Penguins model new uniforms
By Keith Barnes
Published: Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007,
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik was sweating after putting on a show for the fans Wednesday evening.
Only instead of being on the ice battering opposing forwards into the boards, he and three teammates were on stage in the food court at the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills showing off the team's newly designed Rbk Edge uniforms.
"It's really just the fit of the jersey," Orpik said. "It's a little slimmer and it will take a getting used to, but most of the feedback's been pretty good from the players across the league, so I don't think it will be a big adjustment for us."
Orpik, defenseman Ryan Whitney and forwards Ryan Malone and Maxime Talbot modeled the new design in front of more than 1,000 fans who filled the food court for a glimpse of the new sweaters, pants and socks. Though the basic color scheme and the logo remain the same, there are several minor alterations with the striping on the sleeves and removal of the art-deco Penguin logo -- a throwback from the Howard Baldwin ownership era -- from the shoulders. This season that space will be taken up by a patch commemorating the city's 250th anniversary.
In addition to the sweater itself being more tapered, the sides have been cut up along the hips to almost give the tail the look of a tailored dress shirt. But the main reason for the design change was to incorporate Reebok's PlayDry technology that is purported to allow the material to breathe more efficiently and stay drier, which should help the players skate faster without being burdened by a waterlogged uniform.
"It's tighter-fitting, which helps out a little bit, but it's not too tight where you can't move," Whitney said. "I'd like to skate in them and see how that feels and I think you'll be able to tell then."
He'll get his opportunity in the near future. The Penguins rookie camp is already under way in Kitchener, Ontario, while the veterans are set to report to main camp at the Iceoplex at Southpointe on Sept. 13.
"I came here two weeks early just to see the boys because we're such a young group and we're having so much fun together," Talbot said. "It's nice the guys are coming down and skating together and it's definitely exciting to see the thing that is building between us, the chemistry and I'm sure it's going to be a fun season."
During the hour-long presentation leading up to the unveiling, attendees were entertained by, among other things, a Penguins trivia contest and a three-minute video presentation from Reebok explaining the science behind the new design.
"Pittsburgh fans support the Penguins a lot," said Phillip Aggazio, 20, of Allison Park. "It's nice to come out and see all the Penguins and fans."
Having such a throng just to see the new uniforms was certainly appreciated by the players who were sweating profusely while wearing full pads under hot spotlights for the latter part of the presentation. The players also indulged the fans in an impromptu question-and-answer session before signing autographs and heading to a side room to change.
"There's so many people here who wanted to see the new jersey and it was nice to see the fans coming down here and taking part," Talbot said. "Reebok did a good job and spent years studying what was the need of changing the image of the NHL. It's leaner (like) if you look at a baseball or football player. I think they were trying to bring more ladies to the game."
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