Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, e-mail a photo to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in future installments.
Back in the day, I was a Derrick Coleman fan, both during his days playing ball with the Syracuse Orangemen and later when he was drafted by my NBA team of choice, the New Jersey Nets. That was before he got surly, got fat and eventually got traded to the Sixers as an insubordinate malcontent.
As a form of protest, I placed red electrical tape over the nameplate of my No. 44 Coleman Nets jersey and hand-wrote the word "Massenburg"; as in Tony Massenburg, the hard-working grunt forward who took Coleman's place and his number.
Is a protest jersey a Jersey Foul? Tough call.
There's something primal about defacing a sweater to show your discontent towards a given player or a team. Can you imagine being a Nashville Predators fan that's so upset with the defection of Alexander Radulov to the KHL that you walk around with "Traitor" on your back at the arena? That's rage we can believe in. (Thanks to Puck Daddy reader Chris S. for the image.)
But in Tampa Bay, one recent protest jersey targeted not only an opponent but the home team, too. That, plus more sweater insanity from the nation's capital, coming up.
From Puck Daddy reader "J." comes this blurry but remarkable jersey from a Tampa Bay Lightning fan:
"This fine gentleman decided to wear his opinion of the Vinny to Montreal rumors at the Habs game [last week]. He'd put this on the front of his Lecavalier jersey. There was something taped to the back, too, but I didn't get a clear shot of it."
As I said earlier: I can relate to the unparalleled fan anger that forces one to create a living billboard of resentment. Hearing that a star player signed through 2020 might be traded away to the Montreal Canadiens would be a sufficient catalyst for such a protest; one that targets the suitor as much as it targets the Tampa management that'd dare consider the deal.
I'd give it a pass; what say you?
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C.:
The hell? Dan Steinberg had the image above in the DC Sports Bog, writing:
This guy was sitting on the steps of the Portrait Gallery, across the street from the Verizon Center, when he was spotted by Bog Reader Brian H. He apparently had this Frankenstein creation specially made. And of all the members of the Redskins, the one who most screams "hockey player" is undoubtedly Antwaan Randle El. Here's hoping the Caps half of this was once an Eric Fehr jersey.
In a strange way, this completely validates the arrival of the Capitals as, perhaps, the second most-popular team in DC besides the religion that is the Redskins.
It's also one of the single ugliest mash-ups of sports apparel we've ever seen; an oil and water patchwork of colors and styles that makes the majority of Don Cherry's sports coats look homogenous by comparison. Even freezing homeless dudes near Verizon Center look at this thing and are like, "Thanks, but I'll just use this copy of 'The Onion' as a blanket tonight ..."
Speaking of DC:
"I'm sure Don Cherry thinks OV is Canadian because he's 1) good & 2) willing to go into corners and deliver a big hit, but this is a big foul."
Not as big a foul as our Alexei Yashin Team Italy sweater ... but a big foul nonetheless.
Finally, from Puck Daddy commenting favorite Blackcapricorn:
Before you ask, the answer is yes: This was in fact the jersey Mark Messier was going to wear with the Vancouver Canucks if No. 11 wasn't available in 1997.
- Derrick Coleman