The new alternate uniform? Yeah, about that…

They’re ugly.

I’m gonna say it. Somebody has to.

As I tweeted yesterday, I don’t wanna be “that guy” who rips the Sabres for everything. I’m not gonna go out of my way to criticize them unless they earn it. With these “40th anniversary” jerseys, they should be getting a lot of flack.

Let’s review what the team’s press release gloated about these gifts to Buffalo.

Here are some design facts about the new 40th anniversary jersey:

  • The royal blue color of the third jersey reflects the original Sabres jersey that debuted in 1970.
  • The “Buffalo” script wordmark was inspired by the old Buffalo Bisons “bottlecap” logo.
  • The choice of an off-white color for the Buffalo script was to give the jersey a vintage feel.
  • There are four stripes on the sleeves, socks and around the waist that represent 40 years of Sabres hockey.
  • A commemorative 40th anniversary “1970” logo sits below the Buffalo script.
  • The faux felt numbers have a unique cross stitched pattern in reference to early pro hockey jerseys

In my opinion, the fact they put this much thought into each individual aspect of the uniform just shows they put way too much thought into this.

Let me make a statement that may contradict what many Sabres fans are led to believe: the Buffalo Sabres don’t have any tradition.

The franchise has been around for 40 years. They have won nothing. They have had very few great players. Gilbert Perreault is the only guy in the Hockey Hall of Fame who did enough with this franchise alone to merit his induction. Pat LaFontaine is in, but he didn’t do a lot here, and in my opinion, not enough to get his jersey number retired. Dominik Hasek is a lock, but he’s not in yet.

Come on, the Sabres retired Danny Gare‘s number. Seriously? The only three numbers that should be hanging from the arena rafters are 2, 11, and 39. That’s it. We are not the Montreal Canadiens. We have no history.

You wanna do a special jersey to commemorate the 40 year milestone? Great. It’s a nice idea. Pay tribute to the team’s roots. But when you start including elements that have never been a part of what you’ve done in your history, you defeat the purpose.

Take a look at the thing. Gold nameplates? The whole “different color nameplate” thing, which the Flyers have already taken as their own despite the fact it looks stupid, was originally due to teams only tacking on nameplates for nationally televised games in the 1970s, before they were mandatory. Teams like Philadelphia used contrasting colors (black letters on white plate on orange jersey) to increase visibility. What it the fuck is the purpose of having a gold nameplate with royal letters? Other than possibly intentionally trying to make the thing look like a 7th grader designed them? The Sabres have never, not once, ever done this before. So why include it?

Now, as I rip apart the lettering, I need to give everyone a history lesson. Let me digress.

When the Sabres changed uniforms in 2006, they did a good job of not letting their custom lettering get out to the public. The new jerseys had a clean, bold, sharp font for the names and numbers. Now, there are mutliple companies that produce lettering for jerseys. The company which the Sabres used for their on-ice jerseys and merchandise clearly got the right artwork.  No one else did. Anyone with a keen eye would notice that they’d see “slug” jerseys everywhere with different lettering styles. Any jersey ordered off NHL.com, or done with lettering from Stahl’s, a lettering company which produces jersey lettering for every NHL team, used a font created by someone who tried (horribly, in my opinion) reproducing the Sabres’ style.

Look at this picture:

The one on the left is a game action shot of Miller. The other is a picture of a jersey clearly not lettered by the Sabres. See the difference in the fonts? Thickness? See how the one on the left is sharper?

Here’s a second example:

The differences here are much more discernable. Look at the G and the S. Don’t you like the one on the left much more? It looks sharp. The Sabres used a very nice font on a uniform that also featured a logo many hated. The letters were bold and readable. It’s a shame it got overlooked, but I loved that typeface.

Now, take a look at this picture of Thomas Vanek from Saturday’s unveiling.

Yeah, if you can’t tell from this, the Buffalo Sabres decided to use the rip-off of their own font for these jerseys. It’s more evident in person, but this was the only picture I could find of the back of the uniforms. Was it a conscience effort or an oversight in detail? Either way, the fact that they’d let something like this slip by just shows that this part of the  operation isn’t running the smoothest over at Seymour H. Knox III Plaza.

