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” 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.
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 conceptsover 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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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?
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.
Bertuzzi will be a restricted free agent again after the deal expires.
The Red Wings had reportedly asked for a $3.15 million salary while Bertuzzi went for $4.25 million. Obviously, the arbitrator agreed more closely with the team’s argument.
The salary commitment to Bertuzzi was never going to be a problem with regards to the Red Wings’ salary cap constraints. On a one year term, the actual number was only important for setting the scene for his next deal.
Prashanth Iyer of Wings for Breakfast recently tweeted about the Wings’ disastrous season over-inflating the value of some players. I agree with that concern. Bertuzzi could be Detroit’s third-best forward, but where would he slot in on a good team and how would he get paid relative to that?
The bottom line is that you don’t want Bertuzzi to be the next Justin Abdelkader, so it’s important for the Red Wings to delay having to make a decision on paying him top dollar until they’re sure he’s worth it. Is there a risk that, in the next year, Bertuzzi could earn a bigger contract than he had up to this point? Of course. Personally, I haven’t seen enough from Bertuzzi to think that risk outweighs the reward, though.
The only really interesting thing about this is that, due to arbitration having been required, a second buyout window will open for the Red Wings. Theoretically, they could now buy out Frans Nielsen.
That said, I don’t think they should. They can overpay Nielsen this year and look at buying him out next summer, even if they decide to bury him in Grand Rapids for the year (or somewhere else, at least, depending on what the AHL’s schedule looks like). Of course, I also wouldn’t have bought out Abdelkader this year, so what do I know?
Not much is known about the NHL’s new fourth jersey program. Supposedly, every team will participate, regardless of whether or not they have a third jersey. Additionally, the rumor is the program has been driven by the league and adidas, rather than the individual teams, and as such has some rules to be followed.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ leaked design, for example, takes their mid-1990s road (black) set, flips the colors to become a white jersey, and the switches the athletic gold to the “Vegas gold” the team introduced in 2000. The Philadelphia Flyers, meanwhile, use a version of their orange jersey introduced in 1982 with the black and white swapped. Vegas’ design is taken from the Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League, with the Golden Knights’ colors and logos swapped in.
Further, there are rumors that the Montreal Canadiens will wear a jersey based on their current home sweater, with the blue and red swapped, and the Washington Capitals will wear a version of their mid-1990s set in red, white, and blue.
So if we’re assuming the base will be an existing jersey – rather than a totally new one – with its colors swapped, where does that leave Detroit? The team has a lot of history to work with but not a lot of different designs or colors, giving them a surprisingly limited set of options.
Detroit could wear a color-swapped version of their current home jersey, which would essentially be their road jersey without the red sleeves. The team wore this as their road jersey from 1934 to 1961, though, and if this Reverse Retro program is intended to avoid actual throwback jerseys, it would seem this would be ruled out.
They could color-swap their current road jerseys, giving them a red jersey with white sleeves. It’s a clean look that the team has never worn but others across hockey have, so it might not be an option, either.
The Wings could go back to their roots as the Detroit Cougars. Even then, though, there are issues. Their initial set from 1926-27 was the basis of those 2009 throwbacks and the color-flipped version has already been worn in the Alumni Showdown as part of the 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival.
The Red Wings wore the 1927-28 Cougars’ sweater as part of the NHL’s 75th anniversary proceedings in 1991-92. I suggested the color-swapped version as a possible option for what was then the 2013 Winter Classic but, as I noted then, the red lettering on a white stripe seemed off to me. With a new template, I drew it up anyway, and don’t dislike it as much as I did originally. It could be an option. That’s a lot of stripes, though.
Out of sheer, morbid curiosity, I swapped out that red “DETROIT” text for the Winged Wheel and… It’s certainly something, but, again, isn’t as bad as I expected.
The 1928-29 set opens up another option. This is the sweater that the Centennial Classic jersey was based on and a color-flipped option has never been worn, though I suggested it in that Winter Classic concept series and the eventual 2014 Winter Classic jersey did take some cues from it.
The 1928-29 sweater also gives options for the crest, depending on what the Reverse Retro “rules” are for such things, as the standard Winged Wheel could be used, or it could be placed under “Detroit” text as the cougar head logo was in the original.
With the striping in the Cougars’ 1929-30 set the same as the 1927-28, there’s not enough difference there to pick one over the other. If the striping on the 1927-28 set is problematic, the Detroit Falcons’ 1930-32 sweater isn’t going to be any better, so I didn’t even try.
So these might be the options we’re looking at for Detroit’s coming “Reverse Retro” jersey. Or there could be other rules for these jerseys that we don’t know yet, opening up other choices. Maybe they’ll decide the Falcons’ brief use of black is enough to make the Red Wings’ old black fashion jerseys an official alternate. With the entire 2020-21 NHL season in flux, who knows when we’ll even see the actual designs?
Personally, I really like the color swap of the current home jersey, but I’ve always preferred the Red Wings’ white jerseys to their reds. With no other colors to balance it out, I find their current homes to just be a bit too much red. For the same reason, I like the color swap of the current road jersey.
