What We Learned: Ugly hockey jerseys and you, a fan's guide

Hello, this is a feature that aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.

Earlier this week, Adrian Dater had a list of the five worst jerseys in NHL history and it was largely acceptable, even while discounting third jerseys for obvious reasons. Then I saw UniWatch's Flikr account on Digg last night that detailed some truly hideous minor league jerseys (that Batman one is surreal on a number of levels), and it got me thinking: Can you really call yourself a hockey fan if you don't own at least one jersey that is a nightmare for frozen fashionistas?

In hockey, more than any other athletic pursuit, the ugly jersey seems to have found a strong foothold in not only the sport, but the culture that surrounds it.

It's unlikely that an NBA blog would have a feature as popular and deep as Greg's amazing collection of Jersey Fouls. Baseball had its heyday in the 1980s, when all-powder blue everything and a hideous golden hue washed over parts of the National League. Football's never really had its ugly jersey high tide (the NFL just isn't that fun), although the middle part of this decade provided us with Patriots silver and Dolphins orange. Just forget about the NBA.

So how do you know you own a properly ugly jersey, outside getting your own name and some silly number put on the back? Let's find out together!

(Coming Up: What makes a terrible sweater; ESPN has Atlanta's problems solved; one kid that's really pumped about Marian Hossa; more than you ever wanted to know about Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers; and the Maple Leafs blogosphere brings its A game.)


1. There are excessive stripes.

Main offenders: Calgary (2007-present), Florida (2003-2006), the Rangers (1978-present)

Even if you fold it in half first, counting individual stripes on the current Flames jerseys, will give you nine. Which is far too many. Teams don't get suckered into doing something like this too often, but when they do, the results are typically not pretty. Some would argue that the Rangers' jersey is "classic," but all those stripes went out with the Montreal Maroons, I'm afraid.

And in that same vein...

2. There are vertical, diagonal, or just plain off the wall stripes.

Main offenders: Hamilton Tigers (1920-21), Dallas (1997-2006), the Islanders (1995-98)

What possesses a team to say, "Hey, every team in hockey has horizontal stripes, let's do something different" for absolutely no reason whatsoever? Obviously the Islanders' Fishstick logo (and I'll get to that soon) is the focal point of great derision, and rightly so; but I think the wave stripes, much like Dallas' star-shaped stripes just look ridiculous.

3. It's like they let a child pick the team's colors from a crayon box.

Main offenders: Atlanta (2008-present), Anaheim's Mighty Ducks days (1993-2006), Nashville (2001-2007), California (1974-76)

Atlanta's jersey is the perfect representation of everything you shouldn't do with team colors: the so-called "Blueland" blue, navy blue, some kind of strange maroon, gold and white. These are not colors that should be used together in sports. I'm sorry, they just aren't. Pick like three colors, all of which need to be within the realms of sanity and reason, and go with them.

4. Overt cartoonishness.

Main offenders: the Islanders (1995-97), Buffalo (1996-2006), San Jose (2007-present)

Here's the spot to cry about the unmitigated horror that is the Gorton's jersey. Everyone agrees it's completely silly, but it is truly a mark of a real fan if you actually own one. More bonus points than you can handle if it has Todd Bertuzzi's name on the back.

5. It could be the result of an acid freakout.

Main offenders: Phoenix (1996-2003)

This is the craziest jersey of all time, and there's not even a close second. Mid-90s insanity at its best right here. Speaking of...

6. It's from the mid-90s.

Main offenders: Pretty much everyone.

Never has such an awesome collection of hideous colors and designs converged into a horrible pile-up in a four-year span. These troubled times even spawned the thankfully-abandoned Blues third jersey from 1996.

7. There's a whole bunch of crazy crap on there.

Main offenders: Washington (1974-95), Carolina (1997-present), Atlanta (1999-2003)

What inspired the original Capitals owners to put a whole bunch of white and blue stars on there haphazardly? Why put the little hurricane warning flag symbol at the bottom of a Hurricanes jersey (apart from the stunningly obvious, I mean)? It's not the wall of a TGI Friday's, it's a hockey jersey. Let's act accordingly.

