Threads of doubt

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

O.K. Enough already. It's time to take the gloves off and deal with the No. 1 sports controversy in Edmonton.

Danny Maciocia's Gotta Go?

Hell no. Nothing left to say there that hasn't been said.

No, I'm talking about the total travesty of the Edmonton Oilers "pyjamas".

The folly and the farce of forcing them to wear "practice jerseys" in games.

Those especially embarrassing white away uniforms with the shirt tails it looks like they forgot to tuck in, that crappy costume they were wearing on Hockey Night In Canada out of Los Angeles last night.

The Oilers have been wearing these daffy duds long enough most of the fans I've talked to have only one question:

"How do we get our stripe back?"

O.K. Two questions.

"How do we lose that practice uniform piping on the front, too?"

The fans clearly haven't fallen in love with the Oilers new uniforms, home or away.

WORST IN THE LEAGUE

But the away whites may just be the worst in the league. In fact, they have been declared exactly that on sports desk highlight shows around the league already this year.

Heck, their own president Cal Nichols admits he can't stand looking at the damn things.

"They look, uh, a little plain," he chose his words carefully.

"I have to be careful here. Reebok paid a lot of money," he said of the project bringing the new uniforms to teams around the league and the obvious NHL memo to everybody in the game that they all must love them.

I told Nichols I was writing about the awful new Oilers silks.

"I think that would be a good article to write," he said. "But just put me down for saying I liked our old uniforms. I don't want to sound like an old stick-in-the-mud who can't go contemporary."

There have been other reviews.

"Ice Capades awful!"

"What was Edmonton thinking?

"I like the traditional horizontal stripes at the bottom of the old jersey."

"Why mess with tradition?"

"Wow. I feel like a Minnesota fan."

"Those are awful. Edmonton fans deserve better."

"Butt ugly. It looks like someone who hates the Oilers designed this one."

"The jersey is a little disappointing considering that Todd McFarlane, creator of Spawn, is a part owner. You'd think he'd have a say in the final design."

"Vancouver's looks better than those."

Those are just a few of the comments you can find by going to Google and typing in "Oilers" and "uniforms".

With the new Reeboks, everybody in the league has a new design, but the Montreal Canadiens look like the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks look like the Chicago Blackhawks, theDetroit Red Wings look like the Detroit Red Wings ...

The Edmonton Oilers, a team of tradition which has won five Stanley Cup, just don't look like the Edmonton Oilers.

"I can't disagree," said Nichols.

WHO TO BLAME

Don't blame Reebok. Blame the Oilers. Blame CEO Patrick LaForge.

"We wanted change. A lot of things motivated us to look at change. We have a new locker room. A new team. We saw it as rejuvenation. A breath of fresh air," said LaForge.

"It was meant to be a sort of a Baltimore Ravens look," he said.

The Oilers have have their own identifiable look familiar to the entire world because Wayne Gretzky used to wear that uniform, and now they want to look like the Baltimore Ravens instead?

"A full black body from the ankles to the top, above the ankles and below the shoulders. A solid blue color," said LaForge.

So how do you get your stripe back?

"We can do it," says LaForge. "But not until 2009-2010."

Good thing they probably won't win a Stanley Cup until then.


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