Following about 48 hours of piecemeal teases on the team Twitter account, the Pittsburgh Penguins revealed the uniform they’ll wear for their March 1 outdoor game at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Take it away, Chris Kunitz:
Like the rest of the Stadium Series jerseys that have been released, the Penguins’ logo has some chrome aspects to it, and there are diagonal lines throughout the uniform – including on the pants. Unlike the Islanders’ outdoor jersey, the Pens’ crest is essentially identical to what they normally wear, but the rest of the sweater bears a strong resemblance to what the Isles will don at Yankee Stadium on Super Bowl weekend.
March 1 against the Blackhawks will mark the first time since 2002 that the Penguins have worn a jersey with a shoulder yoke. Since they switched back to the famous skating penguin, their shoulders have been free of contrasting color. Also, there’s no blue on the new model, a switch from previous outdoor jerseys they’ve worn (2008 and 2011).
Personally, I hoped the Penguins would be able to throw it back to the mid-1980s or the Stanley Cup years of the early ’90s, but when I saw the first Stadium Series uniforms, I knew we wouldn’t be looking into the past for inspiration. Quasi-futuristic appears to be the theme, but overall I’d give the uniforms a solid B grade. Nothing too flashy, outside the questionable chrome crest, but nothing too exciting, either.
This could be the last time (again)
All-time NHL and Penguins great Jaromir Jagr is back in Pittsburgh on Friday night as the New Jersey Devils look to haunt Consol Energy Center. Pens followers have wondered in each of the past three seasons whether Jagr would ever return to Pittsburgh ice again, and yet here he is once more.
At 41 years old, Jagr has 11 goals and a team-leading 25 points in 32 games for New Jersey, which signed the right winger to a one-year, $4.55-million contract in the summer. He keeps clicking off the milestones, as he recently passed old teammate Mario Lemieux for eighth on the NHL’s career goal-scoring list. Jagr’s 692 tallies have him tied with former Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman in that spot.
Jagr (1713 points) is also 10 shy of seventh-place Lemieux on the all-time scoring leaderboard. He lugs his struggling Devils (12-14-6, 30 points) to Pittsburgh to face the first-place Penguins (21-10-1, 43 points) at 7 p.m.
New Jersey has lost four of its last five and seven of 10 to drop into seventh-place in the eight-team Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh got back on the positive side of the ledger with its 2-1 win over Columbus on Monday at home. Winners of six of their past seven games, the Penguins lead the division by seven points over second-place Washington.
Orpik returns to the ice briefly
In injury-related news, defenseman Brooks Orpik skated prior to the gameday workout. Pens coach Dan Bylsma called it “just protocol to stay active” and said Orpik is still experiencing concussion-related symptoms. Orpik was knocked unconscious Saturday by Boston’s Shawn Thornton, who had a disciplinary hearing with the NHL on Friday afternoon to find out the length of his suspension for attacking Orpik unexpectedly.
Behind enemy lines
I was invited to appear on The Octopod to preview this Saturday’s Penguins-Red Wings tilt in Detroit and discuss general NHL news. Give it a listen as Andrew Stover and Tom Mitsos tee me up with questions about the Pens’ season from a Wings fan’s perspective.
Also make sure to listen for the first curse word of my broadcasting career: