-- Although we're stuck in the dog days of August, you can tell we're getting close to the start of NHL season -- or at least the start of training camps and preseason games -- because we're seeing an uptick in uniform-related NHL news. Here are the latest developments on that front:
? The Ducks announced Monday they'll have a new alternate jersey for the 2015-16 season. They gave no hints regarding its design, saying only it would make its on-ice debut on Oct. 16. But the respected and dependable Icethetics website is now reporting the new jersey will feature the team's old Mighty Ducks crest rendered in current Ducks colors, an interesting way of merging the franchise's past and new identities.
It's a bit jarring to see the Mighty Ducks logo without the old teal-and-eggplant color scheme, but this move will likely be popular with Ducks fans, many of whom have been clamoring for the return of the old mark. The only real concern is the orange background tone, which looks like it could be a bit on the loud side, especially if it ends up being paired with orange socks. All-in-all, though, this is a solid addition to the Ducks' wardrobe. Grade: B+
? Icethetics is also reporting the Avalanche will have a new alternate jersey for 2015-16. The design is slated to feature a triangular treatment of the "C" from the Colorado state flag, which hearkens back to the jerseys worn by the old Colorado Rockies (who later moved to New Jersey and became the Devils) from 1976 through 1982. So the new design is a shoutout to Colorado's NHL heritage.
The white shoulder yoke doesn't look so good. Then again, almost nothing about the rest of the Avs' uniform program looks good, either. So while this design isn't great, it's at least a slight improvement over the team's basic home and road jerseys, and it's definitely better than the Rangers-esque alternate the team had worn for the past seven seasons. Let's call it a slight upgrade and be thankful for small favors. Grade: B-
? In a small move that could nonetheless end up causing a ripple effect throughout the league, the Predators have announced a new "Golden Saturdays" program, one element of which is the team will wear "gold" helmets (which, let's face it, are actually yellow) for Saturday home games, instead of the usual blue. The yellow lid will make its debut on Oct. 10, when the Preds host the Oilers. Throwback designs notwithstanding, it will be the NHL's first yellow helmet since the 1988-89 Canucks. It's also believed to be the NHL's first day-specific helmet color.
This is an intriguing concept, and it raises a fair question: Baseball teams often have alternate caps pegged to specific days, and college football teams now have entire warehouses full of alternate helmets, so why shouldn't hockey teams do likewise with their headgear? And here's the answer: Because a lot of those alternate baseball caps and college football helmets are superfluous at best, ridiculous at worst. Or to put it another way, this idea definitely has the potential to get overplayed. Imagine if the Blues start wearing yellow helmets, or if the Rangers wear red, or if any number of teams decide to look "intimidating" by wearing black. And here are two words that should strike fear into any NHL fan's heart: camouflage helmets.
But that's all speculative. For now, let's stick to the Predators. NHL teams usually have their home helmets match the color of their pants (a protocol currently followed by 28 of the league's 30 teams), so the Preds' yellow lid will be swimming against the tide in that regard. How will it look with their yellow jersey? Probably something like this. Not awful, but not as good as the blue helmet. Toss in the potential for an annoying leaguewide trend and you have an idea that probably should have stayed in the brainstorming meeting where it was first proposed. Grade: C
Paul Lukas will run down all of this season's NHL uniform changes shortly before the start of the regular season. If you liked this column, you'll probably like his Uni Watch Blog, plus you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Want to learn about his Uni Watch Membership Program, be added to his mailing list so you'll always know when a new column has been posted, or just ask him a question? Contact him here.