Here in DC, the design of the new uniform has been a closely guarded secret for a number of months. Just about any Caps blogger worth his/her salt has taken a run at the team trying to get a sneak peek at the jersey sometime before its scheduled debut Friday night at the team's NHL Draft Party at their new practice facility in Arlington, Va.
But in the last 24 hours, some enterprising Caps fans cracked the code on a flash animation that was posted yesterday over at the team's Web site. Here's how it works: When you right click the flash animation, click "BACK" while it's playing. It starts an endless loop of an unidentified player taking the old dark jersey off and putting on the jersey you see above in its place. Click here for that file.
As reported at the blog Caps Nut, screen shots of the new jersey were posted earlier today at the team's message boards until the team got wind of things and nuked the thread. But it was too late, as screen shots of the flash file have now made their way all over the Web.
As for any official word, Caps owner Ted Leonsis says that he "can't and won't comment". Meanwhile, another source close to the team confirmed to me that we can expect a follow-up ad later in the week.
So is it real? I report, you decide. Either way, we'll know for sure by Friday night.
UPDATE: We're getting close to confirmation here. One unidentified Caps fan who was shown some possible logos during this past season passed along the following:
That looks pretty close to one of the logos I saw ... at that time, they were also thinking about a dome logo (but who's to say it won't be on the road jersey).Interesting. Perhaps it's the road jersey that we'll see tomorrow? In any case, the fans are already discussing the pics in a new message thread and are tallying a vote.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Thanks to Ted Starkey from AOL Sports for digging up the following from nhl.com. Wow, that looks about as authentic as it can get. I think we have 100% confirmation here that this is exactly what we'll see introduced on Friday night at the Caps Draft party.
Also, Ted reminds us that it was about a year ago that something similar happened to the Buffalo Sabres when they introduced the infamous "Buffaslug" jersey. From the New York Times:
The Sabres placed a blurred photograph of a redesigned jersey on their Web site recently. The plan was for the picture to slowly come into focus before the team took the ice in its new uniforms Saturday.And in the wake of that action, the Sabres were on top of the league in merchandise sales.
But a hacker soon stole the image, enhanced it and posted it on the Web. The leaked picture showed one of the jerseys, a combination of midnight blue and maize, with silver under the arms, and a novel element -- the player's number near the right front shoulder.
The colors, meant as an approximation of the team's popular original jersey, wound up splashed in the news media again.
"In retrospect, we couldn't have done it any better," said Quinn, who insisted the Sabres were not behind the leaks. "It's been a great guerilla marketing campaign."