8. Reebok piping

Main offenders: More than half the league, that's for sure. 
It's just so superfluous and unnecessary, and it always detracts from the overall quality of what would otherwise be a perfectly good jersey. The problem is also alarmingly widespread.

9. It's an All-Star jersey

Main offenders: Every year but 2004.

I'm sorry, orange and black, which reigned from the ‘70s to the 90s, is only appropriate for Halloween. After that, the jerseys fell victim to many of the above issues: diagonal stripes, Reebok piping, crazy colors, and so forth. The worst, though, are 2000-01's North America vs. the World monstrosities, which are so hideous on so many levels that I'm pretty sure it set the inventor of the hockey jersey spinning in his grave for a month.

10. It's a third (or worse: fourth!) jersey.

Main offenders: Everyone except Detroit, Montreal, and New Jersey.

There have been over 50 third or fourth jerseys in the NHL since the mid-90s, and all but probably eight of them have just been objectively terrible. The Duck crashing through the ice makes the viewer instead wish he had a pencil crashing through his retina, the giant Bruin head was clearly an attempt to be a helpful piece of outdoor wear for hunters simultaneously designed to confuse bears, and the Lightning third from 1996-99 makes me wonder what we as a race have done to deserve having such an atrocity visited upon us.

You're guaranteed some weird colors, you'll probably get an odd take on a logo, and you're almost certain to find a hilarious name/number combo from when, in your foolhardy youth, you thought some mid-level prospect was going to become the next Gretzky. Think Jean-Yves Roy and weep.

So if you go through your closet and can't find one jersey that matches any of the above descriptions, stop pretending to be a hockey fan.

What We Learned SVE

Because it's summer and hockey is a sport typically played on ice and toward which the media is traditionally apathetic, there's not a ton of actual news on every team floating around out there (shocking I know!). So here's a shortened version of WWL, where if I couldn't find a decent story within three blogs or news sites, I stopped looking. I'm on vacation too, dammit. Be warned: there's nothing going on.

Atlanta Thrashers: ESPN, never one to be anything less than incisive with its hockey coverage, has finally nailed down Atlanta's needs. Says the tease on Insider: "Atlanta needs someone to step up, help Ilya Kovalchuk." Quick! Get Don Waddell on the phone, we can get his team to the playoffs yet!

Boston Bruins: News came out just before the weekend began in earnest that the Bruins had traded Aaron Ward to Carolina for Patrick Eaves, whom they promptly bought out of his contract, and a fourth-round pick. "Surely," tittered the hockey world at large, "this is to clear cap space for the Phil Kessel contract." Then the Bruins went out and signed Derek Morris and everyone was like, "Boy that's a good, affordable alternative to Wardo."  And THEN it came out that D-Mo would make $3.3 million dollars, an increase of $800,000 over Ward's contract. And now Peter Chiarelli is apparently now done dealing. What?

Calgary Flames: Wonderful article by the wonderful Eric Francis in yesterday's Calgary Sun about Brent Sutter's true passion: farming. Maintaining his idyllic ranch in Red Deer seems to afford him a certain peace that he, for some reason, couldn't find in beautiful Paterson, New Jersey.

Carolina Hurricanes: Speaking of the Aaron Ward trade, Carolina fans are of course doing self-congratulatory back-flips over it. They get an aging if not solid stay-at-home defenseman for basically nothing, even if that does mean they have to jettison Denis Seidenberg (no big loss) and Anton Babchuk (it's not like they needed his 16 goals last year, hey?). Shockingly, there's now nary a mention from the chuckleheads at Canes Country of what a faker Ward is regarding that feared-broken orbital bone thanks to Scott Walker's sucker punch. He is once again a badass in their eyes, and thank goodness for that.