That said, for a team with as much history as Detroit, I like to see them pull from it more. The 1928-29 Cougars’ set would be a safe place to go for that.
The usual jersey design caveats apply here, of course. These aren’t meant to be predictions, just artists renderings of possibilities. They’re not even my designs, really, just existing jerseys redrawn into a modern template with the colors appropriately swapped.
I think that lineup is an upgrade over the one they iced on opening night a year ago. The question is, how much better? Playoff contention better? Or just “not the worst team in the league by far” better? Probably somewhere in between.
There are a few players missing here, which could be a problem.
Evgeny Svechnikov doesn’t have a roster spot. Given that he’s on a one-year deal and isn’t waiver exempt anymore, he kind of needs one and a final chance to prove himself.
Maybe Filip Zadina stays in Czechia and Bobby Ryan moves up a line and Svechnikov slots in where Ryan was. Maybe Tyler Bertuzzi goes to arbitration and that opens up a new buyout window for the Wings, and Frans Nielsen gets bought out, opening up a spot for Svechnikov. There’s been interest in Luke Glendening in the past; maybe the Wings move on that sooner rather than later, Helm or Filppula move to centering the fourth line, and Svechnikov slots in there.
Similarly, there’s not a spot on defense for Moritz Seider, Gustav Lindstrom, or Dennis Cholowski. I don’t see how Seider and Lindstrom aren’t in Europe for the duration of the season but that doesn’t help Cholowski. If the AHL actually has a season, I think we’ll see Cholowski with the Griffins, getting a lot of minutes. If the AHL can’t go, we’ll have to see how the NHL adapts before guessing what happens with Cholowski.
Of course, depending on what the NHL schedule looks like, the trade deadline could come around the end of the season for the European leagues, so Detroit could sell at the deadline and then fill their roster spots with players coming back over. There are a lot of questions to answer with how the season will work, first.
Update, October 12, 11:30 AM: There is an option with regards to Nielsen that I failed to note above. The Red Wings don’t need to clear his cap space or his spot on the 50-man Reserve List; he could just be waived and assigned to the Griffins (or somewhere else). With buyouts on the brain, somehow I missed that.
They’d be paying him a lot of money to play in the AHL but it might serve a dual purpose. Depending on what happens with the AHL season and the various European leagues, the Red Wings might have players who would otherwise be filling roster spots in GR instead playing overseas. By sending Nielsen down, they’d get the Griffins a body that they’d otherwise have to sign.
Jersey Geek Guessing Game Recap
Every player the Red Wings acquired via free agency previously wore a number that is currently assigned to a Detroit player or prospect. Here are my guesses as to how each player’s number will work out with the Wings.
Bobby Ryan has worn #9 for much of his career, aside from #6 for a few years in Ottawa when #9 was taken and #54 as a rookie in Anaheim (and in some international tournaments). Of course, #9 is retired in Detroit and #6 is out of circulation. He said he’d like #17 because he was a Brett Hull fan, or #12, but #17 belongs to Filip Hronek and #12 is retired as well. My guess is that Ryan either pries #17 from Hronek (perhaps Hronek switches to the #79 he wore in his youth) or he goes back to #54. Longshot option: He gets Hull’s number but it’s not the #17 he wore in Detroit, rather the #16 he wore elsewhere, with the Red Wings deciding it’s time to stop keeping it out of circulation.
Jon Merrill wore #15 for three years with the Vegas Golden Knights and #7 for much of his time prior to that with the New Jersey Devils. Dmytro Timashov currently has #15 and #7 is retired. I could see Timashov switching to the #88 he wore before coming to the NHL, which would open up #15 for Merrill, or I could see Merrill wearing the #24 he wore at Michigan, taking it from prospect Antti Tuomisto.
Thomas Greiss has worn #1 for his entire NHL career but it’s retired in Detroit. It’s hard to tell if there’s a different number he prefers. By keeping #30 and #33 out of circulation, the Red Wings make it hard to work with traditional goalie numbers. I’m guessing they’ll hold off on assigning #35 for a bit but if they don’t, Greiss could take that. They could make #30 available again and give him that. They could take numbers from any of the goalie prospects. He could go non-traditional with #60 or #80 or something. If they don’t do any of those things, I’m guessing #29 goes to Greiss.
Troy Stecher wore #51 for his whole Vancouver Canucks career but Valtteri Filppula has that in Detroit. Stecher wore #2 for his college career at North Dakota and, while that’s currently assigned to Joe Hicketts in Detroit, Hicketts’ path to the Red Wings seems to be gone, so the team could let Stecher take his number. I could also see Stecher taking Jonathan Ericsson‘s #52, if the team allows it, or something like #42.
Vladislav Namestnikov has worn #90 for virtually his entire career. Joe Veleno has it in Detroit but he’s not in Detroit right now. Will the Red Wings make one of their top prospects give up his number to someone who’s on a short-term deal? If so, there’s an easy answer. If not, I’d love to see him take his uncle Vyacheslav Kozlov‘s #13, but it’ll probably be something like #95 or #98. Or #60 if Greiss doesn’t go that route.
