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A couple years ago, I decided to take a stab at the NY-Penn League's Connecticut Tigers after they introduced mascot logos that looked like they'd come out of a 30s Mickey Mouse cartoon (and I say that in a good way). The road jersey in that concept was basically the Sparky Anderson-era grays, but with CONNECTICUT instead of DETROIT on the front. A few years removed, and I've decided I wanted to see what the big leaguers would look like in a similar set. First, the home and away... Like I'd done with the CT Tigers, the home whites are tweaked more than anything: orange trim is added to the D and lettering, and the tiger head appears as a left sleeve patch. Orange trim is also added to the cap D. The grays take their cues from the 80s, with orange-white-navy cuffs and pants striping, and eliminating the white outlines and front number. The socks also now have orange stripes. There is a home alternate, basically a white version of the grays, the chief difference being the Tigers script instead of Detroit. For the hell of it, I included a slightly toned down version of the CT set's striped alternate-most of the jersey stripes blend in, with only two remaining navy, fewer stripes on the cap, and the pants are still navy, but with more normal looking striping that wouldn't be pooh-poohed as something more befitting the Astros. But wait, there's more! In the next post, a second variant!
*WARNING* LONG POST TO FOLLOW So a new term has popped up around the CCSLC over the past few years. The term "Original 6 dress up." It seems to have originated with the Tampa Bay Lightning's unveil of their current uniform set in 2011 that aped the Maple Leafs' colours and the Red Wings' striping pattern and picked up steam when the Carolina Hurricanes just unveiled a new uniform set five days ago, part of which aped the Red Wings' colours and the Maple Leafs' striping pattern. Some have even applied it to the new Dallas Stars set because, despite their unique colour scheme, their new home uniform shares striping pattern similarities with the Rangers' and Blackhawks' home sweaters. Yet the term has also been retroactively applied to a wave of faux-retro uniform designs that have swept the league recently, with many people applying the term to uniforms unveiled as far back as 2003. Like most terms popularized here, such as "BFBS," "clown suits," and "POTD" many people have misappropriated the term "Original 6 dress up" to the point that when using it or discussing the arguments associated with it they no longer understand what exactly it means. So I thought I'd start this thread to both help explain the meaning and proper use of the term, as well as provide a single place for us to all discuss the trends that seem to have led to its emergence in the first place. First, a history lesson. The term "Original 6" refers to the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs. Now despite what the name says these teams are not the NHL's original six teams. In fact of the six only two, the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs (then known as the Toronto Arenas), were founding NHL teams. The original five NHL teams included those two, the Montreal Wanderers, original Ottawa Senators, and the Quebec Bulldogs. The Bruins became the NHL's first American team in 1924, and the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Cougars (later Red Wings), and New York Rangers would join in 1926. The Wanderers folded during the NHL's first season, the Bulldogs moved to Hamilton and then to New York to become the Americans, the Montreal Maroons and Pittsburgh Pirates/Philadelphia Quakers joined, and the Ottawa Senators would move to St. Louis to become the Eagles. These teams all folded, mostly due to the Great Depression. The last of these teams to die off would be the New York Americans, who held on as the Brooklyn Americans for one year. At the end of the 1941-42 season they folded, leaving the NHL with six teams until 1967. These remaining six teams became known as the Original Six, as they made up the league during the advent of television, and thus many people who experienced the NHL for the first time in a mass media sense knew these six teams as the "original" NHL clubs. The name's stuck, even though only two of them were around since the start of the NHL. I mention all of this to perhaps instill the idea that while the "Original 6" were on their own during the NHL's first true golden age and have tons of history and tradition between them they are not the be-all-end-all of hockey tradition. Though not the same franchise as the original Senators the current Ottawa team is carrying a torch older then the NHL itself and the teams called the "Original 6." Are they playing "Original 6 dess up" with their fauxback alternate? No. They're honouring something much older. So let's really get down to it now that the mystique of the Original 6 has been tarnished a bit. We'll get started with the aesthetic side of things by looking at the current uniforms worn by the Original 6 teams. While the O6 teams have tweaked their looks over the years (some more then others) each team is currently wearing a uniform that, all in all, represents their traditional aesthetic. Boston Bruins Chicago Blackhawks Detroit Red Wings Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers Toronto Maple Leafs Ok, so those are the Original 6 teams looking like Original 6 teams. Now that we've all had a chance to take in what O6 teams look like let's turn our attention to the teams accused of playing "Original 6 dress up." We'll start with the ones that the term actually applies to. Carolina Hurricanes Tampa Bay Lightning Both these teams are doing a kind of pick and choose activity from O6 menu of design. The Lightning are wearing a Red Wings striping pattern in Maple Leafs colours and the Hurricanes are wearing a Maple Leafs striping pattern in Red Wings colours. Carolina Hurricanes explained Tampa Bay Lightning explained In both cases you have newer teams (the Lightning a 1992 expansion team, the Hurricanes the result of a 1997 relocation rebrand) using striping patterns AND colour schemes used by O6 teams. You could just go ahead and put the Lightning in full on Leafs templates and the Hurricanes in full on Red Wings templates and it wouldn't alter the overall design of either. And if you thought that the differences in striping between Lighting/Leafs and Hurricanes/Red Wings make enough of a difference so that you can tell them apart on the ice you would be mistaken. In the two years since the Lightning switched to their Original 6 dress up look Lightning/Maple Leafs games have become borderline unwatchable due to looking like inter-squad scrimmages. Pictured: Nonsense If you don't think that's bad, keep in mind it's a still image. Imagine two teams dressed like that playing at the fast pace you see in the NHL. The scrimmage effect becomes incredibly obvious. Given that the Lightning in Leafs colours and a Wings template was enough to cause that effect I can only assume the Hurricanes in Wings colours and a Leafs template will cause the same effect when the Red Wings visit Carolina. The Hurricanes and the Lightning further legitimize the term as it applies to them when you consider the men behind the rebrands of both teams. Steve Yzerman, the Lightning's General Manager, played for the Red Wings his entire career, winning three Stanley Cups with the team. Peter Karmanos Jr. owns the Hurricanes and is a Detroit native and life long Red Wings fan. Both teams even cited the Original 6 as "influences." The Lightning stated that they specified the blue they wanted to use as the same shade the Maple Leafs use and the PR word salad the Hurricanes' staff put out when they unveiled their set talked about the Original 6 being "an influence." In short both the Lightning and the Hurricanes use templates and colour schemes traditionally used by Original 6 teams, had redesigns spearheaded by people with sentimental attachments to the Original 6, and specifically mentioned the Original 6 as influences on their designs. If any two teams deserve to be labelled as playing "Original 6 dress up" it's these two for the above stated reasons. Now you'll notice that the Hurricanes' white road sweater does not follow the same pattern as their home reds. In addition to a different striping pattern they have also included black and silver to the striping scheme. Does the road Hurricanes uniform play "Original 6 dress up"? In a word, no. Simply having a straightforward striping pattern is not enough to qualify as playing "Original 6 dress up." Here's a snapshot of the NHL uniform-wise from the early 1990s to illustrate that point. http://nhluniforms.c...93/1992-93.html The NHL had twenty-four teams for the 1992-93 season. So eighteen teams employed some form of traditional striping. Were they playing "Original 6 dress up"? No. That's just the traditional aesthetic for a hockey sweater's design. No different then the way a baseball uniform is designed with a wordmark and number across the front. Simply having straightforward striping along the hem and sleeves of a sweater does not mean they are playing "Original 6 dress up." Any dislike of the Hurricanes' new road look is based on the fact that many, myself included, consider it underwhelming when compared to the the look they had prior to the redesign. That does not mean that they're playing "Original 6 dress up" though. It simply means for that team wearing something more unique and out there was preferable to something more expected. While the Hurricanes' red home sweater is a true case of "Original 6 dress up" the white road sweater is not. It may have failings in other areas, but it is not stealing an Original 6 team's look simply by having a simple striping pattern. Which brings us to the Dallas Stars and their new redesign. Dallas Stars Some people here cried foul and accused them of playing "Original 6 dress up" too. Probably not helped by the fact that they unveiled their look less then twelve hours after Carolina unveiled theirs. Well we have to ask. Are they? No. For many of the same reasons the Carolina Hurricanes' new white road sweater isn't. Simply having a traditional striping pattern does not mean the team is playing "Original 6 dress up." While the Dallas Stars' new home sweater has striping pattern similarities with the New York Rangers' and Chicago Blackhaws' home sweaters (see above) the Stars avoid playing "Original 6 dress up" by using a unique kelly green and black colour scheme. No one's going to mistake the Rangers and Stars. Had the Stars gone with their original plan of a red, white, and blue redesign maybe this would have happened, but as it is they went with kelly green and black, so it didn't. Besides, the Stars have a long history of using traditional striping patterns. http://nhluniforms.c...NorthStars.html So while the Hurricanes' road uniform and the Stars' redesign both employ traditional striping patterns that does not mean they're playing "Original 6 dress up." It simply means those uniforms use a striping pattern more in line with hockey aesthetic tradition which is not the same thing at all. CONTINUED IN PART II