As for the numbers… yuck. Yes, pay tribute to an era of hockey where Buffalo was completely uninvolved at the highest level. Pay tribute to the jerseys of teams that have won championships prior to the Sabres’ existence. Seriously?

The white/off-white/cream felt numbers just look like ass on a blue jersey with gold striping. The Sabres’ only excursion with white numbers were during the black-and-red era. It looks so odd and makes the gold nameplate look even more out of place. And the stitching? Pointless. Another case of the Sabres trying too hard to break new ground.

One of the aspects of the “vintage” movement that often gets overlooked is that things are changed for a reason. Why did the Sabres dump the royal and gold uniforms in the first place? Partly because they were dead last in merchandise sales, and partly because they featured some of the blandest uniforms in professional sports. Teams didn’t use different-colored nameplates because it looked bad and they moved away from it. Felt numbers went away because teams figured out they could use better materials in their own colors.

I mean, what part of “Reebok EDGE Uniform System” gives these a “vintage feel”?

These uniforms are just another oval-shaped goal, another coloring the ice blue… another attempt by the Buffalo Sabres to think they’re smarter and more innovative than everyone else. It comes off to me as arrogant and misguided.

After almost 15 years of sharp and innovative designs, we’re back at square one. I’m not gonna say I hate our new home and aways, because I don’t. They look good. But these 3rd jerseys look like ass.

Fans now have a embarassing 40th anniversary jersey and a 40th anniversary logo which doesn’t make any reference of a 40th anniversary. It says 1970. Is this going to be used after this season? Will it become a 41st anniversary logo? How hard is it to make a 40th anniversary patch and stick it on the uniforms? It’s not hard to make one that looks good. They’ve done it before. What is so horrible about doing it like everyone else?

The Sabres try too hard to do things their own way, and when they make mistakes, like this, all it does is make them the only ones making the mistake.

If the Larry Quinn wants to make a move that will make them look smart, they should dump these atrocities sooner rather than later.

Posted on September 19, 2010, in Sabres/NHL and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. To each their own, dude. Gotta respect your opinion even if I don’t agree with it. The one thing I gotta battle you about though is who should have retired numbers. IMO, it should be 11, 7, 14, and 39. No reason for 16, 18, and 2 to be retired.

  2. Yeah can’t really agree with a lot of what you said. The Jerseys are ok, but just ok. They are better than the goat’s head or the slug. I would not like them to be the regular jerseys though.
    I really don’t like you crapping on the Sabres history. They may not be the Canadiens, but they’re also not the Predators. Or the Panthers. Or the Coyotes. Or the Thrashers. Or fuck, even the Caps. The Caps have 2-3 people retired in their rafters. And you might only recognize one of their names. My point is that the Sabres have a history, and they’ve actually been pretty good through most of it. I don’t think they’re trying to Montreal or Boston. If you go to either of those rinks, they have tons and tons of players retired. The Sabres just aren’t there and I think they know that. I maybe understand the frustration from a lot of fans that they aren’t “going for the cup” but that shouldn’t cloud the Sabres history. To put it another way, the Sabres were an expansion team that came into the league with the Canucks, who by your judgment, also “haven’t won anything” and pretty much have the same history as the Sabres, except maybe even a little less.
    I’ve never liked 2 hanging from the rafters. Yes he was good, and died while a Sabre, but he also barely played for them.
    I’m fine with 16. His golden years were as an Isle, but he was also the face of the franchise when he was traded, and provided some ungodly amount of offense with Mogilny. His years should be recognized.
    I’d be okay with not having Gare, but that’s only because I don’t really know much about his tenure.

  3. the difference is that Vancouver doesn’t pretend to have been around since the 1940’s like the sabres are doing with this 3rd. The Canucks are sticking with their progressive typeface and will also be wearing their inaugural season jersey as a third jersey this season. they, like other franchises, will be wearing a patch for their 40th anniversary. they will not be creating an entirely new jersey filled with odes to other franchises and eras that the franchise has nothing to do with to celebrate 40 years. 40 years in pro sports is not that big of a deal, its patch-worthy but that’s about it.

  4. the Buffalo Sabres don’t have any tradition.

