A Uniform of One Color for an Army’s Offseason

The Capitals unveiled their new uniform look early last summer, but it’s this offseason that will fully showcase just how successful the makeover was.
Saturday afternoon I stopped by the Kettler-Capitals’ pro shop to see a buddy there working a weekend shift sharpening skates and moving merchandise, and the movement of goods this spring, he reported, has been brisk.
“It’s been a zoo in here the last few weeks,” he told me.
Fans seemed to appreciate the new look just two or three games into the preseason last September. Until then, they’d seen only photographs of the fashion upgrade in action-less stills. Once vivid, high-def-in-digital game imagery of the new threads was published on line, praise for the makeover was widespread. The team modernized its on-ice look, but not lavishly or outlandishly or, most importantly, faddishly, and there were clear but subtle acknowledgements back to the original threads. It was a look that appeared to be the best of the old blended with a hip new.
More fans wearing more of the new color and look became apparent at Verizon Center after the end-of-the-year holidays in 2007, and as the team turned its season around by late winter in 2008, even more of the red, white and blue filled the home rink. The new look was fast becoming a smash hit.
When the stretch-run became white-red-hot, so too did the look of the nation’s capital. The team declared “Red Outs” for the final week of regular season play, and the fans responded fanatically. The uni-color solidarity within the Phone Booth continued into the postseason. Comcast’s Lisa Hillary told me during one home postseason game that Verizon Center looked distinctly like Calgary’s Red Mile of playoffs past.
Planned or unplanned, the team’s return to its original colors has afforded an opportunity to market the old with the new. On my visit to the Kettler shop Saturday I saw rack after rack of red, but the names and numbers on the t-shirts were both old and new. Semin, Clark, and Ovechkin were joined by Hunter and Langway. My father, who wore his red senior’s hockey sweater to two postseason home games, will later this week be receiving an old-school, old-logo-ed red t-shirt bearing Rod Langway’s nameplate and number on its back, along with instructions to wear it both while mowing his massive yard and barbequing for Saturday night houseguests. He loved Langway.
I have plans for some heavy-duty recreating this summer. I’ll be sweating a lot in red.
Saturday was gorgeous in D.C., and the moreso to be navigating the route back from Kettler-Capitals toward Maryland on the GW Parkway. The first Saturday of being eliminated from hockey’s postseason is always a painful one for me, but under that Chamber of Commerce sky Saturday, with my sack of red as companion, I felt immense pride instead of pain, and I began thinking about Washington’s hockey hardcore as well as the new converts this spring showcasing their pride in the hockey team this offseason. There is so much to be proud of.
Our Army should be arriving at neighborhood pools this offseason covered up in red. Yard work should be conducted in a ‘Rock the Red’ tee. Jogging, rollerblading, dog walking — all of it should be completed while identified as Ovie, Olie, Huntsy, or Langway. We should attend rock concerts at Nissan and Merriweather and Rock the Red there as well.
Let’s Red-out the region this summer. The Washington Post is watching.

This entry was posted in Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Chris Clark, Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Lisa Hillary, Media, Olaf Kolzig, Print, Washington Capitals, Washington Post. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A Uniform of One Color for an Army’s Offseason

  1. amy says:

    My daughter was leaning over my shoulder as I read this blog. She said that she thought how cool it was that all the fans were sporting “the red” and mentioned how she likes my own “Rock the Red” tee. She did make an interesting suggestion though, “It should say Respect the Red”. So let’s both rock it and respect it as we await our next season.

  2. The Peerless says:

    do bloodshot eyes count?

  3. pepper says:

    I’ll be wearing a red Caps tee all summer long while pounding the pavement around NYC, training for the marathon here in November.

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