Anyway, in honor of the end of the lockout-shortened regular season, I thought I’d tally up my year in Game Jersey Mojo. As you probably know, I chart all kinds of mojo variables for football. With a 16-game schedule, that’s not too big of an undertaking. But with an 82 game schedule, or in the case of this year, a 48 game schedule, I only track what I wear versus the game outcome. So let’s get to the results, shall we?
1) The white James Neal was my visiting team workhorse this year, which was nice because I really like this jersey. I got it late last year, where I didn't wear it often because it hadn't yet acquired enough mojo. (Pens went 1-2 when I wore it last year.)
2) Post-lockout Mario jersey from early 2000s. This was my top jersey last year, (10-2), and the mojo was still good. I love the look of this jersey, and I kind of wish they’d bring it back.
3) Mario jersey from the 1990-2 Stanley Cup years. Technically this (and the next two) jersey(s) had perfect records, but I’m lowering their standings due to a limited sample size.
4) White “Corporate Pigeon” jersey from the mid 90s through early 2000s. This used to be a Jagr jersey but I had the 68 turned into a 66, and the “O” put on when Mario bought the team. I’m aware that could be considered a “jersey foul,” but I don’t care. I love the idea.
5) “Snoop Dogg” Mario jersey, from the same era as the prior one. I only wore this on once… last night, to be specific. I didn't want to worry about crossing momentum into the playoffs, so I picked a jersey I could wear as a one-off. I actually had this on once or twice for games this season, only to find out at the last second that the Pens were wearing their blue “3rd jerseys,” and subsequently had to make a quick change.
You know, if I took the records of all my “classic” (non-current) jerseys and put them together, they went 12-2. Not bad for nostalgia…
6) Marc-Andre Fleury “Winter Classic” jersey. I wore this whenever the Penguins did. Their record was good, but I knocked it down the standings because it still had bad mojo. Sidney Crosby was wearing it when he got his jaw broken by a slap shot. There have been other Penguin injuries that occurred as well, while wearing this sweater. In fact, the Penguins were supposed to wear it one more time, but decided to retire it for good. This one won’t see the light of day again.
The Flower just became a father this week, when his wife had a baby girl they named Estelle. I was kind of hoping for a boy… a small Flower that they could name “Bud.”
7) New this year, a white Sidney Crosby jersey. When I got this one, I got rid of my black Sid jersey. (I said last year that I wanted to upgrade. It’s sad when a knockoff “authentic” is considered an improvement over a legitimate “replica.”)
8) Black Evgeni Malkin jersey. This was also new last year and went 3-0 in limited use. I expected it to be a workhorse this year, but after the Pens lost the first game where I wore it, it took 2 months before I tried it again. But by then, I had my methodology down. More on that later.
9) Black Brooks Orpik jersey. This was also new this year and the Pens lost the first time I wore it. Two months later, they won 3 in a row, so it was redeemed in my eyes. I was going to wear this one to the game last weekend, before it got postponed.
10) No jersey: 1-1 .500
This happened twice… the first was the night I had the kidney stone attack. I didn't have time (or capability) of getting a jersey on, and the Pens lost big. The other game was the day we arrived in Pittsburgh and the Pens were playing Boston in a make-up game, the one that caused my game to get postponed. I was too irritated to pack a jersey for that game, but the Pens won.
Season analysis: None of my jerseys ended up with a losing record, but I suppose I can’t take ALL the credit. The Pens only lost 12 games all year long. But after a bumpy start, where I couldn't discern any kind of pattern, I was noticed that the Pens would go on a bit of a streak, and one jersey would get me 3 wins but never a 4th. At the beginning of March, I began changing jerseys after 3 wins and the Pens promptly went on a 15-game winning streak. You’re welcome. The only time I broke the 3-game consistency was when they’d wear their blue jerseys.
Obviously, the playoffs are an entirely different animal. I’ll use the track record I've established to give me a start, but I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for any necessary adjustments. I might be hampered a bit during the first series, because I’ll be in Florida for at least a couple of games. That means I’ll be locked into whatever I pack. If all seems lost though, I might be able to borrow a jersey from my dad, or if I’m really desperate, from my mom. Not sure her Letang jersey will fit me though…