    I think that’s bullshit. All because we haven’t won a championship yet doesn’t mean this team doesn’t have any tradition.

  5. 2 should definitely be retired. Horton was a legend and the emotional leader of the franchise. He was an associate captain. Number retirements are meant to be done to maintain a player’s legacy. Look around the league and you’ll see other teams have done the same thing for players they have lost when actively being a member of the team. I think it’s a proper way to remember Horton.

    As for the “no tradition”, you’re right. We have a tradition of blowing opportunities. Such as the case with the 40th anniversary celebration.

  6. They’re going back to the AHL jerseys from the 40s through the 60s. If the Canucks wanted to have a jersey with the old lumberjack logo from their WHL days, I wouldn’t really have a problem with it.
    How do you know Horton was the soul of the team? Were you alive then? Was he any less the soul than Lafontaine was when he was, y’know, captain (not assistant captain)? If you want to have Horton, I can get behind it, but you can make just as much of an argument for retirement on the exact same grounds for Lafontaine. After all, it’s not like Horton played most of his career or even his best days in Buffalo either. The only difference is Lafontaine didn’t drive off the QEW, which I think is kind of a credit to him.
    Look, if you want to be negative about the team that’s fine. If you want to obsess about them “blowing opportunities” in their play, that’s fine too, but if you’re that negative about the team, why even bother having a blog devoted to them? If you’re more concerned about the fact that Larry Quinn feels it necessary to have a new jersey seemingly every year to make more money off the fans, I agree with you, but does it really matter that much in the grand scheme of things? If the Sabres play well, will you care about jersey fonts? Really? I mean, the jerseys are the jerseys. If I’m not crazy about them, and I’m not, I won’t buy a jersey. But other than that, why bother obsessing over it? I remember the 25th anniversary season where the Sabres just played with a patch, which seems to be what you guys are recommending. Did I really care other than that? No!

  7. First of all, your entire article is complete trash. You swearing in it makes you seem like a moron. I’ve read great articles without one foul word in them. You trying to get your point across by sounding tough is pathetic.

    Second. “In my opinion, the fact they put this much thought into each individual aspect of the uniform just shows they put way too much thought into this.

    Let me make a statement that may contradict what many Sabres fans are led to believe: the Buffalo Sabres don’t have any tradition.”

    The fact that they put this much thought into it? It’s a god damn third jersey, OBVIOUSLY they put a lot of thought into it. They don’t Google ‘new third jersey designs’ and pick the first one they see.
    We don’t have any tradition? Where the hell do you even live? You must not be watching the same Buffalo Sabres. I’m only 21 but I know all about 1975 and the team we had, the late 90’s, no goal, after the lockout when we were unstoppable. The way we stomp Toronto every single game. Hating Ottawa. Just a few of the memories and traditions of the Buffalo Sabres. Do you forget about the greatest play-by-play man in sports history? Can you even name him? He’s a huge Sabres tradition. Listening to him is part of our tradition.

    Third. “They have won nothing. They have had very few great players.”
    They won the hearts of their fans. A LOT of fans. Go to Phoenix and tell me what kind of fan base they have. Or even Washington, for all the fans that just aren’t on the bandwagon for Ovechkin. (The caps have had worse years than the Sabres will EVER experience. 8–67–5 was their inaugural season record.)
    Few great players?
    Well, for LaFontaine it seems to me he had his best NHL season as a Sabre.

    1992–93
    Games- 84
    Goals- 53
    Assists- 95
    Points- 148

    I want to go through and name ALL the players that apparently weren’t up to your high standards.. but..

    Miller
    Campbell
    Briere
    Mckee
    Satan
    Barnes
    Ray
    Andreychuk

    ..Just to name a few.
    Oh, and Danny Gare is the Sabres 4th all time leader in goals scored for the team.
    I’d say that’s a good enough reason to retire someones number.

    Forth. You’re right, we don’t have the same history as the single oldest team in the NHL. You’re just even more pathetic than I first thought. Trying to compare the Sabres history to the over 100 year old Canadiens? We have as much history as our 40 years allows. Which is a hell of a lot for only 40 years.

    I didn’t know a team could “rip off” their own design. I’m pretty sure they can do whatever they fancy with their fonts and what not considering it’s the SAME TEAM.

