During the Alex Ovechkin Era, the Washington Capitals introduced nearly a dozen new jerseys, including two new styles that were released this season: a Reverse Retro sweater and a new Third Jersey. Both uniforms were popular among fans and sold very well. That intrigued us. So we flapped our wings over to The Eagle’s Nest and took the temperature of Capitals Nation.
On February 5, we asked readers to fill out a survey to find out what they liked and disliked about the different styles and what they wanted to see in future jerseys. We received 3,290 responses.
This is what we learned.
First, in the article, we’ll mention several different jersey designs. Here’s a diagram of which sweater is which to refresh your memory.
Okay, now that you’re re-familiarized, here are our takeaways and results.
The Screaming Eagle jersey is more popular than the Third Jersey and is the most popular specialty jersey of the Ovechkin Era.
Over the last six months, RMNB’s reporting of the Capitals’ Reverse Retro jersey generated big traffic. That excitement eventually translated into jersey sales as the Caps had the top-selling Reverse Retro design in the NHL and the league’s online store sold out of Alex Ovechkin authentic jerseys in minutes.
But how did that sweater compare to the Capitals’ recently released blue Third Jerseys (debuted January 26) that sold well too? And how did the Reverse Retro stack up against all other major specialty jerseys during the Ovechkin Era? We asked our readers to rate those sweaters on a scale of 1 to 5 where 5 meant Love It and 1 was Not A Fan.
In short: people love the Screaming Eagle.
|Jersey||Votes (5,4,3,2,1)||Total Points||Avg. Rating|
|2015 Winter Classic||1006-942-804-358-180||12,106||3.67|
|2011 Winter Classic||962-968-836-362-162||12,076||3.67|
|2018 Stadium Series||675-969-929-467-250||11,222||3.41|
The Capitals’ Reverse Retro design was the highest-rated alternate sweater, garnering a 3.88 average rating and finishing .27 ahead of the blue thirds, which surprisingly finished fourth. Please note: The Capitals’ two blue designs finished in the bottom two.
What we also learned was that the Screaming Eagle made readers feel strong things on both ends of the spectrum. The RR jersey received 5’s from 45 percent of Capitals fans — the most of all jerseys — but also received the most 1’s (10 percent). That small minority of haters (9 percent) drove the Reverse Retro’s average rating back down near the pack.
Drilling down even further, Capitals fans overwhelmingly desired to have the Reverse Retro jersey in their closet over the Capitals’ third. Out of the 3,290 polled, 61.6 percent either already owned or desired to buy the Reverse Retro jersey – 19 percent more than the Third Jersey.
|Jersey||Want or Already Own||Percent|
“Reverse retro is a 11/10,” one reader commented. “These should be way more heavily featured if not made the new permanent home jerseys.”
Fans prefer the current home and away jersey designs over the Screaming Eagle, but not by much.
The Capitals’ Reverse Retro jersey is so popular, KP8 Design, recently imagined what the Capitals jerseys might look like next year if the team sidelined its Capitals wordmark logo and returned to the Screaming Eagle full time.
The graphic got many of our followers excited on social media so we posed this question in our poll: Would you like to see the Screaming Eagle logo replace the Capitals wordmark on its current home and away jerseys?
Capitals fans didn’t, but the margin was closer than you might have thought.
57.7 percent of Capitals fans preferred to keep the current home and away jerseys the way they were while 42.3 percent of fans wanted the Screaming Eagle to come back full time. The close’ish vote suggests that while the current designs are well-liked, they are becoming stale. The Screaming Eagle was also perhaps a bigger hit than ownership realized when it sidelined the design in 2007.
“The primary logo is boring now, especially since it’s just a modernized version of the original logo from 1974,” one voter commented. “It’s been around for about 15 years. It’s time to do something fresh and new.”
Another fan wrote that “there are so many memories I have associated with current jerseys that I would miss them overall if they went away. Maybe a change would make sense after the Ovi Era ends?”
There is no clear consensus on what fans’ favorite Capitals logo is.
Here’s where things get wild. Usually, a sports franchise has a logo that everyone identifies with and loves more than all the others. When we polled Capitals fans on what their favorite team logo was, we ended up essentially with a three-way tie for first. The Capitals’ Screaming Eagle (28.8 percent) narrowly edged out the Weagle logo (28.5 percent) and the Capitals wordmark (27.7 percent).
The new W logo finished fourth (8 percent) while the Capitol Dome logo, which we thought had the possibility to surprise in the results, instead finished last (7 percent).
What was remarkable was that of the 1,495 comments we received, few people used the forum to criticize the overall aesthetic of the logos. It’s a possible tell that people broadly like all of the logos the Capitals are releasing.
“I really like the variety that the Capitals are wearing this year,” one reader wrote. “Also, I like the retro jerseys worn in the past couple years.”
The Weagle needs its day in the sun.
While the Screaming Eagle’s popularity was confirmed in this survey, Capitals fans also revealed themselves to be Weagle curious. 64.2 percent of people said they would like to see the Weagle as the crest of a future jersey.
