The Instigator Podcast 10.47 – Red and Black is Back in Sabreland

The Sabres, at long last, have announced they will be bringing back their red and black uniforms as an alternate jersey for the 2022-23 season. The team made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that they will wear the jersey 12 times during the year beginning with a November face-off with the St. Louis Blues. We talk about the excitement surrounding the decision and the nostalgia this brings as we reminisce about some of the great memories made while the Sabres wore the Goathead the first time around.

We kick off the show with a discussion on the two contracts the Sabres signed this week as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Tage Thompson each got a new deal from the club. While the UPL deal wasn’t a huge news item, the Thompson contract is. We break down some key points on the seven-year, $50 million contract for the Sabres center.

Remember to use code Instigator on DraftKings Sportsbook as new customers will get $200 in free bets if they place a $5 bet on any football game in week one.

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Sabres Unveil Safe but Sharp Heritage Classic Jerseys

While the official announcement was somehow scooped by the team’s online store, the Sabres unveiled the jerseys they’ll be wearing for the Heritage Classic on Thursday morning.

via NHL on Twitter

The cream-based jerseys are a first in the team’s history of uniforms and overall, it’s a sharp uniform, although maybe a little on the safe side.

I suspected the Sabres would sport some sort of a “fauxback” for this game given the only truly historic jersey set they have to draw upon is already the basis for their home and away uniform. The cream base helps these lean in hard on the fauxback style and helps differentiate it from the 50th anniversary jerseys (which obviously weren’t throwbacks), the 40th anniversary jerseys and even the 2018 Winter Classic uniform which was at least tangentially throwback inspired.

The thicker striping pattern on the sleeves and hem are a great addition as it gives a more bold look than the thinner stripes seen on the 40th alternates or even the team’s home and away set. Ditto for the white trimmed pants stripe, which is something they should be adopting full time. The return of the bumblebee sock striping is going to fly under the radar but might be one of the coolest features of this uniform.

Adding felt to the crest is a nice touch – it certainly made the 2018 Winter Classic crest feel awesome – the rest of the logo remains unaltered. It’s a fine choice given the direction they went.

I don’t care much about the felt names and numbers. One, because I think it’s a concept that’s been overdone on these fauxback type jerseys. Two, because doing the blue on blue makes the unique stitching on felt numbers invisible. I don’t think the stitching pattern is anything special to begin with (hated it on the 40th alternates), but if you’re going to incorporate a design style, you might as well take full advantage. Lastly, there have been screenshots of disclaimers on the Shop One Buffalo site which indicate that the felt lettering probably won’t be available for the jerseys fans purchase. So it’s a purely cosmetic addition which will be difficult, if not impossible to discern on the ice and offers no added benefit to fans who purchase the jersey.

If there’s anything to critique about these jerseys, it’s that they are a bit on the safe side. While Toronto’s jerseys haven’t been released as of this post being written, it looks as if they’ll pull from an old Toronto Arenas uniform design. The Sabres have had quite a few issues embracing not only their history, but the history of hockey in Buffalo as a whole. This could have been a great opportunity to draw on a uniform design of one of Buffalo Bisons teams of the past. Instead, we got a fairly standard fauxback Sabres jersey. A good jersey, mind you. But not quite as adventurous as it could have been.

The jerseys themselves look great in the promotional images that have been shared. I think they’re going to look terrific on the ice as the design of the pants and the sock striping is going to really tie this all together. We won’t have to wait all that long to see them, either. We’re just about three weeks away from the Heritage Classic and I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll see these at KeyBank Center for the team’s throwback night on March 25.

Sabres to be Back in Black for 22-23

The Sabres will be back in black and red in 2022-23 after Icethetics confirmed that a leaked image is indeed a mockup of the alternate jersey the Sabres will be wearing next season.

Logo on right via Icethetics YouTube video

There’s still a lot to iron out regarding the jersey as the image leaked was a low quality mockup that even included an error which left out one of the red angled hem stripes. Icethetics cleaned up the design a bit in the video linked above, but the lack of a high-quality image opens the door for more surprises as more information comes available. For example, the additional details on the embroidery of the 50th anniversary jerseys wasn’t immediately known from the initial leaks and rumors over those uniforms. So don’t be surprised if there are some “hidden” details which come out at the official unveiling.

Continue reading

The Instigator Podcast – Reverse Retro Edition

With the NHL’s new Reverse Retro jerseys unveiled, we discuss the best of the best and some of our least favorite designs of the collection. We argue over the quality of the Rangers jersey while expressing our excitement over the Sabres version. We also touch on the uncertainty surrounding the 2020-21 season and the frustrations caused by it.

Sabres Reverse Retro Hits the Bullseye

The butterknives are back. Among the many uniform requests Sabres fans have made in recent years, honoring the black and red era has been near the top of the list. Buffalo’s entry in the NHL’s Reverse Retro program doesn’t bring back the black and red color scheme, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

For years it has seemed like the Pegulas and PSE would rather sell the team before truly acknowledging the era of black and red jerseys. That they’ve resurrected a design from the era certainly bodes well for future endeavors. So long as the proper deadlines are met.

