But, there are only two jerseys?  May I suggest something?

Remember the McDonald's NHL All-Star Muppets?  

McDonald's NHL All-Star Muppets

This should be your Eastern Conference.  Yeah, change the colours a little, maybe more green on Kermit's jersey.  Or, go with orange or yellow for one Division and blue for the other.

McDonald's NHL All-Star Muppets

Then you can have something like this for the Western Conference.  Pick your four colours, mix in a little Reverse Retro powder and you have four jerseys to sell.  Just swap the word mark with the division and you are set...or just keep it as "Muppets".

Oh...wait for it...then use black (Eastern) and white (Western) jerseys for the final game.  Do that.

Then, next year Dallas can 'borrow' this design again. 

06 January 2023

2022 NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys - Metropolitan Division


2022 NHL Reverse Retros

The Metropolitan Division Reverse Retro jerseys ready for my stupid opinion. We had to wait for some teams to debut their jerseys on the ice to get a full view of the uniform.  Some of these images were hard to find...all were stolen from the internet.

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes 2/10

Fail!  While it works in the black or white jersey version, the hurricane warning flags, being red, get lost and blended in to the red jersey.  It looks like two white marks instead of a C, more like "-_ANES" or "=ANES".  

Wordmark of the nickname is also a strike against this.  Imagine if Montreal went with a diagonal wordmark of "HABS".  

The greyed out storm warning flags on the waist is a good touch.  Maybe incorporate those flags around the arm.

Columbus Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets 7/10

They could have easily gone overboard with designing the uniform.  Admit it, this works.  Columbus has a history of good jersey designs and great logos.  That gives them a lot of room to play with win coming up with Reverse Retro designs.  Also, that blue trim on the bottom of the pants nicely breaks up the black of the pants and socks.  Not much more to say, I think they nailed it.

New Jersey Devils

New Jersey Devils 10/10

Nailed it!  A throwback to the Kanas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies uniforms.  Just think, if the owners of the Devils kept the same colour theme as the Rockies, this is what the Devils would have looked like in their inaugural season.  

The Devils did a great job despite having very little design changes in their logo and jersey history. Not much to play with. Okay, basically no change to their design other than changing from red/green to red/black.  Their only third jersey design is the 'Jersey' design.  Maybe next time, we see a red or white 'Jersey' design.  Even better, a blue version of the Rockies Reverse Retro

New York Islanders

New York Islanders 9/10

Yo, the Gorton's fisherman logo is back!  Back in 1995, this was all the rage...and I mean rage!  Many fans (and players) were not in favour this design.  This logo lasted two seasons before it was replaced by the old familiar circle logo. 

The fisherman logo is essentially the Islanders only exploration into a new logo.  There have only been slight variations of the circle logo, which includes just the 'NY' logo, and adding a fourth stripe on the hockey stick (originally three) to represent the four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-1983.  Meh, I think 'handcuffing' your history with, "we won four Cups"...also says "we only...and will ever only...win those four Cups".   Like, what do you do if the team wins another Cup?  Add another stripe?  That means new logo, along with the revamping the entire catalog of merchandise.  Sure that means more revenue, but now your are stuck with that 'winning identity' of four stripes with five or more victories.  See how that complicates things?  What if they go on another four Cup run?

Anyway, as much controversy the fisher logo caused in the mid-90's, this is what fans wanted.  Credit to the Islanders, this looks good.  What makes it work is the omitted teal and 'wave' stripe.  Keeping the colours to their blue and orange, with a little white to make things pop, and a nice 'swoop' stripe  brings everything togethers.  This design will work nicely as a third jersey for the team.

New York Rangers

New York Rangers 7/10

At one point, the original NYR Liberty jersey, from the mid-1990's, was the best selling jersey in the NHL.  So, it makes sense to bring this back as a Reverse Retro...again. Instead of going back tot he dark blue, they kept the Ranger blue.  Again, it works. It works because the original was a great design, sales do not lie.  It works because the Liberty logo says "New York" and is one of the best logo designs out there.

Unlike the other Original Six teams, the Rangers have done some experimenting with logo and jersey design.  Okay, very little.  They have the regular "RANGERS" wordmark, which is pretty much the only diagonal wordmark that works, only because that is all we know.  There is the "NEW YORK" word mark that, at a glance, looks similar to the Rangers design, while there is exploration of font.  

Then there is the shield logo, which looks 'wrong' because we are so used to seeing a diagonal wordmark.  The logo makes it way on the shoulders of the Liberty jerseys.  When they show the logos of teams on TV, they use that shield logo.  The Rangers' shield is the only logo consistently used that  is not the teams main logo.

