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The Hater’s Guide To The NHL’s Reverse Retro Jerseys

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It’s November. Let’s get mad!

Boston Bruins v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL, in conjunction with Adidas, has released a new line of jerseys. The ideal person to review these jerseys would be someone with an in-depth understanding of visual design, and who genuinely likes and values jerseys.

However, instead we have me. I don’t like almost anything. Let’s do this!

Anaheim Ducks

Let’s start off with something oh Jesus Christ what happened?

The Ducks have decided to have a Voltron-like Mighty Duck spring jumping off the trim of the jersey towards the wearer’s right armpit, which would be a delightful advertisement for deodorant. Perspiduck: his nemesis is your body odour. As it is this reads as if they were going for Ironic Fashion, forgetting that Ironic Fashion only works if the original clothing was designed earnestly to look like some warped perception of good. I don’t buy that anyone liked these.

Arizona Coyotes

It’s easy to rag on the gaudy maximalism of these jerseys, but you have to understand the symbolic value: the winking eye on the coyote represents the franchise’s blindness to the personal conduct of its draft picks, and the open eye represents the PR guy belatedly realizing what a mess he’s in.

Okay: the logo is actually kind of neat and I admire the bold use of purple, something more franchises need to embrace as they stop fretting about whether purple is a colour for girls. It’s almost a good jersey except for the wildly eccentric desert backdrop trimming the bottom of it. For only $300 plus shipping, you too can set yourself up for friends to point out you have an arid wasteland below the belt.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins have a strong colour scheme with their black-and-yellow combination—there’s a reason Wiz Khalifa did a song about that pairing, even if he meant it about the city of Pittsburgh—but that pairing is fraught with what I will call the Nashville Problem: if you go too heavy on the yellow, you look like a big bottle of mustard. And here we are.

Buffalo Sabres

What does this jersey have in common with the 1990s sitcom Friends? It has the core of something blandly enjoyable that is stretched out way too long. This logo remains excellent, and even if it were wasted on the inoffensive white primary backing, this would be an above-average jersey. But it keeps going through the deranged choice to put the word “Buffalo” way at the bottom and into some—yes, look close, it’s there—grey piping underneath what ought to have been a border. Art is about knowing when to quit and not making Ross and Rachel break up for the ninth time.

Calgary Flames

This is an obvious homage to the classic Pokemon Rapidash, and as such I support it.

Carolina Hurricanes

Yes, I left my ex and she was heartbroken about it, but I do occasionally wear a shirt about her, thereby annoying both her and my current partner.

Chicago Blackhawks

Attempting to resolve the issues with the Blackhawks’ logo and branding by just facing the other way is maybe a little on the nose.

Colorado Avalanche

This is the Hartford ex problem again. It’s too bad because the maroon colouring is genuinely cool and the fleur-de-lis is a very neat logo. I’d like to see some expansion on this idea when the Coyotes are relocated to Quebec in 2023.

Columbus Blue Jackets

I admire the clear messaging here. A workmanlike, hard-fighting team with an American logo, yet with bold red colouring. Congrats to Columbus for being the first NHL team to become openly communist.

Dallas Stars

What’s the point of this? Go back to your laser tag jerseys. At least those were fun.

Detroit Red Wings

God I love these. The only way this design could show more contempt for the whole exercise would be if they put a poop emoji on a jersey made of toilet paper. The Red Wings have one of the greatest logos in professional sports and someone just copy-and-pasted it onto a bland grey practice jersey that you wear when the other beer league team has the same colours as you. This is so lazy that you have to applaud the guts to actually sell it to the public.

Edmonton Oilers

This jersey is aspirational in that it’s the first time in decades the Oilers have been able to put out three lines.

Florida Panthers

I actually like these. Sorry. Let’s all just move on.

Los Angeles Kings

The Kings have again borrowed the legendary look of their neighbours, the Los Angeles Lakers, and they have a lot in common, once you—oh, no, I had the standings upside down. Good lord the Kings sucked last year. I hope Quinton Byfield has a de-aging potion for Kopitar and a Remember To Give A Shit potion for Drew Doughty.

Minnesota Wild

We get ever closer to understanding what a “wild” is, and the bright contrast on this jersey makes it clear that it is a small bear with trees growing in its brain. All hail Treebrain.