Chicago Blackhawks: Somewhat questionable: signing a 30-year-old to a rich 12-year contract (counterpoint: HOSSAAAAAAA!). Pretty clearly a bad decision: not giving him a physical beforehand. Yeah, Hossa had surgery and is out until like December so that's a pretty big loss. Certifiably insane: The notion that, sans Hossa, the Blackhawks "are more than equipped to deal with his absence." Yeah, okay.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Adam Portzline, with an assist from Scott Howson, finds the crap economy is hurting low-level NHLers the most, but everyone is affected.

Dallas Stars: Defending Big D has a pretty decent look at the new (and imaginatively named) Texas Stars AHL team. Hey, it's former first-round Brent Krahn!

Detroit Red Wings: Funnily, the Red Wings base their success on the late-80s, early-90s Kamloops Blazers' player development model. Ken Holland apparently finds it awfully easy to ignore that the Blazers haven't won a playoff round since 2000.

Edmonton Oilers: And now an in-depth look at the wonder that is Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers that theorizes this is his last chance to stick with the Oil and not be a career AHLer.

Florida Panthers: Welp, they're out of the Alex Tanguay sweepstakes, so sayeth some crazy foreign newspaper.

Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne is apparently on the hot seat in Nashville, says some guy on a Web site that pretends it's a legitimate news organization but isn't, because having any starting goalie longer than two years is insane.

New Jersey Devils: Can Brian Rolston replace Brian Gionta's scoring production? Short answer: "Yes." Longer answer: "Yeah."

New York Islanders: Charles Wang is heading to Kansas City with the Isles when they play an exhibition game there this fall. No word on exactly how he's going to keep them there against their will.

New York Rangers: Chris Higgins will be appearing at a comedy show in New York City on July 30. The Rangers' current D corps is scheduled to headline.

Ottawa Senators: You've probably laughed at this already, but Down Goes Brown's list of Do's and Don'ts for the Jason Spezza wedding this weekend was an absolute pisser.

Philadelphia Flyers: They're about to sign ex-Jacket Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. I don't know if the Flyers front office is aware that there's a salary cap, but this is getting a little silly, all things considered.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Pens prospect Alex Velischek is going to be on the receiving end of some strongly-worded blog posts and PD comments for this little jab: "I took the Penguins because [Marc-Andre] Fleury's a better goalie than [Detroit's Chris] Osgood. That was my thought process." MORE LIKE NO-THOUGHT PROCESS, RIGHT DETROIT FANS?

San Jose Sharks: David Pollak has a gander at the Sharks' current potential lineup, but does not account for the fact that like half these guys are getting traded and replaced with their non-union Mexican equivalent to save cap space. Senor Jose Thorntono will be a strong addition to the top line, just you wait.

St. Louis Blues: Eric Brewer is just the latest Blues defenseman whose status for the start of the season is uncertain at best.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Will the new contract finally motivate this Tampa defeseman? Smaby, Smaby not. (Boo.)

Toronto Maple Leafs: Lots of good blogging (or, as I just typed on three failed attempts: "blooging") from Leafdom this weekend, so maybe you missed the Toronto Media Blame Game flowchart from Bitter Leafs Fan. Now is the perfect chance to correct your ghastly mistake.

Vancouver Canucks: Is Mason Raymond really poised for a breakout season? I dunno, he got mentioned on "How I Met Your Mother" once, so that's gotta be a career pinnacle.

Took the week off: The Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Phoenix Coyotes, and Washington Capitals

Thing of the Week

I finally got around to picking up the newest Levon Helm album this week (I think it came out at the end of June) and it's really, really good.

Perfect HFBoards trade proposal of the week

A general rule of thumb when it comes to HFBoards trade proposals is that if it's a three-way deal, it's ALWAYS going to be terrible. And such is the case with this latest [sic]'ed-up volley from user "Tookey98," involving the Islanders, Kings and Bruins:

NYI- Stoll

LA- Kessal

BOS- Oscor Moller, LA 1st, NYI 2nd

A winner every time!



The Two-Line Pass publishes hockey awesomeness occasionally. Please do check it out. Or you can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter if you so desire.

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