I know many writers on Illegal Curve have already weighed in with their opinion on the NHL's new RBK jerseys but I just can't hold back. First off, these jerseys are far too tight. The players look like they have to suck-in their stomachs to even get into the uniforms. Moreover, you are restricting the patented jersey tuck-in that some players, i.e., Wayne Gretzky, used to have as their staple. Secondly, the uniforms actually look horrid. Wow! I can't believe someone in the marketing department actually approved these with the expectation that the uniforms would be appealing to the hockey consumer. Has anyone seen the new Canucks uniform? The new Oilers uniform? The new Islanders uniform? They are all equally ugly. Due to the fact that these uniforms have just been tweaked and not totally remade (Washington aside), why would someone drop a couple hundred dollars on a jersey they probably already have.
The league needs a lesson in tradition and continuity. As a fan, all I ask is for less change. While I understand the desire to always improve and be on the cutting edge, in certain instances, that agenda can be taken too far. The NHL needs to stop changing uniforms, rules, etc., and stay true to the game.
On to the morning papers:
- Grant Kerr of the Globe & Mail has the story of Dustin Penner and the pressure that goes along with signing a huge contract. (Writer's note: A story on Dustin Penner!!! This is only the 33rd of the pre-season.)
- The Leafs have some decisions to make on defense writes Dave Shoalts in this morning's Globe & Mail.
- In camp without the security of a contract, 23 year old Tomas Fleishmann is ready to prove he is worthy of not only making the team, but making the team in a top-six forward role.
- Damien Cox of the Toronto Star isn't very convinced that the tandem of Toskala and Raycroft is that much better than the combination of goalies they have put together in Phoenix.
- Dan Boyle is coming up on UFA status and, in this instance, Jay Feaster is making an exception to his usual policy of not negotiating extensions during the season. (Writer's note: Dan Boyle may be the most underrated all-around defenseman in the game today. He really is better defensively than people give him credit for.)
- Youngster David Perron is hoping to crack the Blues' roster and avoid being returned to junior hockey; Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the story.
- Coach Ron Wilson decided to split up his three impressive rookies in Friday night's exhibition contest writes David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News.
- After being traded from Anaheim after their cup victory, Tim Brent is looking to stick in Pittsburgh as a 12th or 13th forward.
- Kimmo Timonen and Antero Nittymaki collided in practice on Friday, but the good news is that nothing serious came of it. Timonen is probable to play in tonight's contest versus the Rangers.
- Ted Nolan is very happy to see Radek Martinek healthy and back in the lineup writes Greg Logan in this morning's Newsday.
- The Rangers' youngsters looked impressive during the team's first exhibition tilt on Friday versus the Devils.
- Alex Bourret, profiled in the Prospect Pulse just days ago, was apparently sent down to the Rangers' farm team in Hartford, in part, because he didn't follow the team's off-season training program closely enough.
- Devils' goaltender Kevin Weekes had to be carried off the ice on Friday night at MSG, however, coach Brent Sutter says he'll be fine. After Weekes went down, there was a target on Sean Avery's back for causing the goaltender to leave the game.
- Confidence will be important for Marek Zidlicky in Nashville this season writes John Glennon of the Tennessean.
- Christoph Schubert can, once again, expect to play both forward and defense for the Senators this season.
- Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette has a great piece on the outrageous costs of attending an NHL game.
- Derek Boogard got a puck in the forehead in practice, but he was counting his blessings that it wasn't his eye writes Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.
- Kings' general manager Dean Lombardi explains why he placed Dan Cloutier on waivers in this morning's L.A. Times.
- Bob Stauffer of the Edmonton Sun claims that the Oilers lack toughness and, in fact, he believes they miss the presence of Georges Laraque to instill fear into opponents.
- With the regular season creeping up, these are nervous times for Oilers' youngsters who are looking to make the NHL roster writes Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal.
- Johan Franzen will be looked on to score more this season in Detroit.
- Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News informs us that the Stars will be spending this Sunday at the Air Force Academy to help improve team cohesion.
- The Jackets were quick to defend Nikolai Zherdev after he took a questionable hit during Friday night's exhibition game at Buffalo.
- The Hawks went five periods without a goal, and then scored four in the 3rd period of Friday's exhibition contest versus the Wild. Of note, Patrick Kane registered his first NHL point.
- Having dropped 20 pounds in the off-season, Cam Ward feels quicker this season. According to Luke Decock of the News Observer, Ward's quickness was evident in the Hurricanes' 3-0 shutout of the Predators last night.
- Adam Pardy is excited to still be around at Flames' camp writes Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald.
- Drew Stafford may miss a few days after leaving the Sabres' exhibition contest on Friday with an immobilized left arm.
- Milan Lucic is making roster decisions awfully hard for the Bruins' brass and says he wants no part of returning home to Vancouver.
- Kari Lehtonen has, once again, tweaked his groin in training camp, although this year he assures us it is not serious.
For Illegal Curve, I'm Richard Pollock.