    Ok, fifth. “Partly because they were dead last in merchandise sales, and partly because they featured some of the blandest uniforms in professional sports. ”
    I’d like to see the stats where it shows that the greatest jerseys in the NHL were dead last in sales. Blandest? The original Sabres jerseys are one of the all time greatest jerseys in sports history. I’m sure more than a few people would agree that they sit right up there with jerseys like the Blackhawks. They’re elegant and perfectly color matched to give them an extremely royal, regal look.

    Last but certainly not least.. sixth. “Fans now have a embarassing 40th anniversary jersey and a 40th anniversary logo which doesn’t make any reference of a 40th anniversary.”
    I’d love to know why you’re speaking for EVERY Sabres fan. I love the new 3rd jerseys so next time you write a half-assed article you can not include me along with I’m sure a large number of other fans who DON’T find it embarrassing. Might want to check your spelling on embarrassing too, by the way. If you’re going to make fun of font (which is sad that you’d do that in the first place), I’d expect your grammer to be better.
    The Buffalo Bison font/logo is a direct reference to the years just before the Sabres came into the league and the great hockey history we had that led to the Sabres. It also commemorates that when the Bisons disbanded we were awarded an NHL team.

    So, with that being said.. please spare us all the agony of your next unintelligent article. If you have nothing better to write about than these unbelievable accusations about our history and the great players that have played for our organization, along with the way YOU think our jerseys should look please leave your 5th grade insults and “facts” to yourself. That is all.

  8. yeah, man. your experience in the jersey design industry and knowledge of logo and type design in the context of a franchise’s history and traditions outrages me. also, rob ray and miro satan need to have their jerseys retired ASAP!

  9. S. Tooth (which I’m sure is your real name), read any book about the infancy of the Buffalo Sabres and you’ll see that Horton’s death a devastating blow to the team. Obviously, I think deaths of current players are a good enough reason to retire numbers. Pittsburgh agrees. The North Stars agreed. You don’t. That’s fine. We’re allowed to disagree.

    But I find it hysterical that you say “if you’re that negative about the team, why even bother having a blog devoted to them? “. If everyone wanted to read only positive things about the Sabres, we’d all just go to Sabres.com.

    I’m a Sabres fan. I care about the team. I care about what the organization does. Being a fan doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. In some cases I do (read any of the archives here to see that) and in some cases, like this, I don’t.

    And Joe, way to call out my “grammar” because of a typo, when your post indicates you clearly don’t even know what grammar is. I’d respond to each of your comments, but I can’t take you seriously when you throw out Rob Ray as an example of a great player. Wow.

  10. I can’t take someone seriously when they need to use “fuck” just to make their article sound better. Which by the way makes you sound just plain trashy.
    Ok, this isn’t an English lesson, is it?
    You’re the author of this article, you should use correct grammar. Make up whatever excuse you’d like. Insult my grammar, I’m not the one writing crappy articles with absurd fictional facts that you pull out of nowhere.

    Sorry, but a great player isn’t always defined by the amount of points he’s scored.
    Like I said.. Jay McKee?
    Even Patrick Kaleta.

  11. let’s be a proactive franchise for once and retire kaleta’s number now, i think it will boost ticket and merchandise sales. he is one of the great hockey players of our lifetime. he is also from buffalo, which plays an overwhelming role in my bias towards him.

  12. I’m actually lukewarm about Horton being retired. My point was just that it seems hard to believe that you could exclude Lafontaine and include him when I think Lafontaine had at least the same impact and the only difference is that he didn’t die.
    I just didn’t know if whether you meant “blown opportunities” you were just being “stereotypical bitter Buffalo sports fan” about the offseason as well as the jerseys. I appreciate that you care (as do I, as do we all), and I usually love your entries. I just hope you give them a chance this year. You’re absolutely allowed to be critical of the Sabres whenever you want. It’s your blog. Besides that, I just don’t get being that up in arms about the jersey details, and I disagree completely about the Sabres tradition. They have exactly the tradition they should for being in the league as long as they have.

