At 1:47 p.m., Evgeni Malkin
ended the suspense as to what the Penguins’ jersey will look like when the puck is dropped at Heinz Field on New Year’s Day when Pittsburgh and Washington meet in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
Following a brief introductory video highlighting past Winter Classics and offering a preview of this year’s contest, Malkin stepped onto the ice through the visitor’s bench and skated to center ice, where he stood in front of the scoreboard with full equipment modeling the new jersey.
Predominantly navy blue with light blue accents, the uniform is a new design that features elements from many different eras of Penguins uniforms. It was designed by Reebok with input from both the Penguins and the NHL.
This freshly-designed jersey is considered a “fusion” because it is patterned after a number of different uniform elements.
The socks are also dark blue with light blue piping that matches the sleeves and crest of the jersey. The Penguins will wear the same navy blue shell with light blue and white striping along the side and navy blue helmets that they have worn the past four years with their current powder blue sweaters.
“I like it,” said Malkin of the fusion jersey following his brief modeling session. “It is a good color and I really like the old-school Penguins logo.”
Although the Penguins went with the highly-popular powder-blue throwbacks for the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo, President and CEO David Morehouse said the Penguins wanted to do something different for this year’s game because the team has so many throwback jerseys it could have chosen.
Also, the team wanted to stay with the blue theme because it has become so popular with Penguins fans.
The Penguins wore various versions of blue uniforms from 1967-80, so the colors were selected as a tribute to team history – in keeping with the theme of the Winter Classic event, which is to take the game back to its roots.
“We wanted to create a uniform that celebrates the rich history of Penguins hockey, but with a new look – giving fans something they would really like,” said Keith Leach, Director of Merchandising for Reebok.
The logo, which was previously released in May, is the Penguins’ original logo from the inaugural 1967-68 season – although it was never worn on a uniform. It features a huskier skating penguin, wearing a scarf.
As mentioned, Malkin is a huge fan of the logo.
“I was told this is the 1967 logo, so it is very old,” Malkin said. “I really like it a lot, especially the penguin. He is a friendly penguin, but not on the ice.”
Malkin liked the penguin in the logo so much so that he said he might mirror his look on Jan. 1.
“Maybe I’ll wear a scarf too.”
Malkin didn’t have to model the Winter Classic jersey alone, as fellow forward Jordan Staal
also came onto the ice at CONSOL Energy Center to showcase the new sweater.
Like Malkin, Staal came away impressed with what the Penguins, Reebok and the NHL designed.
“It’s a very nice jersey,” Staal said. “It’s a new look. All of the guys seem to like it.”
While Malkin and Staal both enjoyed having the chance to debut the Winter Classic jerseys, both were quick to dispel any notions that professional modeling might be in their post-hockey careers.
“No, no, no. Modeling is not my thing,” Malkin laughed.
“Not a chance,” Staal smiled. “I’ve had too many broken noses for that.”
Staal might not be ready to consider a modeling career, but now that he knows what he will be wearing for the Winter Classic, it’s a lot easier for him to imagine how the game might unfold.
“Obviously I would imagine me scoring a whole bunch of goals and us winning the game,” Staal said. “It’s going to be a great hockey game against the Washington Capitals.” NOTES:
Penguins Winter Classic jerseys will be available for sale to the public the week of Nov. 15. They will be available at numerous retail outlets, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and the PensGear stores at CONSOL Energy Center.
While the new uniform will make its debut in the Jan. 1 Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals, it also will be worn two other times in the second half of the season – Feb. 10 vs. Los Angeles
and March 12 vs. Montreal
, both at CONSOL Energy Center.