CALGARY (CP) - There's a brand new jersey but the same old questions continued to plague the Calgary Flames on Tuesday as the team introduced its new sweaters for the 2007-2008 season.
The Flames new Rbk Edge uniform was unveiled at a news conference in Calgary. The new form-fitting jerseys are more water resistant and made of a lighter material.
But it didn't take long for reporters' questions to turn to the upcoming season and whether the new jerseys would turn around Calgary's record on the road.
"You guys are grilling us already about the road and we haven't even started camp," snapped Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf. "We're here to launch the jersey and it's exciting not only for our team in Calgary but for the whole league."
While the Flames were tough to beat at home during the regular season last year, they were among the worst teams on the road - winning just 13 times.
"You guys will probably be asking us a lot about that this year and we'll be waiting for it I guess, but we haven't even started training camp yet," added Matthew Lombardi. "But the guys are excited and we've got a good group and I think things are going to be pretty positive."
The new jerseys are nearly identical to the models the team introduced a few years ago with two exceptions. The new sweaters include the flag of Alberta on the right sleeve and a Canadian flag on the left sleeve.
"It's for one year but we had to get permission from the federal government and the provincial government," explained Flames president Ken King. "The league permitted it for one year and we will have to seek permission to go forward beyond that.
"I'm proud as punch to carry those flags at least for a year."
King said the Flaming C has become too popular with fans to make any radical departures in the new design. The idea is popular with the players too.
"I think the flags are great," said Phaneuf. "It's good that we're wearing them on our shoulders wherever we play and we come from a great hockey province and a great hockey city that supports us."
"They look good. Really good," assessed Lombardi. "They pretty much kept the integrity of the new jersey and brought in the new things - the flags too."
The Flames will wear their new jerseys in their first pre-season game, Sept. 16, verses the Florida Panthers in Calgary.
This is the first change in the Calgary jersey since the 2003-2004 season.
"The last time we changed our jersey we made it to the Stanley Cup final," King said. "Let's hope history repeats itself."