We are all sick of reading these predictions of the Stanley Cup from these hot shot journalists who think they know about hockey. So I thought that with the recent relocation (still to be approved) of a franchise to Winnipeg, this has sparked a retro thought in people’s mind, remembering the good old times of the Jets, Nordiques and Whalers. So there is no better time to bring up the discussion of white jerseys at home. It is a silly argument but it needs to be brought up.
March 6th was one of my favorite memories of this past NHL season when it came to my beloved Rangers look. Now let me start off by saying that I am lucky in that my favorite franchises all wear jerseys that I love and can not complain about (except for the green Knicks jersey, that thing is freaking hideous).
But on this day, not only did the Rangers defeat the hated Philadelphia Flyers 7-0 (Callahan hat trick), but they wore white at home for no reason, on national television for the whole world to see.
The New York Rangers, my New York Rangers, made a statement to America and Canada saying that it is okay to wear white at home after Labor Day and before Memorial Day (because the Rangers are usually already eliminated by then).
Even people who can’t agree on anything, say Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie, could even agree that the Rangers looked better in whites at home (okay fine they probably didn’t say that. I would be satisfied if they knew who the Rangers were).
I did not know what I was more proud of that day, that my franchise made a statement by changing the status quo, or the beat down we laid on my most hated team.
When asked about the home whites, Callahan said “I love it. Home whites always. I don’t know why (the league) ever switched it. And I don’t know why we did it this way (Sunday). I just came in and it was hanging in my locker. But I liked the switch, though” (from newyorkrangers.com).
The Rangers were undefeated in their one game in whites at Madison Square Garden this year, and were on pace for 49 goals, zero allowed and seven more home wins if they had continued wearing the whites, not to mention Ryan Callahan was on pace to score 21 more goals and probably not break his ankle because he was so excited to wear white at home. Who knows what would have happened in the playoffs then!
I saw three games this year in which the home team wore white, all involving the Rangers. On Columbus Day, I attended the Islanders home opener to watch the Rangers, and lo and behold the Islanders wore white to show off their new white jerseys.
Finally, the Rangers were the "Blueshirts" again, as they were known because they wore blue on the ROAD and were recognized this way by opposing fans. The Islanders won that game 6-4 in a defensive struggle, making home teams wearing whites 2-0 this past season.
On Monday, February 7th, the Rangers wore their dark blue Heritage jerseys to Detroit for an Original Six matchup, forcing the Red Wings to wear white! The Red Wings won that game 3-2, making home teams who wear white 3-0 in games I had seen. Stats don’t lie my friends.
Now let’s get down to business. The NHL just recently changed the style of jerseys, changing it after the lockout. The NHL wore dark sweaters at home in the 1960s, before changing to white jerseys at home in the 70s.
When I attend a Rangers game at MSG, I get sick of seeing blue and white. Let me see Washington’s red, Boston’s black or Philly’s orange. Change it up a little bit since all of the jerseys are going back to a retro style anyway (see the jerseys of Philadelphia, New York Islanders and Washington).
I know what you’re thinking: "Wow Rob, this is a lot of change for one little detail." So then let’s change it one step at a time. Since the Winter Classic puts retro jerseys into the spotlight, with the jerseys being a key component to the game, change it there first.
I want the Rangers in blue and the Flyers in orange in Philadelphia on January 2, 2011. See what the reaction is. If you are not a diehard hockey fan, then this isn’t a big deal, but for those of us that follow the game passionately, this detail is one that I want changed by the league.
Remember the great Winnipeg whiteouts that everybody remembers when they think of the Jets (I have only seen videos of them, I was too young to remember)? That looked great because the Jets were in white. Phoenix (how ironic is this) tried to do it last year in their playoff series with Detroit, but the Coyotes were in red, which doesn’t make sense (as much sense as the Sharks having an apparent failed "yellowish-orange out" in Game 3 against the Canucks).
Now, you’re probably thinking about the Capitals and their "Rock the Red" campaign. This is why I propose the team should choose based on a fans vote, with the road team having to wear whatever color jersey the home team does not want to wear. This is a pain on equipment managers but for those of us that grew up in the 90s, this is the way it should be. It is a minor detail, but I am firmly in support of this and I hope you are too.
Leave a comment, vote in the poll and we’ll see how far this takes us. Enjoy the game tonight.
By the way, Canucks in seven, but you didn’t hear it from me.