If the Islanders make the Stanley Cup Playoffs next season, fans will be able to watch them play every home postseason game in their popular retro uniforms.
But if you were hoping the Islanders could make the vintage unis their primary look for all 82 regular season games in 2009-2010, it’s probably not in the cards.
Point Blank has learned from league sources that – barring a last-second, long-shot, precedent-setting decision by the NHL – the Islanders’ jersey rotation for next season will be the same as this year.
The Islanders will wear their Third Jerseys for 15 home games next season. Should the team qualify for the postseason, the Islanders have the option (per NHL rules) of wearing the Royal Blues for all playoff games at the Coliseum.
The reason for the lack of immediate fan gratification is timing. The merchandising division of the NHL requires teams to apply for a primary jersey change two full years before the switch. The Islanders’ popular Third Jerseys were completed in time for this season. Filing the paperwork with the league before the deadline was impossible.
The Royal Blues have been hailed across the league. The new-old uniforms are the franchise’s most popular off-ice initiative this season with the die-hards. Credit should be given to the decision-makers who pushed for the head-to-toe re-do. Most teams implement a Third Jersey without giving much consideration to the rest of the uniform. The Islanders didn’t just go Royal Blue with the jersey; they designed helmets, gloves, pants and everything else to match.
The Islanders, well aware of the hallelujahs from their fanbase, appealed to the league for approval to make this year’s Third Jersey their No. 1. (Of course, the team would have to create a white “road” version to match the home blues). As of this date, the league is not willing to break the rule. Among many reasons, there are too many hurdles with manufacturers and distributors – and too little time.
As a result, fans will see the Islanders wear the Royal Blues in the league-maximum 15 of 41 regular season home games and every potential home playoff game in 2009-10. The team is aiming for the retros to be the primary jersey in 2010-11.