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Dealing with Jersey Envy

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The new Kings third jerseys left us saying, “you’re kidding me, right?”

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2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

I feel like this season has been the season of excuses and blame. Blame the coach. Blame the players. Trade the players. Blame injuries. Blame team speed. Blame the team’s age. Blame the new coach. Blame the GM and the President.

For every accusation, there’s been an equal and opposite excuse reason given for why this is happening.

I’ve been vocal about quite a few suggestions for solutions and more vocal when my fellow fans have been told to be quiet and let the big boys do their fixing of the on-ice issues. There are some things I just cannot tolerate - today it’s these third jerseys introduced last week.

Full disclosure, I’m not a sportswriter. I work in advertising. I’ve been good and I’ve been lucky. Sometimes the two meet in the middle and that’s when I’m great. I don’t know how to put together a great hockey team. My specialty are great advertising campaigns.

The Kings spoiled me from 2012 until this year. And even though they won exactly one playoff game since Dustin Brown raised the second Stanley Cup, the whole Kings experience felt special. And it was. The boys on the ice had swagger. It transferred to us, the fans. We had swagger too. We had (and still do) have scoreboard over the Ducks (one Cup) and the Sharks (no Cups). Any other California fan who dares to talk smack about our team is greeted with a lusty two finger salute, a la Coach Sutter. Argument over.

Now that the wheels have fallen off, we have been told to be patient. They players understand it’s on them and they will step up the urgency. We know they care, just read that Drew Doughty interview where he said it’s the most embarrassing part of his entire career.

You want patience? We will give it to you, no problem. Even if we finish dead last, there’s hope to get Jack Hughes, right?

If we don’t get the right mix of lottery balls, the second overall is projected to be Vasili Podkolzin. I’m told he’s described as, “Everything you want in a player, let alone a draft prospect. The fiery left winger oozes skill, leadership, physicality and elite hockey sense, and his burning desire to be the best player on the ice is matched by his brilliance with the puck.”

Okay then…sign us up! I’m sure Ilya Kovalchuk would love to play with a fellow countryman.

Truth be told, once the Kings jettisoned John Stevens, I was good with the Armageddon at hand. Most of us resigned ourselves to a long season.

The last thing to look forward to was the Kings third jerseys. They are a big deal this season. Haven’t seen them? Check them out on NHL.com. Most of the teams bragged about theirs early. The NHL even made the Kings wear their road uniforms at home so the Ducks could wear theirs on Staples Center ice. Weird.

We kept saying that it was weirder we hadn’t seen the Kings yet. I mean, my whole family has been itching to get new jerseys. The new thirds were just the excuse to plop down $200 each at the Team LA store the minute they came out.

On Friday, we found out why there was such a long wait: lack of imagination.

Here, the Kings, Adidas, and the designers of the new thirds were just plain lazy, recycling the themes set forth by Stadium Series and 50th Anniversary jerseys. Our first reaction was, “you’re kidding me, right?”

No sooner had we reacted than the excuse machine worked its way through social media. The pundits were saying it was on point with the brand, while others said once you see them in person, you’ll simply love them. Even Alex Faust ran this gem up the flagpole on Twitter:

“Legit I know fans are saying ‘but it’s another silver jersey’ … let me tell you, up close this thing POPS. Especially with the custom numbers. Stitching is super cool.”

Really? The stitching? Ugh.

I mentioned that I am in the ad world because of this simple fact. At the agency, if I had hyped up a new project this hard and basically recycled an old, tepid campaign, I would have been dismissed from the presentation room. It simply would have been unacceptable.

I was watching “In Search of Greatness,” a new documentary about athletic genius and creativity, and Wayne Gretzky basically said the difference between “good” and “great” is “creativity.”

This is what I feel about the new Adidas “silver jerseys” – they lack creativity. As a matter of fact, let’s call them what they are: designer plagiarism.

Don’t believe me? Look at their predecessors:

2014 Coors Stadiums Series Unis:

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2015 Coors Stadiums Series Unis:

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50th Anniversary Unis:

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The 2018-19 Silver Jersey

Credit: NHL

Seriously, folks, stitching aside, the 2018-19 Silver jerseys ARE the 50th Anniversary jerseys with an Adidas patch on them. If these were logos, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office would ask you to change the most recent version. If they were a songs, you’d owe someone some substantial publishing rights and fees.

I never wanted to be that “get off my lawn” old guy talking about how things could be done better, but I feel lied to on this one. I am super envious of the creativity that the Blackhawks, Blue Jackets and the Jets showed with their new thirds. The worst part about this whole thing is that I don’t have any answers.

So now, I’ll watch some Vasili Podkolzin highlights and wonder what moves the Mad Scientist, Rob Blake is cooking up in his laboratory.