Red Wings Release Reverse Retro

After a week of teasers, the NHL and adidas released each team’s “Reverse Retro” jersey on Monday.

The concept of the series is to take an iconic look from each team and swap the colors around.  For some teams, that means bringing an alternate color to the forefront.  Some took inspiration from previous iterations of their franchise, while others used a mish-mash of logos, jerseys, and colors from their history.

With Detroit having worn red and white for their entire history and using essentially the same uniforms since 1932, that didn’t leave them much to work with.

The Red Wings’ “Reverse Retro” jersey (via adidas video)

The Red Wings’ “Reverse Retro” sweaters are based on their 1998 away jersey – virtually identical to today’s home sweater.  The red base has been swapped to white while the white numbers and lettering become red.  The white sleeve and waist stripes, instead of becoming red, switch to silver.

That silver was pulled in from Detroit’s Centennial Classic jerseys, the only time the Red Wings have worn a color other than red or white on their sweaters (though the Detroit Falcons included a black outline on red text in their 1930-32 set).

I have a lot of problems with this set and the series in general, many of which I’ve mentioned over the past week.

Pulling in silver for Detroit’s jersey – a color worn on a grand total of two thin stripes in a single game in their history – seems like a stretch.  Moreover, swapping out red in favor of that color feels like it goes against the Red Wings’ identity.  I’m not saying that, just because the team has red in its name, they can’t use colors other than red on their jerseys (the Vegas Golden Knights’ home jerseys are primarily grey, after all).  They don’t even look all that bad.  I just don’t think they look right.

This is a league-wide series and adidas was in charge from the start.  I think it’s pretty clear that they had good designs for much of the league and, when it came down to it, they weren’t going to scrap the idea just because Detroit and Toronto were hard to work with.

Even that’s not entirely true, though, as I’ve posted concepts over the last week that, at least to me, look better than this.  So there were possibilities there, adidas just chose to go in a different direction.

At least it’s not that ridiculous “Digital Six” set from a couple years ago.  So they threw some random silver on the Red Wings’ sweater and called it a day.  It seems lazy to me, that’s all.

More “Reverse Retro” Teasers

The NHL and adidas continue teasing the release of each team’s new “Reverse Retro” alternate jersey, with the league’s Atlantic Division teams featured today.

That, of course, includes the Red Wings, who tweeted the following:

Based on last week’s teaser video, we already knew that the Red Wings would be using one of their 1998 jerseys as a base, swapping in silver on at least part of it.  What we see here appears to be a jersey with white sleeves and body, so it’s probably the red jersey with that color swapped out for white.

With all of that in mind, this could be what Detroit’s “Reverse Retro” jerseys will look like:

“Reverse Retro” concept based on switching the Red Wings’ 1998 away jersey template to white and silver

I used the silver-ified Winged Wheel from the Centennial Classic but it could just as easily be the standard one.

That said, via Twitter, Ryan Haruta pointed out a spot in the teaser image that looks like red fabric stitched onto white.

Is that a different logo, such as the Old English D?  Is it a red stripe?

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of cross-era logo switching going on in this series, so I don’t think it’s a different logo.  I lean towards that being a stripe and I wonder if the silver from the first teaser is not actually present on the jersey, in which case we’re looking at this:

“Reverse Retro” concept based on the Red Wings’ 1998 away jersey.

That’s not much of a Reverse Retro, more straight-up retro, except for the position of the waist stripe.  I like it more than adding silver, though.  The position of the waist stripe would bother me with red pants but this might be the best option the Wings have.

The full set of “Reverse Retro” jerseys is slated to be revealed tomorrow.


Update, 1:00 PM: After further discussion, that red-on-white bit could be the jersey number on the back, which was already expected to be red.  If that’s the case, that little bit tells us nothing about the stripes or logo, and I’m back to expecting the silver-striped sweater mocked-up above.

Fabric of the Game

Fabric of the Game: The Stories Behind the NHL’s Names, Logos, and Uniforms was my most-anticipated hockey book of the year and it hit shelves last Tuesday.  My copy finally arrived this week and now that I’ve had a chance to actually read it, I figured I’d do a quick write-up of it.

Full disclaimer: I’m friends with co-author Chris Creamer – I’ve written for his site, DH.N’s work is cited in the book, and my name appears in the acknowledgements – and have heard about much of his research as he was putting the project together.  I’m quite obviously biased when it comes to this.  That said, as I’ve previously stated, I judge history books by whether or not I learn anything new from them and, as I heard many of the stories while the book was in development, that relationship means I didn’t learn much from the book, which I’d normally take as a strike against it.  I’ll try to balance all of that here.

Fabric of the Game is a team-by-team look at the sweaters and identities of the NHL’s past and present.  As the subtitle states, this is a focus on the stories behind these identities.

Some of those stories are more interesting than others and that shows in the book.

Modern identities are designed such that no element is meaningless.  The 31 points in the current Toronto Maple Leafs logo, for example, are said to represent 1931, the year the team opened Maple Leaf Gardens.  The 17 veins in the leaf represent the team’s founding in 1917.