Montreal Canadiens

I tried to review this jersey but it started doing a 45-minute ceremony honouring someone who played 4C for the Habs in the 50s.

Nashville Predators

Is this not just what the Predators already wear? Also, I like that the model has camo pants. I’m gonna blend into the Tennessee countryside looking like a big splotchy sabretooth tiger.

New Jersey Devils

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas/Toys in every store/But the prettiest sight to see/is the Devils who will be/in the bottom four

New York Islanders

It’s fine? Blue and orange are complementary colours, etc. It’s simple. It works. This one actually looks pretty big and cozy, too. You could probably wear it as pajamas or someth—

[ominous whining in distance]

Quick, let’s move on.

New York Rangers

I like the intensity of the glare on the logo. Lady Liberty is gonna beat your ass. Especially if you point out the Rangers were a bottom-three defensive team that only made the semi-playoffs because Artemi Panarin scored three points a game. Whatevs!

Ottawa Senators

This is a jersey with a truly alarming amount of red on it, so I assume the Sens got the inspiration from their own financial statements. Anyway, at least they’re not bringing back those weird Thing Zero jerseys. Those were awful.

Philadelphia Flyers

I’m not saying anything bad about Philadelphia for two reasons: they just helped save the world from Donald Trump, and I’m pretty sure if I do their lieutenant governor is going to injure me.

Pittsburgh Penguins

This appears to be a specific tribute to that one year in the 1990s where the NHL video game franchise didn’t have rights to any logos or team names. I’m pretty sure I could rip off this jersey and they wouldn’t even be able to sue for copyright. What would they have rights over? Letters?

San Jose Sharks

SHORKS

St. Louis Blues

Whoa, hot diggity! What do we have here? In a line of jerseys that played it mostly insultingly safe, the Blues went against type and made a jersey in which the major colour was the opposite of blue. Did it work? No! But they did it, and I respect that.

Tampa Bay Lightning

This one actually feels retro, because no modern franchise or really person with eyes would put the city name in that italicized faux-cursive and then the team name in block caps. I actually wish this one had been more garish; we could have got something that was so fucking 90s it played Pearl Jam when you took it out of the box, but I guess we can’t have everything in life.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs have the same problem with every single third jersey they’ve ever done, which is that they’re even less necessary than all other third jerseys, which are not necessary at all. There’s just not that much to do given the logo and the colour scheme have been fairly similar for decades (and stop crying about the Ballard Leaf, already. Christ. It’s fine.) Anyway, this one is boring and the logo is amusingly big, but I don’t mind it as much as most. The only other thing is: was this the best fit they could get for the shoot? Our model looks like she’s wearing a poncho.

Vancouver Canucks

This is a fine enough Canucks jersey—vaguely oceanic, nice mix of green and blue, the orca seems like it’s growling at you about a 4:00 PM local start time—but the Canucks are one of the few teams to have a totally, radically different colour scheme in their not-that-distant history. It was black and orange and yellow, and it involved a weird skate-ish logo that resembled a frying pan, and it was absolutely awesome. I have to dock points for any missed opportunity to bring that back.

Vegas Golden Knights

I’m of two minds about this. I actually think this is a neat logo and colour scheme, and the Knights obviously had to borrow some other history in order to do anything retro since they came into existence in 2017. I might even consider it the best one of the lot, except when I look at it I am inevitably reminded of the Greendale Community College flag, which as you may know, is meant to represent an anus. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Washington Capitals

Winnipeg Jets

A lot of this wave of jerseys is heavy on grey and I really don’t know why. The original Jets had multiple really cool jerseys, including some of the few actually exciting white jerseys in the NHL, and yet we get this unpleasant concoction to back the logo here. It looks like when a kid mixes all the colours in a paint set together in the hope it’ll be an awesome rainbow, and instead you get a boring grey. A bit like the Jets the last few years, really.

In Conclusion

Buy a Jokerit jersey.

Poll

Which of these is the best?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Minnesota
    (91 votes)
  • 16%
    Florida
    (75 votes)
  • 22%
    Los Angeles
    (104 votes)
  • 4%
    Tampa Bay
    (21 votes)
  • 11%
    St. Louis
    (53 votes)
  • 25%
    Something else (please include your incorrect opinion in the comments)
    (119 votes)
463 votes total Vote Now