Many Red Wings fans know that the team hasn’t always been called the Red Wings. They were first the Detroit Cougars, then the Detroit Falcons, and didn’t take on their current name until 1932, six years into their existence.
It’s less widely-known that the team hasn’t always worn red and white. Those familiar with the Falcons, though, may have seen that their sweaters featured yellow lettering outlined in red.
Except that may not be true.
And it might be partially my fault that people think it is.
It is 2002 and Bob Duff’s History of Hockeytown has just been published. I’ve been tearing through both editions of Total Hockey and countless other hockey history books and, finally, here is one just about the Red Wings, written by one of the writers on the team’s beat, published by the team itself. I can’t wait to see what weirdness we’ve never heard before will be found inside.
It doesn’t take long to find something new, with page 21 declaring the following in regards to the team’s 1930-31 season:
The Falcons donned new uniforms with gold lettering, the only time in team history that the jersey was adorned with any shade other than red or white.
As a logo geek, my mind is blown. Everything to that point had shown the Falcons’ logo as red text with a black outline, and here is a book published by the team itself saying that was wrong.
I update the NHL logo history on DetroitHockey.Net to include the gold. A short while later, I exchange emails with Andrew Greenstein of the NHL Uniform Database, explaining what I’d read and convincing him to change his site to reflect it, then I do the same with Donovan Moore of the Society for Sports Uniform Research. Eventually, the change makes its way to SportsLogos.Net, as well, and spreads from there.
But images from the Red Wings’ dressing room at Joe Louis arena continue to show a framed print of the Falcons’ logo in red and black. The red and black text continues to appear in the history section of Red Wings’ game programs. When Little Caesars Arena is built, there is no sign of red and yellow in their logo timeline, just the usual red and black.
I discussed the color change further with SportsLogos.Net’s Chris Creamer while he was writing his new book, The Fabric of the Game (due out November 3). It turns out that contemporary reports discuss the name change from Cougars to Falcons but say nothing about the addition of a new color.
Creamer’s presumption – and I agree – is that History of Hockeytown got it wrong. The addition of yellow never happened and a black outline on the text displaying the team’s new name was simply not worth a specific mention at the time.
I don’t know how the idea of the Falcons wearing yellow letters outlined in red made it into History of Hockeytown but, as far as I can tell, every other place to do so traces back to my own propagation of that idea. Unless I’ve missed something, the only place the Detroit organization has ever acknowledged the use of yellow was in History of Hockeytown; the uses of red and black far outnumbering those of red and yellow.
Perhaps there’s another source of information about the red and yellow logo, but until that surfaces, I can only signal boost a correction to try to undo the initial spreading of that idea that I did.
Namestnikov is a familiar face for Detroit GM Steve Yzerman, who drafted him in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft for Tampa Bay.
Financial terms were, of course, not officially announced, but the deal reportedly carries a $2 million salary cap hit, with annual amounts of $1.5 million and $2.5 million. Like Thomas Greiss‘ deal, more money is in the second year. Whether as escrow protection for the player or expansion draft protection for the team, we’re seeing that become more common this year.
Namestnikov gives the Red Wings another option at second-line center, should Robby Fabbri not work out there. Theoretically, the team could roll lines looking something like this:
That’s a completely rebuilt middle six since the start of last season, done entirely on the cheap. They’re not world-beaters by any means but that’s not a bad accomplishment for Yzerman. Perhaps most importantly, that’s a lineup where you can clearly see a top nine and then a fourth line, rather than a top line and then a bunch of other players slotted in wherever they can.
The problem is that this leaves no room for Evgeny Svechnikov, who is basically on a “last chance” one-year deal and would have to clear waivers to be reassigned elsewhere. Maybe this means the Wings let Zadina stay overseas for another year. Maybe it means they dump a contract. I don’t know.
Jersey number geek notes: Namestnikov has worn #90 for virtually his entire career, save for a stint as #65 as a rookie. Will the Red Wings let him take #90 from Joe Veleno? If not, I bet Namestnikov goes with something like #60 or #95. It certainly blocks Bobby Ryan from following in the footsteps of Mike Modano and Stephen Weiss, though, and turning his #9 into #90. Outside chance? Namestnikov wears #13 in honor of his uncle, Vyacheslav Kozlov.
Stecher was linked to the Red Wings pretty much immediately after Vancouver failed to give him a qualifying offer. His two-year deal reportedly carries a $1.7 million salary cap hit.
With Stecher in the fold, Detroit’s blueline appears to be set for the coming season. Assuming that none of the Red Wings’ prospects currently playing in Europe come back for the start of the NHL campaign, they would be able to roll out pairings something like this:
Jersey number geek notes: This is Detroit’s fourth free agent signing of the season who had been wearing a number that’s unavailable with the Red Wings, as Stecher wore #51 for the Canucks. He wore #2 with North Dakota and while that’s currently assigned to Joe Hicketts, Hicketts seems to have lost his chance in Detroit. I wonder if they might assign Hicketts a different number and give Stecher #2. I could also see Stecher getting #52 with Jonathan Ericsson gone.