TAMPA — It only took minutes after warmups for the tweets to start rolling in Feb. 7 when the Lightning debuted their alternate jersey.
The black jersey was flared up the sleeves with silver specks, logos and numbers. But fans and media alike struggled to read the backs. Other than a few minor modifications in the offseason, the “Disrupt the Night” jersey remains the same for this season.
And unlike other national media, the home broadcast crew didn’t have the same readability issues seeing the new jerseys in action.
“I know the guys by body type and facially,” color analyst Brian Engblom said.
He compared tracking players in the alternate jerseys to the same process the crew has to go through getting to know the visiting team.
“We’re sensitive to that because that’s our job and you need that instant recollection to try and see a number somewhere,” Engblom said. “But it’s not as tough for me, personally, because we get to know the players downstairs and by body type.”
Getting to watch the jerseys in warmups is another advantage, Engblom added, focusing on who has similar numbers, positions and even which kind of shot — right or left — the player uses.
The Lightning will use the alternate jersey at every home weekend game this season.
“They’re beautiful jerseys, and the design comes out and it’s really cool,” Engblom said.
"Disrupt the Night” jersey dates
Saturday, Oct. 26, vs. Predators
Saturday, Nov. 16, vs. Jets
Saturday, Nov. 23, vs. Ducks
Saturday, Nov. 30, vs. Hurricanes
Saturday, Dec. 7, vs. Sharks
Saturday, Dec. 14, vs. Capitals
Saturday, Dec. 28, vs. Canadiens
Sunday, Dec. 29, vs. Red Wings
Saturday, Feb. 8, vs. Islanders
Saturday, Feb. 15, vs. Flyers
Saturday, Feb. 29, vs. Flames
Saturday, March 14, vs. Red Wings
Sunday, March 15, vs. Devils
Saturday, March 28, vs. Rangers