The number of feathers on Detroit’s Winged Wheel, meanwhile?  No reason behind that, it’s just an evolution of a logo that debuted in 1932.

This means that some iconic looks don’t actually have much of a story behind them, and nothing Creamer or co-author Todd Radom could write would change that.

As something of an aside, the story behind the Detroit franchise’s name change from Cougars to Falcons – which I won’t recount here – still blows my mind.  When I first heard it, I couldn’t believe it, and I still can’t.

It’s important to note that focus on the stories, as this isn’t simply SportsLogos.Net: The Book.  Though there are plenty of gorgeous illustrations by Radom and glossy photos straight from the Hockey Hall of Fame, you won’t see a lot of logo or uniform timelines.

For a self-professed logo geek such as myself, it was a really fun read with interesting tidbits you won’t find anywhere else.

On the “Reverse Retro” Teaser and Detroit’s Possible Jersey

A couple weeks ago I took a look at what the Red Wings might wear as their jersey in the NHL’s upcoming “Reverse Retro” program.  The league and adidas released a teaser for that program today, and nothing else is going on for the Wings, so here are some updated thoughts.

There are 31 different color/number combinations, so it appears that this video shows each team’s colors and the year of the jersey being used as inspiration.

Of immediate note is the fact that there is no red and white jersey.  There is, however, a green and white jersey (presumably the Dallas Stars, wearing something based on their 1999 set).  As such, it’s safe to assume the teaser doesn’t just replace white with black for the sake of being cool or something like that, these are the actual colors for each team’s jersey.

Also of note is that there is a black and red jersey with the number 40 on it.  The 1940 jersey would have to represent one of the Original Six teams but red and black don’t fit for Boston, Montreal, New York, or Toronto, leaving only Detroit and Chicago.

Chicago would make more sense for red and black, except for the fact that there’s a red, black, white, and tan #95 jersey later in the video.  The Blackhawks are the only NHL team to have worn that combination of colors, which leaves the Red Wings as the only team left for the #40 jersey to represent.

The interesting thing, to me, about the Red Wings using black is that it seemingly confirms that the Detroit Falcons never used yellow, which I wrote about last month.

Either of Detroit’s sweaters from 1940 could be color swapped to have a black body and red stripes.  The only difference would be the positioning of the waist stripe.  The other variable would be whether the “Reverse Retro” jerseys feature the current version of the Winged Wheel or the 1940s-era version.

The end result could be something like this:

“Reverse Retro” concept based on the NHL/adidas teaser video

Update, 3:20 PM: I’ve been talking with Chris Creamer of SportsLogos.Net about this and he has a different theory.

He thinks that the #40 jersey is Chicago and that the #95 red, black, white, and tan jersey represents Ottawa, with the tan coming from the skin tone used on the Senators’ alternate logo introduced in 1997.  I think that’s a bit of a stretch, but it does lead to a few other shifts from my original list that make sense.

In the end, it leaves the Red Wings represented by the #98 jersey, white with silver stripes and red numbers.

I really dislike this as, while black as a Detroit color may be questionable, at least the Falcons wore it for two seasons.  The Red Wings have worn silver for a grand total of one game, with it appearing as two stripes on the Centennial Classic jerseys from 2017.

If Creamer is right, though, what would that look like?

Given that the promo image is white, I think they’d be using their 1998 home jerseys as a base, swapping the sleeve color from red to silver.  Maybe the white stripes become red.  The result ends up like this:

“Reverse Retro” concept based on adding silver to the Red Wings’ 1998 home jersey

I don’t know.  That just seems pointless to me.  That said, as I mentioned in my original post, a series like this is always going to be difficult when it comes to the Red Wings because they haven’t had enough jersey/color changes to work with.  Maybe any “Reverse Retro” option for Detroit is going to be a stretch.


Update, 4:10 PM: The Red Wings seemingly confirmed that they are the red, white, and silver #98.


Update, 4:55 PM: Since we know the Red Wings are the red, white, and silver team, and we know their “Reverse Retro” jersey will be based on their 1998 set, and I already put together something based on their white home jersey, here’s one based on their red road jersey from that year.

“Reverse Retro” concept based on switching the Red Wings’ 1998 away jersey template to white and silver

I don’t know.  I don’t get it.

The concept of this series seems to be to take a jersey template each team has worn and switch the colors to match a different era.  For the Wings, that’s hard, they’ve been red and white forever and their jerseys have barely changed.  But to take what is essentially their current jerseys and swap out their primary color for one they’ve worn in a single game in their entire history?  You couldn’t be just a tiny bit more creative?

Red Wings Re-Up Mantha on Four-Year Deal

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Tuesday the signing of restricted free agent forward Anthony Mantha to a four-year deal.

Financial terms were not announced, of course, but Elliotte Friedman reports that the deal carries a $5.7 million salary cap hit.

Getting Mantha for less than $6 million is a fantastic deal for the Red Wings.  I also really like the four-year term.  We’ll know a lot more about this team in four years.  Maybe it’ll make sense to pay Mantha again at that time, maybe it’ll make sense to walk away, maybe it’ll make sense to flip him earlier and focus on a younger core.  The term gives Detroit flexibility as we see what the rebuild looks like.