  13. Mark, you are adding no intelligent response to this discussion whatsoever.
    I’ll wait for you to show me where I said any of that. I’m pretty sure I said the greatness of a player isn’t always how many points he collects during his lifetime.
    Did you not see Rob Niedermayer’s stats? He’s never been a huge scorer but he’s one of the greats of hockey. We never brought him here to score, that doesn’t make him any less of a fantastic player.

  14. Thank you S.Tooth. The Sabres have been around 60 years less than the Canadiens and there is NO reason they should be compared to a 100 year old team in the “History of the franchise” category.

    Oh, and Eric. Very mature insulting S.Tooth about their “real name”. That just adds to the absurdity and immaturity of this post.

  15. Joe, I’m not saying you said any of that…these are just my opinions. I am 20-something and know everything about this franchise so I believe in all sorts of stuff. Who are you to say what I bring to this discussion? I’m even using proper grammar. You think Rob Niedermeyer is one of the “greats of hockey” and that Rob Ray and Miro Satan are franchise legends. I just want their numbers retired and I want Kaleta’s number retired because he is even greater and from Buffalo. We’re not that different after all.

  16. Perhaps your youthful exuberance blinds you to the reality of the Buffalo Sabres: despite not winning a Stanley Cup, they are the third most successful regular season franchise in NHL history, behind the Canadiens and Flyers (i.e. the Sabres earn points in 55.3% of their games: http://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/). 39 years and 28 playoff runs, very few franchises have been so fortunate.

    With regard to individual accomplishments, limiting the great Sabres to only Perreault, Hasek, and Horton, is likewise ignorant. Pat Lafontaine had no less indelible impact than any Sabre other than Gilbert Perreault. Although his sojourn with Buffalo was short, it does not disqualify him, particularly given his production during that period and his work in the community. In addition to Lafontaine, you slight Phil Housley, Dave Andreychuk, Rick Martin, Rene Robert, and Craig Ramsey. Housley and Andreychuk played in Buffalo the most of any of the teams they played for. Martin and Robert are underrated historically, primarily because they played only 700+ games a piece, though they both were point-per-game players for much of their careers. Ramsey is, in my opinion one of the best two-way forwards of all-time and a Selke winner.

    Look, I wish Buffalo had a history like the Bruins or Canadiens. I wish we had Stanley Cups and I wish our stars were given the credit they deserved. But, I think we can still be proud of the tradition the Sabres have created in their 40 years.

    • I think there’s just a difference as to what level of impact we place someone as a “great”. The Sabres have had a good number of good players, many of whom you mentioned. (I believe you meant Ramsay as a great two-way forward, not Ramsey. Craig was Ramsay and Mike was Ramsey) Dale Hawerchuk, Alex Zhitnik, Mike Foligno were good players for this franchise. Don’t forget Alexander Mogilny, who at the time he was here, was possibly one of the most dynamic players in the world.

      I just try not to throw around the word “great” as much. I think great players are truly great. The Sabres have two things they use to honor former players: jersey retirements and the Sabres Hall of Fame. Many belong in the latter, deservedly so, I just think they use banners in the rafters a bit much.

  17. BeastMode, you said it. Simple as that. The way he wrote his article was unethical. He didn’t take any facts into account and he made up blatant fibs. The ENTIRE article was merely his (bad, factless) opinion.

    • When I have a different opinion, I too decide to consider what I read as “unethical” and full of “blatant fibs” and “bad, factless opinion. I know, I know, he used facts and details and made relative comparisons also based on fact but it just feels better to degrade someone’s opinion because I don’t agree with it.

      Being completely anonymous on the internet helps me say these things with confidence.

  18. You guys are missing the point. The Sabres have had some nice success and some good players, but these uniforms and the way the organization is handling the 40th season is misguided. Look at our expansion brother Vancouver to how to recognize the milestone in classy way.

    We’re not Montreal. We shouldn’t act like we are. We’re not Tampa Bay, either. We’re Buffalo. We’re a hockey city. We shouldn’t have to try so hard to do stuff like this. These uniforms just reek of trying too hard.