The Weagle, which was first introduced in 2007 when the team rebranded back to its original red, white, and blue colors, integrates features from the Screaming Eagle and the team’s old Capitol Dome logo. The Weagle has never been more than a shoulder patch on jerseys, but it is utilized frequently on Capitals merchandise.
So why is it perpetually sidelined? The Weagle could have a design flaw. Due to the intricate design of the wings and the eagle’s face, the details get lost when looking at the jerseys from far away such as watching a game on TV or in person. When you compare the Weagle to the Capitals’ new third jersey logo, the big ‘W’ is simple and easy for the eye to pick up.
But those issues could potentially be cured with some design alterations. Caps fans certainly want to see it happen.
“The Capitals’ color scheme is great. Their jersey designs are great. Just give us the Weagle!” said one voter.
Capitals fans like rocking the red.
On June 22, 2007, the Washington Capitals rebranded themselves and moved away from the Screaming Eagle and Capitol Dome logos. Ted traded in the team’s black and bronze and white and blue home and away jerseys for patriotic colors: red, white, and blue. The Capitals played their first season in the team’s freshened-up wordmark hockey stick logo in 2007-08. Since then, Alex Ovechkin has scored 613 of his 711 career goals and the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup championship in 2018. During that time, the team seemingly turned the phrase Rock The Red from a hashtag to a rallying cry.
With the successful release of the blue thirds, we wondered if Capitals fans’ love of red was wavering. So we asked Which main color scheme do you like your Capitals jerseys to be?
80.9 percent of voters chose red — a staggering 2,640 people out of 3,264.
“The original red-white-n-blue will always be my favorite Caps jersey because I associate it with my childhood,” said one respondent.
Another fan noted, “Gotta be Rockin’ the Red! I might wear the Third Jersey out and about but at the game, it has to be red.”
Blue polled poorly (12.1 percent), which might explain why the new Third and Stadium Series jerseys had the lowest rating among all Capitals’ specialty jerseys in the Ovechkin Era.
Few people, 91 (2.8 percent) to be exact, preferred to return to black and bronze, but the ones who did were very passionate about it.
“The old marine blue, black, and bronze colors should return,” one fan wrote. “They look good and stand out from the rest of the league. Red, white, and blue are so common and overused the Caps just look like yet another team that wears it. The marine blue and bronze eagle gave them a unique and stylish look.”
The Capitals wore black and bronze from 1995-2007 when they tried to have a more aggressive presence on the ice, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Red isn’t exactly original, but Capitals fans identify with it. The NHL has nine teams — nearly a third of its franchises — that feature red as its main color.
Capitals fans most associate Alex Ovechkin in the red home jersey.
Just for fun, we asked readers which jersey they most connected with Alex Ovechkin. Think about it. Many big moments in Ovechkin’s career happened in different sweaters. Ovi was given a black Capitol Dome jersey when he was first drafted in 2004; he scored The Goal in the white Screaming Eagle jersey; he raised the Stanley Cup in the team’s white away jersey.
In the Baseball Hall of Fame, each HOF’er gets to elect which hat they wear on their bronze plaque. Well, if Hockey Hall of Fame players had to choose a specific jersey, we’d recommend Ovi pickthe team’s red home jersey.
77.2 percent of Capitals fans most associated Ovechkin in a Capitals’ red home jersey. The rest of the results were as followed:
There were not enough jerseys made for purchase. Supply < Demand.
While much has been made of how well the Washington Capitals’ two new jerseys sold this year, the franchise missed out on bigger financial windfall. One of the most striking results of our poll was just how many fans wanted to buy the Capitals’ Reverse Retro or Third Jersey but couldn’t either due to it selling out or being too expensive during the pandemic.
There is a huge desire for a Reverse Retro restock while fans are also struggling to get their hands on the new blue thirds. The W alternate sweaters will be worn by the Capitals over the next three seasons, meaning restocks there are likely.
|Jersey||Own It||Want It||Don’t Want|
Nearly half of our respondents wanted a Reverse Retro jersey but couldn’t land one. That might explain why the jerseys are selling between $300 and $400 on resell websites like eBay. The jersey is not available for direct purchase on the NHL’s online store or Fanatics.com any longer.
RMNB was told that the Reverse Retro jerseys were difficult to produce, which was further exacerbated by the global pandemic, and once they were gone, they were gone.
“Adidas [donkey-dunged] the bed with the Reverse Retro jersey release,” one voter wrote. [I’m] one of many disappointed fans I’m sure.”
Fans also have a desire for more of the Thirds. 30 percent of voters said they still wanted one.
“PLEASE MAKE MORE,” said one voter in all caps.
Fans greatly prefer authentic jerseys to replicas.
Finally, if there are going to be jersey restocks, fans heavily prefer the Adidas authentics over the Fanatics replicas. 68.8 percent of respondents said they’d rather buy an authentic jersey over a replica.
The only problem for some was the price. “I can afford Fanatics,” one voter wrote.
Fanatics’ replica jerseys are typically $50-$75 less than authentic jerseys.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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