There are still many reasons to love the NHL playoffs, even after Gary Bettman's all-out assault on Canadian hockey preferences for the benefit of imagined American ones. Some of them are obvious, some less so. But the gist of it is that despite the perennial absence of the Leafs, the NHL playoffs are the greatest thing to watch on television and are the reason I am stretching my meagre pittance of a salary to pay for cable. And no, the whole "Sea of" phenomenon will not appear on the list. It was cool when they did it in Winnipeg, but now it's lame and I hate it. So here goes...
10) NO THIRD JERSEYS!
Yes, that's right, the fact that I do not have to turn on a hockey game and stare at it for five minutes before I figure out who the hell is playing, or if I'm even watching the NHL, is so incredibly refreshing. For I cannot stand the whole third jersey phenomenon, and though it irks me that the man responsible gets the privilege of handing out the Stanley Cup every June (self-aggrandizing prick!), it's been wonderful to follow a series and see the same jerseys, only varying for home and away colours, game in and game out.
Now I understand that some of the jerseys look ok, but for the most part, they're pretty unattractive garments. And some are particularly greusome - who's the moron that came up with Ottawa's and Tampa's, which just have the words "Sens" and "bolts", respectively, plastered on the front? It has to have been the same guy, for there's no way that idea could have been conceived in two separate 'Eureka!' moments. But the ones that are nice, and I mean really beautiful, are the ones that simply rehash older uniforms - I'm thinking of the Sabres, the Penguins, the Oilers, and yes, my beloved Maple Leafs. If the old jersey was so much nicer, which is the case for almost every team that's changed their jersey in the past fifteen years, then just change back permanently - we'll give you a mulligan (except John Ferguson Jr., who in one of his trademark strokes of inexplicable inspiration, decided to take the stripes out of the Leafs' sweater, making the home version look like a snowsuit).
I also understand that the league is trying to market their franchises and, above all, to sell merchandise (for if they won't buy tickets for the pulltab off a pop can, they must be willing to shell out close to $200 for the ninetieth incarnation of the Phoenix Coyotes jersey). But if the league would step out from under its shroud of shortsightedness, it would see that by constantly changing the look of its teams, it is doing itself a disservice. For recognizability is the hallmark of a successful sports franchise. If the Yankees or Canadiens had changed their look every ten years from the get go, would they be as beloved as they are today? Somehow I doubt it. Furthermore, changing the look of a team violates one of the most important rules of branding: choose a catchy logo and never change it. But most importantly, I just hate the damn things and am so happy they're gone for a few months!
Incidentally, the Flyers, when at home, appeared to be wearing their third jerseys - I can't keep track anymore. But for the most part, you don't see them in the playoffs, and I am grateful. Check back soon for #9.