Philadelphia Flyers

Philadelphia Flyers 6/10

Cooperalls!  Too bad they only wear the Cooperalls for warm-ups.  The overall (ha!) uniform looks great.  But, without the full roller hockey look, this jersey itself is kind of meh.

Like much of the Original Six, the Flyers (I know, not one of the Original Six) have a very limited pallet when it comes to logo design and jersey design.  Outside of adding a border, once, the flying P logo has not changed.  I mean, it has not changed at all.  This is their only logo, with no secondary/alternate logo.  Their only logo only comes in black with an orange dot.  Yeah, even when they had black jerseys, they use the same logo.  You can see one of the fans wearing a black jersey in the photo above.

They have a limited pallet of black, orange, and white.  The cut of their jersey, while unique, has basically gone unchanged.  Base jersey with strip running from neck down to elbow, splitting to wrap around forearms.  Finish with band around cuffs, optional band around waist.  That is it, that is their template for home and away uniforms.  Oh, and the damn numbers on the arms always cross over the strip, sometimes blending into the sleeve.  Fine, do that, but you need a contrasting border to make the numbers pop.

Okay, on special occasions the Flyers will opt for the 'traditional hockey jersey look' with stripes on the arms and waist.  But, only for special occasions like Anniversary, limited thirds, and Winter Classic uniforms.  

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins 8/10

When the Penguins won back-to-back Cups in 1991 and 1992, they changed their logo to what is known as the "robo penguin".  They did not win a Cup until they switched back to the "skating penguin"...also, that Sidney Crosby guy might have helped.  Two more back-to-back Cups.  It has been five years since their last Championship and the robo penguin is back after 20 years.  What does this mean for their Cup runs?

The uniform looks good. While I love the yellow shoulder yokes, it maybe a little too much yellow...or maybe just enough.  At times, the Penguins uniforms look a lot like a Bruins uniform. The large yellow patches of these Reverser Retros make them look more like Boston than usual.  Yes, I get confused when I see a Pittsburgh vs Boston game.  Upon further review, the large shoulder yokes looks more like Starfleet uniforms.  Think first five seasons of Deep Space Nine and Voyager Anyway, the white trim around the yellow, especially the shoulders, work well.  Otherwise, you may be watching Captain Crosby and the crew of the USS Penguin.  Always loved the unique tapered striping on the Pittsburgh's pants.

Like most of the Metropolitan Division, the Penguins did a great job of design their Reverse Retros.  Both versions of the Penguin are great logos.  Perhaps they will bring back the yellow/white torso band from the mid-1990 third jersey design.  

Washington Capitals
Washington Capitals 7/10

The eagle logo has one annoying flaw it shares with the Red Wings logo.  It forces the C or A to the opposite side of the jersey.  This more annoying as many of the teams have sold the upper right chest area for corporate sponsorship.  The screaming eagle logo also does not scream "Capitals", but that is okay, as we get wordmark right underneath the eagle in a true 1990's diagonal striping.  

Most of the teams that experimented with a new or third jersey design in the mid-1990's had a diagonal strip.  There was new laser printing back then so they could print graphics and/or diagonal striping on the jerseys.  Before this 'laser', striping was done by knitting.  So, only horizontal striping was available.  Unless you cut the template in a way to get vertical or other fancy colour breaks (see Flyers).  

Back to this eagle jersey in black.  This is the first time we see the screaming eagle in black.  It had only appeared on the white or blue jersey, never in black.  The black thirds you are thinking of had the Capital building logo (also with different striping)...which makes sense.  Capitals. The logo appears on the shoulders on this design. Great that Washington did a Reverse Retro combining elements to something very familiar, yet very different.  Ovechkin played his first few seasons in the screaming eagle (white) and Capital (black) logo era. 

One more comment on colours.  Strange that a team from Washington DC would use blue, black, and gold as their team colours.  Glad they when back to red, white, and blue.  The previous Reverse Retro with the screaming eagle on red jersey was really good.  

07 December 2022

2022 NHL Reverse Retro Jerseys - Atlantic Division


2022 NHL Reverse Retros

The NHL and adidas designed another set of Reverse Retros for all 32 teams.  Some of these designs are really good, some are really bad.  No one asked for this, but here is my opinion on the 2022 Reverse Retros.  I have no qualifications, so feel free to disagree with my opinion.  Starting with the Atlantic Division, since all the teams have debuted their new jerseys on the ice. 

Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins - 8/10

Has there been a bad Bruins jersey?  Well, yes.  But this is not one of them.  This one works on many levels.  It brings back the 90's third jersey with the bear, this time in white.  Yeah, it looks like an MTV Liquid Television version of a bear that is about to attack Aeon Flux, but who cares...it works.  The jagged shoulder yokes and sides look like claws, or rips...rips by claws.  

Number and letter placement works, as well as the font, classic.  The 'Bruins' shoulder patch is just enough to bring everything together.  Plus, they Bruins have set an NHL record for longest home win streak, with only a handful of losses so far.  This is all thanks to a pretty good jersey design.  The Winter Classic jersey, on the other hand, is another story.

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres - 6/10

Dude, what the hell is going on here? There is too much white.  At the same time, not enough white. The jersey itself it okay.  Very simple, they took the red/black buffalo head jersey and gave it the blue/gold treatment.  As a jersey alone, it works.  But we judge on the whole package.  This is why I waited until the entire uniform is on the ice.

The problem here is the helmet, it needs to complements something.  Maybe have white helmets so everything is white.  Then strap on some Oakland Seals (foreshadowing) white skates and you may have something.  How about blue pants to work with the blue helmet.  The little blue strip on the hem breaks things up at little, but it needs more contrast.  Call me crazy, but how about blue pants with yellow helmet?   The white gloves work.

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings - 4/10

This is the problem when your team only has two colours...well, really one colour.  In Detroit's case, red.  So, what do you do?  You add a 'neutral' colour like black, sometimes grey or silver.  This is black/red is throwback one of their original Detroit Cougars design...which was red/white, of course...and 'retro-ed' during 1991-92 Season for NHL's 75th Anniversary.

Another 'issue' with the Red Wings' jersey history is, they kind of only have one design.  A very iconic design.  The early jersey, or sweater, designs were usually simple striping, achieved by changing the yarn as it is knitted.  The classic striping is a tradition that is seen in hockey jerseys since.  Bro, you guys need a real secondary logo.  Heck, even a risky third jersey with a goofy logo, like...an octopus.

One nice detail, instead of just a letter, the captain's "C" is on a patch.  And...for the first time in a while on the correct side of the chest.  Damn it, do not get me started on C/A placement.

Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers - 10/10

This one is a winner!  Everything works on this design.  As a bonus is corrects some serious mistakes that are on their regular jerseys.  I am talking about shoulder numbers.  

The Panthers win by using their almost forgotten secondary logo, the sun, stick, and palm tree.  A great secondary logo that just screams "Florida hockey".  Combined with the original layout of their inaugural threads, and light blue similar to the 2009 thirds, this works.  A new logo with a sun and FLA ties everything together.

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens - 7/10

Oh, so close.  Overall, very good. Like Detroit, Montreal is limited in retro selection as their jersey design has not really changed through out the years.  Here they try to use a light blue.  While for the most part, it works simply for trying a new colour, it needs a little more to really make it pop.

A little red to bring everything together.  Perhaps outlining the numbers and letters.  Or, maybe...dear I say it, at another stripe.  Again, the design follows the same layout as every jersey in their history, handcuffed by tradition.  Also, Florida wins the light blue jersey battle.

Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators - 4/10

This is what we call 'safe design'.  Not much outside the box thinking here.  You have that gold, use it.  Throw in some gold trim,.  Heck go with a gold jersey like Vegas.  Even some white trim can help this pop.  That red swoop across the body just gets lost.  Much like their "SENS" jersey this just looks like a bootleg jersey.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning - 8/10

Yo, way to full nineties on this.  Basically a re-colour of their late 90's thirds with the 'storm' and lightning motif.  Even the numbers and letters look like lightning bots.  It passes ugly and crosses over to awesome.

It is refreshing to see something other than a "wait, is that a new Leafs uniform" look from the Lightning.  Their regular uniform is just a Red Wing design with Maple Leaf colours.  Wait, did Yzerman have anything to do with that?

Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto Maple Leafs - 6/10

Another Original Six Team that suffers from tradition and lack of colour options. Even with those limitations, the Leafs did a good job with what they had to work with.  I think this is the first time we have seen white shoulder yokes on their blue jerseys.  With the contrasted shoulder yoke, it is a real reverse of their retro whites.

It looks good because it is safe.  Too bad Florida and Montreal used light blue.  Might be interesting to see something other than the blue/white combo.  Yes, they added grey for their last retro design.  Like Detroit, Toronto is limited to basically one colour to play with.  Yeah, I know what you are thinking, 'what about great'...when then they will look like bootleg Canuck jerseys.