SUN Hockey Pool

Ovechkin styling in new unis

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

DALLAS -- Alexander Ovechkin doesn't understand what all the fuss is about.

The high-scoring Washington Capitals winger tried out the NHL's new uniforms and liked them, despite all the complaining in the lead up to their unveiling yesterday.

"It was no problem at all," said a smiling Ovechkin.

He was among a handful of NHL players on hand at a flashy press conference at the downtown W Hotel to introduce the new look to the media assembled here for the NHL's all-star festivities.

THREE-YEAR PROCESS

Three years in the making, the Reebok Edge uniform system is supposed to help enhance the performance and better protect the players.

According to the league literature, the players are going to sweat less and it should allow them to have more energy to perform at the end of games.

Reebok was hoping to introduce the uniforms a year ago, but the NHLPA's Mike Gartner played an important part in making sure the union got involved to help improve the uniforms before they are brought in for the 2007-08 campaign.

The only concern some players have is that because of the tightness of the uniforms, opponents will know exactly where to hook them. The uniform is supposed to provide more protection for the hips.

"The players' involvement is essential to get it right and to get it as close to perfect as possible," said Stars goalie Marty Turco. "You need the players who are playing right now and you need the young guys especially.

"You have to have that input. They're the ones who are going to move into those jerseys. The young guys are smart and creative and they speak their mind when it comes to equipment.

"My generation likes old school and they're a little more stubborn, but the young guys are more open to change. The players being part of the process is key."

TIGHTNESS COMPLAINTS

Reebok went back to the drawing board several times. Players have complained they aren't nearly as flexible as the ones they're using right now and the biggest adjustment for the players is going to be the tightness in the arms, socks and pants.

"The socks are really tight," said Atlanta winger Marian Hossa. "They're too tight. I like to have my equipment a little looser."

But for the most part, the players were positive in their response because they've been told by the union this means a lot of money for the league and players, who share in the revenues.

"It's pretty similar to the sweater I wore at the Olympics and I was worried about it being tight," said Senators winger Dany Heatley. "What I think you've got to do is just wear it a size bigger and then I don't think you're going to have anything to worry about."


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