This summer, the Devils organization did something which, for a long time, seemed completely unthinkable for their NHL team: they changed the uniforms. The Devils uniforms, a look that had become a classic and had barely changed in the 25 years since the transition from red/green to red/black were to finally get an overhaul. This news, understandably, caused a lot of agita among the Devils’ faithful. The old proverb “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” immediately sprung to mind when murmurs started leaking out about the Devils being among the teams to see changes with the league’s transition from Reebok uniforms to Adidas. For years, the Devils had been sporting one of the NHL’s best looks, why change that now?
Upon the release of the new look just before the Vegas expansion draft in June, the reactions varied from “relief it wasn’t worse” to “going to burn down the Prudential Center with everyone from the Devils and Adidas inside of it.” No, this was not a particularly popular change among the Devils faithful. I definitely fell into the former camp as I generally agreed that the jersey was a downgrade, but I was just happy they didn’t screw it up any worse. Some people were (and in some cases, still are) seething about the update, but given some of the uniform-related atrocities that have occurred around the league in the past (and present), it seemed a bit much to be breaking out the pitchforks for.
The decision to change a near-perfect uniform certainly was a risky – if not just straight-up bad – one, but I felt at least they didn’t touch the crest and the uniform was not so bad that it would be distracting once the team hit the ice. Some, including John at the time, fairly criticized the jersey for the half-measure it was/is, simultaneously annoying people for changing a classic, but also not venturing far enough away for the look to actually feel particularly new. They found the sweet spot where they made people mad for screwing with the design AND for not actually doing anything interesting. At the time, the Devils Twitter account even changed their bio to respond to the deluge of, uh, probably not super friendly mentions they were getting:
People’s immediate reactions to change after 25 years of status quo are always going to be extreme, though (and Adidas rollout graphics were not particularly flattering in retrospect). Reactions seemed to have mellowed by training camp (though visceral anti-Adidas feelings certainly remain in some portions of the fanbase) and once the jerseys were out on the ice, the consensus seemed to be that they weren’t quite as bad as originally thought. Many of the same points still stood: the change probably wasn’t super necessary, the stripes were a little weird, and the explanations for the uniform decisions by Adidas were largely bull, but pulled together as a full uniform, it immediately felt less offensive.
And now I’m going to make a potentially bold declaration: the new uniforms are starting to grow on me a little bit. I think some tweaks can be made to improve things (those thick white stripes on the homes still feel a little weird) but the look is pretty clean and given the way the team had stagnated over the past five years, I’m coming around on the bit of visual separation this creates. David Sarch and I discussed it on the podcast a month or so ago, the jerseys lack the classic sweater vibe of the old ones, but they look and feel a little faster, which kind of matches the young, fast team we’ve seen on the ice so far this year. I’m getting used to the lack of stripes at the hips and find myself not missing them as much as I thought I might. The away whites in particular look sharp, as I think the layout of the stripes works better with the colors reversed. It’s almost impossible to compete with the classic look of the old jersey, particularly as it coincides with the dynastic late 90’s/early 2000’s Devils teams, but again, considering how badly teams around the league are known to screw up uniforms, these could have turned out a heck of a lot worse.
So my question to everyone else is how has your opinion evolved on these jerseys over the past couple months? Has your view of them improved since they came out? Alternatively, has your opinion of them instead gotten worse? Are you largely indifferent? Did you want to fire everyone at Adidas into the sun when they came out and do you still want to do that? Take the poll below and leave a comment with your thoughts on the jerseys now that they’ve been around for a couple months. If you like them, don’t like them, or want to throw rocks and trash at me for saying they’re actually decent, let your opinion be heard.
Now a month into the regular season, what are your thoughts on the new jerseys?
This poll is closed
I didn’t like them then and don’t like them now
I didn’t like them but they are growing on me
I actually like them less now then I did originally
I liked them all along
I am utterly indifferent to them
Anyone who likes them is a witch and must be burned with cleansing fire