Monday, January 31, 2011

This Month's "Shut Your Yap"

Photo by AP Photos

Big news broke in Tampa today. The Lightning unveiled new uniforms that will go into rotation next season as well as a whole new philosophy and direction for the franchise. The surprising reaction from a lot of fans has led me to a new feature on the blog. The back story goes like this. During the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals, then Philadelphia Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock allegedly mouthed off at a Lightning player during Game 2 of the series. The next day, then Lightning head coach John Tortorella used a media interview to fire back at Hitch and take some of the heat off his players. His rant went on for a while, but the three words that have lived on in Lightning history were "Shut your yap!".

This month's Shut Your Yap is going out to all of the people who have spent all day bashing the new jerseys and the new logos. It's not the end of the hockey world in Tampa Bay because you don't like them. When OK Hockey was holding the reins two years ago, this franchise was close to flat lining. Now we have an owner, CEO, and GM who are all committed to a fresh start. I can't blame them for wanting some new branding to go along with it.

I know some of the knee jerk reaction has to come out of the fact that people don't like change. Especially not when it comes to sports. Now, I love the Lightning and have to have an open minded approach to the 1990s NHL expansion. We wouldn't have a team otherwise. I can appreciate how things have been streamlined and the dated font for the "Tampa Bay" being gone. This is a jersey that can still be used in 40 or 50 years without looking that out of place. Yes, I have been a fan of the all black home uniforms and will miss the silver incorporated throughout. But I can understand how these new uniforms will stand the test of time. No one says the Maple Leafs or Red Wings (two teams whose unis the new ones have been compared to today) need to change their logos or styles. I hope that these will do the same for the Lightning.

It's also hard to argue with the new direction for the team when the guys at the top plan to honestly show the fans how much they appreciate us. From what I've read, the plan is for every season ticket holder to receive one of the blue home jerseys for next season. Every jersey will have a special season ticket holder's patch on it and will include a microchip that can be scanned for special privileges in the arena. Some of those being 25% off of all concessions and 35% off of all merchandise in the building.

To all those who are speaking out so loudly in opposition to the change.. (LINDA HAMILTON ;) ), give it a chance. Give it a few days or weeks and see how you feel about them then. I hate the current third jerseys and you don't see me tearing my hair out about it. Change can be good. This is something that can carry us in to the future. If you can't find it in you to give it a chance, the other option is for you to shut your yap.


  1. Will the new sweaters help us finally beat those f*&%ers?!?

    - Flyers fan

  2. Apparently not tonight, Art. But, they will be back on the 15th.