  19. Ok, seriously Mark. You look like a fucking homo.
    Yeah, saying that the original Sabres jerseys were at the bottom of the sales IS A FUCKING MYTH. That is not fact. I have every right to correct something that has no research or proof that our jersey was indeed at the bottom of sales. I also pointed out the other myths. I never fucking disagreed with straight up facts that he presented. He COULD have given proof with a chart that our jerseys were the lowest selling. NO PROOF.
    Yeah, sorry I didn’t post a picture you fucking pedofile. I don’t think you need to see what I look like just so I can make my point. This blog isn’t here to identify who’s saying what. It’s to agree and disagree on whoever is saying what.

    Joe is my name, I’m pretty damn sure I don’t need any more info on myself to get my point across. You bringing up the fact that I’m somehow “anonymous” is just fucking creepy. Why the hell do you need to see who I am? I made my point. That’s all there is to it.

    I’m pretty sure you forgot some quotes after your “shit talking”, Mark.

    & Eric, I do appreciate that you re-explained yourself a little more. I agree with how you said that you don’t throw greatness around, but I’m sure you can also agree that the players I named all were great in their own ways. Whether they scored or not, they did what they had to do as good as anyone. I don’t agree with the rest of what you said still and I think I still make some good points. I still love the new jerseys nonetheless.

    • Hey now, life as an openly gay pedophile is hard enough as is. I will say though that I can’t take your comment seriously due to your use of coarse language. It’s very immature and unprofessional of you. I’m sure you understand where I’m coming from on that one.

      I did forget one quote mark. I’m so glad you pointed that out to me, I was trying to picture what you look like so I got really caught up in the fantasy and forgot to add that final quotation mark.

      As we all know, its very easy to acquire sales data from a private company that changed ownership multiple times between 1995 to today so I do agree with you that Eric is either lazy or lying in regards to the merchandise sales.

  20. Ok, seriously. Keep up with the pedofile shit and I’ll report you to the police. I’m sure they can track you down and you sitting there telling me you’re thinking about me is plenty of reason for them to do something about you, and plenty of reason I should report you for sexual harassment.
    Last time I checked I’m not the one with the blog. I don’t write for EVERYONE to read.
    Hmm.. I guess someone shouldn’t write about things that would be considered “facts” if they don’t HAVE the facts to prove them.

    • Although I am sitting here thinking about you, I’m in the clear legally seeing as you claimed to be 21 and I believe you (although there are no facts present to prove that so I should be more careful).

      In all seriousness though, your evident lack of intelligence, social skills, and your crippling emotional disturbances are enough burdens for one to deal with-you don’t need me making matters worse by excessively teasing you.

      Best of luck to you.

  21. last time i checked sexual harassment doesn’t have an age limit, and now you pushed it. i’m filing a report.

  22. Joe, just for you:

    SABRES BLUE TURNS BLACK, RED, SILVER
    Buffalo News, April 11, 1996

    “While some National Hockey League teams have used a third uniform at games this season, Moss said the Sabres have no plans to do that in the near future. The team will spend its marketing efforts to promote this new look, which is projected to move the team from 22nd in the league in merchandise sales to sixth.”

    Sorry, I was wrong. They weren’t dead last. They were 22nd out of 26. My bad.

  23. Well, I appreciate that.

  24. I’ll jump in here. Thorough article. I disagree completely.

    “You wanna do a special jersey to commemorate the 40 year milestone? Great. It’s a nice idea. Pay tribute to the team’s roots. But when you start including elements that have never been a part of what you’ve done in your history, you defeat the purpose.”

    Majority of the jersey IS a tribute to 1970 and the AHL team that spawned the NHL team. You list the accurate details in your article:

    1. Blue color
    2. Gold striping
    3. 1970 Sabres logo patch on the front
    4. AHL Bisons “Buffalo” script

    The only thing that isn’t accurate for the period is the nameplate and numbers. Which does pay homage to the era when nameplates were used for broadcasts only.

    Sounds like you don’t know that much about the Sabres, otherwise you couldn’t attempt to make the arguement the team doesn’t have any Tradition. The team has more history and traditional character than most expansion teams that have arrived since 1970. And while it would be great to have the french connection’s names on the Cup in the 70’s, we’re lucky that we all get the opportunity to witness the Sabres best years.

    What style jersey do you have in your closet…is it the black and red or the slug?

  1. Pingback: (Not Quite) Monday Morning Links, September 21 « Black & Blue & Gold

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