The new alternate uniform? Yeah, about that…
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.