Boston Bruins: Power Ranking the Franchise's Alternate Uniforms
With the help of a relatively recent ad campaign, among other promotional material, the Boston Bruins have permanently answered the question as to what their nickname means before the zoologically illiterate can even ask.
In the nearly two decades since third jerseys became a stable trend in the NHL, the team known informally as the “Bs” or the “Spoked-Bs” (for good reasons) has had a chance to flaunt its animal emblem a little more prominently.
On other occasions, the team that is also informally known as the “Black and Gold” has kept the “B” on the chest but still shaken up the distribution of the colors in question.
In recent memory, from the dusk of the old Garden onward, the Bruins have worn three versions of their primary home and road sweaters. In addition, they have variously utilized five alternate designs for at least one season apiece.
One, shall we say, gave the impression of a soft commitment, while another one fittingly matches the franchise’s recent renaissance and introduction of the aforementioned “bear spokesman.” In the following ranking, the former goes where the team sometimes went in the Northeast Division while skating in that jersey, while the latter goes where the team has gone three times in its first four years of usage.
The others, which follow the regular uniforms in the act of justifying the “Bs” reference, are plainly in the middle.
Jim Carey was about as big a bust to the Bruins as this jersey. Incomprehensibly, the jersey lasted about a decade longer.
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The color scheme is not very problematic, although the gold is a tad light-looking.
With that in mind, the make-or-break factor is the logo. Naturally, it breaks―no, shatters―the appearance of this jersey.
The big brown bear head is the shoulder logo that the Bruins wore on their primary jerseys from the inception of the FleetCenter through the start of the Claude Julien era.
It was a clear downgrade from the yellowish shoulder logo from the preceding era during the dying days of the Boston Garden. At least that bear showed some teeth.
If anything could make Charles F. Adams and Art Ross turn over in their graves, that crest would be it. The two men christened Boston’s NHL entry the “Bruins” out of a desire to represent “an untamed animal displaying speed, agility, power & cunning,” but this logo looked nothing but tame.
By sheer, but perhaps fitting, coincidence, the Bruins missed the playoffs four times in 10 tries (discounting the 2004-05 lockout) when they wore these jerseys.
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Worn on occasion during the NHL’s 75th anniversary season, this jersey likewise packs a crisp color distribution but could do better with the emblem.
The solitary “B,” i.e., the non-spoked version, was worn during the 1930s and 1940s before the more distinctive logo was created for the franchise’s 25th anniversary in 1948-49.
But if the Bruins wanted to replicate a jersey from their earlier years, they should have gone with something more along the lines of what they wore for their first championship in 1929. That is, at least as far as the logo is concerned.
3. 2010 (Winter Classic)
Cam Neely was instrumental in designing this jersey, which was right for the occasion and acknowledged as much of the franchise’s history as it could. For the most part, it is the fraternal twin of a uniform the team wore late in the NHL’s “golden era.”
Fans following the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence have also seen the likes of this before. The distribution of colors is similar to the alternate sweater that the P-Bruins started to wear semi-regularly six-plus years ago and was essentially their home jersey last year.
For Boston and Providence alike, this is not a bad look, but still not the best one ever conceived.
Essentially a throwback to the 1960s and 1970s, this jersey served as the Bruins’ thirds in the final season before the NHL introduced its redesigned RBK Edge. It was an overwhelmingly refreshing change from its immediate predecessor, which landed in the cellar of this list.
If there is anything worth remembering from the 2006-07 season, this short-lived uniform would easily join the slim company of Patrice Bergeron’s 70 points, Marc Savard’s 74 assists and Phil Kessel’s comeback from cancer.
In terms of expectations and delivery, Tim Thomas was the anti-Carey. The same can be said of their respective third jerseys.
Going back to the bottom, this represents all of the rights in direct opposition to everything that went wrong in the days of the derided, yellow-gold “teddy bear” thirds.
Introduced in Julien’s second season behind the bench, the Bruins first sported these amidst a surge to first place in the Eastern Conference and the franchise’s first playoff series victory in a decade. Their third year of usage happened to be a regular season that morphed into a championship playoff run in 2010-11.
But regardless of the success you might associate with it, the body and crest of this uniform would be much more to the liking of the franchise’s founding fathers. It offers a momentary respite from the usual black and gold shoulder caps on top of the primary road and home sweaters and uses the Spoked-B as the shoulder logo.
Most critically, the prowling, scowling bear on the front may not be in blatant attack mode, but it doesn’t exactly look like it plans on acting “tame.” In fact, it appears to have some “cunning” strategies churning in its head, and it seems ready to start flexing its “power” with a generous amount of “speed” and “agility.”