The NHL and Adidas released new jerseys for every team Monday, which was exciting for two reasons: It gave hockey fans something to kick around in the depths of the strangest offseason ever, and it reminded us that, eventually, we’ll get to see players wear them in games.
The assignment here for the teams, working in conjunction with Adidas, was to come up with a “reverse retro” jersey, to be worn a handful of times each season. Some clubs took that literally — such as the Blues, Ducks, and Bruins, who took old jerseys and switched up the colors.
Other teams melded eras. Some teams brought back a look from a city they used to play in. Then there’s whatever the Red Wings were trying to accomplish.
An instant critique of each new sweater:
Super Wild Wing! Reminds us of Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya ripping it up on the Pond. A very unusual font. However, the reversing of the colors creates this odd detail: Instead of blasting his way out of frozen (white) ice, the mascot is … emerging from the (teal) ocean, with a few ice cubes around him. Let’s not think about this too deeply (spoiler: we are going to be thinking about this too deeply).
Better than the Coyotes' original third jersey, which had a green desert sky with a kachina head and cacti and mesas and such. This time, the sky is nighttime purple. A winner on every front, right down to the gecko shoulder patch and the community color unity with the purple-and-orange NBA Suns.
Very yellow, and not in a Pooh Bear kind of way. It’s just a straight color swap of the unis the Bruins wore in the final 20 seasons of the Old Garden, complete with the simple, non-serifed Spoked-B crest and frazzled-looking bear on the shoulder. Recalls the black-and-white TV days of the ’50s, when the Bruins wore uncomplicated yellow jerseys at home.
Overall? A significant upgrade over any of the alternate jerseys the Bruins have had, and probably will look very good on the ice.
Sharp logo (yeah, yeah) and colors that make it clear you’re watching the Sabres. Take away the “BUFFALO” on the waist and it’s better. Given their history of alternate unis, pretty good.
Not looking a gift horse in the mouth here, the Flames took the opportunity to bring back Blasty, their fire-breathing mascot from the original third-jersey days (the mid-'90s trend that gave us Wild Wing, Pooh Bear, the LA Burger King, and Lady Liberty on a formerly bland batch of NHL sweaters). It’s black. It’s aggressive. A proper third jersey for a club that went red-and-yellow retro with its home and away sweaters.
Do fans in Connecticut feel a knife twisting every time the Whalercanes wear these? Poor Pucky the Whale, being held hostage on the shoulder …
Conventional retro from the Black Hawks-turned-Blackhawks. Not much excitement here.
Allez les … Avs? They took the old Nordiques sweaters and made them burgundy and blue, complete with the igloo, stick, and puck. They look great, but it’s jarring to see that crest in the Rockies.
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
The original CBJ unis, featuring red (and sadly, no lime green). Looks like a Capitals throwback.
Went much more conventional after unveiling that neon green blowout a few weeks ago. Squint and it’s hard to see the silver-on-white details, but the star-striped body is a welcome return. Hard to think “Stars” and “silver” at this moment and not think “second place, 2020 Stanley Cup.”
DETROIT RED WINGS
This is a practice jersey. Know what would have been cool? A new crest, featuring an angry red octopus, as a nod to one of the unique traditions in sports.
Orange-forward rendition of their old/new look. Edmonton: Where the ’80s will never die.
I love this. Just a well-balanced look. The colors are modern and the look is ’90s-retro without being garish. The original, realistic Panther and the stick-and-palm-tree shoulder patch are a killer combo.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Resisted the “Burger King” temptation and used the old Laker/Kings colors on the Gretzky-era jerseys. A fine effort.
Bang. Green, yellow, and white, recalling the North Stars without an explicit mention of the franchise that now plays in Dallas. The recolored, simplified “Wild Bear” crest pops.
The Canadiens' adidas #ReverseRetro jersey is inspired by the color that marked the team's first sweater in 1909.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) November 16, 2020
The design is a take on the one worn from 1974 to 2007 – a period during which the club won six Stanley Cups.
👕 https://t.co/8S9a50Hzvv#GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/8gW0mQcnt1
Traditionalists look away: It’s the iconic Habs sweaters, but in blue. A winner to these eyes. The red stripe around the chest makes it unmistakably Canadien.
Their expansion jerseys were too shimmery and silvery, and the logo had too much going on. The most recent ones are too simple. These are just right. This is how the Predators should look all the time.
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
Just in time for Black Friday, it’s the Christmas-colored Devils. In a very literal reversing of the retro, green is featured. Like any Devils jersey, it’s just fine.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS
What? No fisherman? I award them no points. Boo these people.
NEW YORK RANGERS
A Jagr salute for bringing back Lady Liberty, but a pretty bland jersey overall. Might have jazzed it up by keeping the red on the lower half of the sleeves.
In case you missed it, the Senators went back to their original uniforms. This red edition will fit in nicely with the black-and-white offerings.
Intimidating-looking version of the Legion of Doom sweaters, with more black on the sleeves. Looks like the Flyers.
In the same vein, an igloo-white take on the diagonal “PITTSBURGH” unis of the ’90s. Unfortunately, the old Robo-Penguin was replaced by the new skating penguin on the shoulders.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
That turn-of-the-millennium striping and expansion-era logo on a gray jersey. Something about this feels off. Maybe it’s that Joe Thornton won’t get to wear it alongside his buddy Patrick Marleau.
ST. LOUIS BLUES
The ’90s jerseys, but flipped-turned-upside-down. Weird look for a team called the Blues.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Just a recoloring of their original uniforms, which is a welcome return to the roots of a team that currently looks like a cross between Detroit and Toronto. They even have the old goofy “victory stripes” underneath the arms.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
An odd-looking jersey. It’s a mishmash of styles they’ve worn throughout their history, akin to how the Bruins have approached alternate jerseys in the last decade. The logo is from 1967. There’s gray here, for some reason, and the numbers are blue-on-blue, with white outlines.
A team that has changed its look more than any other in the NHL brings back the Naslund-Bertuzzi sweaters with the creeping gradient, and makes 'em green and navy. They’re different, they’re cool, they’re not the Flying Skate.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
How can a three-year-old team go retro? By winking at the local hockey history. The Golden Knights are the IHL’s Las Vegas Thunder here, featuring red and their alternate logo. Very different than their usual.
The eagle has landed, or is about to land, on these ’90s throwbacks with the Capitals' current colors. Bonus points for keeping the old font, with those strange numbers, and the US Capitol logo on the shoulder.
Maybe this dark-gray-on-navy jersey will look better on the ice, but I’m not seeing it now. In photos, it looks drearier than a Winnipeg winter.