The local fans in the Tampa Bay area hated it. And if they didn't outright hate it, they held reservations toward it as it was such a profound and abrupt change from what they associated with the franchise. That was what the immediate reaction on January 31st, 2011 as the Tampa Bay Lightning grandly unveiled a new brand and uniform system that employed a minimalist design concept with both the team logo and uniform.
It was a bold contrast to what the Lightning had employed since inception into the NHL; the silver circular crest with lightning strike and team-defining text as a first logo; the black, white, blue and gray utilized in the initial jersey designs (and the illegible Reporter-Two font text that appeared briefly on the backs of uniforms). There was the thunderstorm 3rd jersey (that either lives on in fans dreams or haunts them in their nightmares depending on who you talk to) that seemed a perfect example of an over-thought mess of a design.
The 2007 logo/uniform redesign for Tampa Bay was more minimalist in color use, but also transformed the key element of the logo (the lightning strike) into a cartoony caricature. There had been an adverse reaction to that one when it was launched too, but people learned to love it and initially longed it when the current logo and uniform system hit the ice in the fall of 2011.
But do you feel the same way about things two years later?
Perhaps it was Icethetics report that the Lightning were going to a new uniform in 2011-12 that prompted the Bolts organization to unveil the designs in winter of 2011 - long before the conclusion of the 2010-11 season and before more leaks could take place - or just a savvy business decision. While fans reacted adversely upon first glance of the jersey / uniform system redesign, they were exposed to the new design all over the place at Times Palace (on signs, at center ice, in team promo graphics, with some products available in the team store, etc). The saturation prepared people for the change. It helped them adapt to it.
Further saturation to the new design comes from the Bolts season ticket member promotion that provides each account with a Lightning jersey (customized as they see fit). That puts more of the Bolts new jersey into the stands, exposing the design and giving the perspective of a "blue-out" show of solidarity to those viewing games on TV.
Honestly, I can't tell you if fans have totally accepted the new duds as the identity of the Tampa Bay Lightning; I think there are plenty that still point out the design similarities between the Bolts and that of the Toronto Maple Leafs (colors) and Detroit Red Wings (overall design).
Whatever your opinion is, it would appear that what CEO Tod Leiweke, GM Steve Yzerman and owner Jeffrey Vinik set out to do - implement a classy, clean and clear mark to represent the Lightning franchise on and off the ice - has been achieved.