The Reverse Retro alternates that will be worn this year are a fun homage to the third jersey the club released in 2000. The design looks great in the new blue and gold colorway and we even get the added treat of the goathead logo adorning the shoulders.

I’ve been a fan of the team’s original third jersey for a long time, so I’m extremely pleased to see these return to action. The new blue and gold colors translate well to the design and the white base is a welcome choice as the blue and gold stripes work far better than a white and gold stripe would have on a blue jersey. I know the wordmark isn’t very popular with fans but I’ve always been fond of it. And it looks good in blue and gold, so I count that as a win. Continue reading

Ranking the NHL’s Reverse Retro Jersey Collection

The NHL’s newest jersey initiative was formally introduced today, with the Adidas Reverse Retro alternate jersey set unveiled for all 31 teams. The premise was to put a modern spin on a jersey from each team’s history. There doesn’t appear to be any hard and fast rules for how the designs were picked as most put a club’s current colors onto an old design. But others borrow vintage colors or even use throwback designs in the case of the Hurricanes and Avalanche.

It’s a jersey collection that could have easily strayed into questionable territory but taking in all 31 designs, there’s really only a couple which aren’t overly appealing. Perhaps most importantly is what this represents for the league. This is a new take on a jersey program which puts the onus on designs which will be fun for fans to see on the ice and hanging in their closet. This is a big step forward for a league that’s often seen as too boring and conservative. Not to mention it’s going to be an excellent revenue source in a time when any penny earned will go a long way.

Naturally, with a host of new jerseys to enjoy, the only logical course of action is to rank each of the designs. I look forward to hearing how wrong my rankings are in the comments or on social media. Continue reading

Concepts for the Sabres “Reverse Retro” Jersey

In a move akin to the NBA’s recent jersey expansion, the NHL appears set to introduce a new jersey for all 31 teams beginning in the 2020-21 season.

Early reports describe the new jersey set as a “reverse retro” alternate, with some early leaks indicating the direction the league and teams appear to be going with the program. With indications that all 31 teams will be getting their own reverse retro jersey, the league is taking a new tack with regard to the alternate uniform program. The current process allows for teams to utilize a third jersey with rules providing somewhere between 10-15 games that teams may wear their third jersey. Teams also have latitude to utilize a vintage uniform with stricter stipulations on the number of games they can be worn. Continue reading

Last Minute Sabres Royal Blue Jersey Concept

The Sabres will arrive at the end of a long, winding path to once again wearing royal blue jerseys when the officially unveil their uniforms Tuesday morning.

It’s an event that fans have been clamoring for years and the organization is finally adjusting course 24 years after first abandoning their original color scheme.

The Pegulas and Sabres have made it awfully easy to take shots at their ineptitude recently and it’s easy to assume that these new jerseys will fall flat. However, knowing that Eric Bodamer’s guidance on the Winter Classic and 50th anniversary uniforms created such great designs and the added background of years of fan requests, I’m confident in saying there’s no way this thing goes sideways on them. Assuming Bodamer was part of the design process, his work with Adidas outweighs the Sabres recent jersey design missteps. Continue reading

Sharp Alternates Set the Stage for the Sabres Return to Royal Blue

The jersey news Sabres fans have been waiting for finally came this week as the club added a bit of fan service to the unveiling of their alternate jersey, finally confirming they’ll be returning to royal blue uniforms in 2020-21.

Rumors on the third jersey were flying from the minute it was confirmed the Sabres would have an alternate jersey for the 50th anniversary. All white, white and gold logo, no blue, there was a lot floating around with the third jersey. The end product is a sharp jersey that does well to mix the gold color being adopted for the anniversary season and the current navy blue used by the club. I may be biased because my alma mater sported navy blue and vegas gold, but it’s an excellent color combination.

The detail embroidery on the crest is tremendous. It’s not quite chain stitching, but it is just as impressive. Much like the 2018 Winter Classic crest with the felt backing and leather applique bison, this crest is bold enough to be seen from a distance and extremely detailed up close. Thanks to the excellent color scheme, the numbers pop on the sleeve and back of the uniform. Same goes for the crest as the gold dazzle fabric pops against the navy blue. Continue reading

Sartorial Sabres Build A Better Sweater

Guest Post from Pro Stock Hockey

Forget about six years without a trip to the playoffs — suddenly, things are looking good for Buffalo Sabres fans.

Yes, a good chunk of that optimism might stem from hiring a general manager who helped build three champions in 10 years at Pittsburgh. Or the fact that the new GM plundered the staff of the other Stanley Cup finalist for his new coach — who just happens to be maybe the greatest blue-liner in Sabres history.

Yet a rebuild spearheaded by Jason Botterill and Phil Housley might take years before it pays off with as big a win as the Sabres posted June 20, when the NHL debuted new jerseys for its 31 teams with new supplier adidas. Continue reading