NHL Winter Classic 2012: Ranking the Best Jerseys in 'Classic' History
The NHL Winter Classic is quickly becoming one of the most cherished traditions in all of professional sports. Hockey's annual outdoor game perennially features two of the celebrated teams in the league in a big city that will attract nearly 100,000 fans.
The large venues, frigid weather, outstanding players and holiday spirit combine to create a fan-friendly atmosphere, but the true gems of the Winter Classic are the throwback jerseys and gear. Now in the fifth year of the game, every team to play has resurrected a gorgeous jersey from the past to celebrate their franchise's history.
The fun doesn't stop there. Coaches don vintage jackets, the players wear ski caps and eye black and the gear fans purchase is incredible. Between the setting and the uniforms, the Winter Classic is surely becoming an American favorite.
10. 2010 Philadelphia Flyers
The eyeblack worn by Mike Richards is another great touch to the Classic
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Although the 2010 Flyers sweater was a nice throwback to 1973-74, it just did not have the vintage look that many of the other Winter Classic jerseys portrayed. The 2010 jersey seemed eerily similar to their current jerseys, particularly due to the use of their modern fonts and nameplates.
Overall, the white jerseys looked great against the winter setting and the glistening ice, but there just seemed to be a lack of creativity on Philadelphia's part. It was frustrating as a fan to see the lack of originality from the Flyers, a storied franchise that definitely could have done better. In fact, the only thing really keeping the Flyers in this "Top 10" is that there were only 10 jerseys to pick from.
Their 2012 approach, mentioned later, is a major improvement.
9. 2010 Boston Bruins
The 2010 Boston Bruins jersey, inspired by their 1958-59 design, was a great throwback with tremendous striping, but the dominance of yellow in the uniform was sometimes a bit too much on the eyes. Unlike their 2010 counterpart Flyers, though, the classic looking 'spoked-B' definitely reminded fans of past Beantown teams.
On further examination, though, it's hard to not think of Adam Sandler's hockey-loving character Happy Gilmore. It was like five Happy's out on the ice, only missing a pair of sweatpants and Chubbs to complete the picture.
8. 2011 Washington Capitals
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The 1974-75 Washington Capitals jersey was definitely one thing: American. The classic red, white and blue color combination is always a great look, with the 2011 game being no exception (unless of course you factor in Alexander Ovechkin's yellow skate laces, which normally stand out as a fashion statement but in this game just looked ridiculous).
While the Capitals star-spangled look is definitely creative, it sometimes made the jersey look way too crowded. Unlike traditional jerseys, this busy sweater looked like a throwback, but by no means a classic.
7. 2008 Buffalo Sabres
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Like the Caps, the 2008 Buffalo Sabres utilized another one of the great color combination in sports. This was also the revival of the classic logo consisting of the crossing swords and charging buffalo, now currently used by the team.
Before the Classic, the Sabres had been trying much too hard to be modern and creative with their jerseys and forgot about their simple yet great look. Playing in their home city in the snow also added a magical touch to these jerseys, although they were downplayed by the beauties their opponents wore.
6. 2011 Pittsburgh Penguins
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This modified version of the 1967 Penguins jersey definitely provided the Winter Classic with a throwback vibe. The horizontal striping combination provided much more than a typical three or five panel pattern.
The shame of this jersey is that they changed to the circle logo instead of the original diagonal lettering (think current New York Rangers). It would have been a very cool look to see the powder blue lettering going across the navy sweater.
5. 2009 Chicago Blackhawks
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The Chicago Blackhawks, an Original Six member, channeled their historic roots to unveil this 1935-36 classic. Although unconventional striping for today's jersey standards, it is fascinating as a fan to see their loyalty to the colors the franchise began with.
Especially against their white-wearing opponent, the black looked great out on the ice. It was a perfect combination of intimidating black and impressive design. The uniform looked the best when combined with eye-black, a truly old-school look.
4. 2012 Philadelphia Flyers
Courtesy of NHL.com
Although they'll inevitably draw comparisons to skating pumpkins, this year's Flyers jersey is a huge improvement over their 2010 design. Like most Winter Classic jerseys, but unlike their 2010 model, this year's sweater has a tie in the front, a great touch when attempting to look vintage.
Despite not truly being a specific throwback in Flyers history, it has a much more classic feel because the colors themselves even seem from a different time period. It was nice to see them throw aside their vibrant orange for a little calmer, more old school shade.
The uniforms look great on mannequins and hangers, but the true test will be to see how they look on the ice January 2nd.
3. 2009 Detroit Red Wings
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The Detroit Red Wings, another Original Six team, combined with Chicago to have one of the two best looking Winter Classic's to date as both teams went with clean, very historic looks. Like Chicago, instead of multiple stripes at the bottom of the jersey, Detroit opted for one large horizontal stripe in the middle with a beautiful Old-English 'D.'
The only thing that could have made this uniform combination better was something to make the helmet look a little less plain (although it would have sacrificed historical accuracy). This revival of their 1926 sweater is the oldest ever worn in a Winter Classic.
2. 2012 New York Rangers
Courtesy of NHL.com
This 1926 design, the most recent of the Original Six uniforms to be worn in the Winter Classic, will be sported this year by the New York Rangers. In true historic fashion, the off-white jersey and vintage logo look great, and teams can never go wrong with red and blue (unless you're the Florida Panthers).
It will be interesting to see how the creamy jersey looks while on the snow-white ice, but their fellow New York sports team, the Mets, have already proven how well an off-white jersey can look even in modern times.
Unlike the Mets, though, the Rangers will look to come out of their matchup as big winners. However, despite the result, there's no denying the Rangers will look like professionals.
1. 2008 Pittsburgh Penguins
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Whoever said "first is the worst" could not be more incorrect about the uniforms worn by the Penguins in the inaugural Winter Classic. The 1970 powder blue design with the circular "skating penguin" logo is one of the best jerseys to ever touch the ice in the NHL.
The combination of white and blues created a very wintry vibe, and the snow and shootout were bonuses that give this sweater the narrow victory. Although currently retired, hopefully this sweater makes a comeback.
Maybe the beauty of this jersey can be enough to lure Sidney Crosby back on the ice long term.