Hockey jerseys have evolved over the years from the basic and fundamental logo on the front of the "sweater" to gaudy and over-bedazzled atrocities similar to the one sported by a fellow named Gretzky over there.
Some guy once said that "if you look good you play good, and if you play good, they pay good." Maybe he wasn't that smart after all. Did you ever hear his rap music single? I think there is something to be said for taking some pride in the jersey you wear, which in turn can inspire your play.
There is something elegant and classy about the simplicity of a uniform. Too much can detract from the overall look. A stripe here, some trim there, a hideous fisherman that resembles a frozen food company spokesperson or a giant pooh-bear.These grievous injustices have since been stricken from the closets of Boston and the New York Islanders and replaced with more suitable duds.
An awful jersey can take a team that is geared up for battle and turn them into clowns on skates. Clowns that are really, really good at hockey. That's actually kind of terrifying. Who would want to play that team?
Fortunately for the sake of the hockey purists, the third jersey seems to be going the way of the throwback. What's old is now new again and the fans seem to appreciate it. For the franchises that want to get creative and go with something fresh, they at least seem to have the good sense to keep the design simple and classic.
Some of the teams don't have a "designated" third jersey, and I will note that in the appropriate slide(s). I have put in the most recent "alternate" jersey for the clubs that don't have a jersey that is rotated into their schedules. Enjoy now!
With a relatively brief and unimpressive history, the Columbus Blue Jackets didn't want to get left out of the merchandising derby. Their effort in the third-jersey department provides a look as to the history behind the team's name (Ohio's civil war history).
They have taken red completely out of the jersey, sticking with blue, grey and white. It is a classic look, but it might actually be too plain. Blue shirt. Cannon in a circle. Yaay.
I'm not sure when or where the Dallas Stars took a wrong turn in the uniform department, but they went from having one of the better-looking jerseys to one of the worst. It doesn't get more plain and boring than their current gear.
They don't, in fact, even have a current third jersey available at nhl.com. This jersey showed up in several Internet searches for a Dallas third jersey and though it still looks better than their regular jersey, it's not by much.
All I have to say about this kit is at least there is no "Burger King" type of logo on the front of it. I get it with the crown on the front that they are the Kings, but they already have a better jersey with a crown on the front.
In case you weren't sure which kingdom these Kings hail from, take a glance to the bottom of the front. Oh! Los Angeles! Got it.
I'm not sure why the Florida Panthers felt the need to enter another third jersey into their closet. They went with the trendy "slap our logo inside a circle" move that got popular with a few other teams at the time.
It goes against my conventional wisdom of having large mammals on the front of your jersey, but the black jersey with the leaping panther was a better option in my opinion.
Here is another example of what I consider to be a lazy design. It isn't that clever that they managed to include the St. Louis arch into the circle and Blues' logo. Hey, at least they didn't roll these out as an alternate in the 1990s.
St. Louis has a nice history and should stick with a throwback look. The current third kit looks like a rip-off of about seven other teams.
For some reason, the Edmonton Oilers tried to reinvent themselves in the 1990s and early 2000s. The classic blue and orange color scheme was replaced by a darker blue and more "modernized" jersey. They also rolled out another hideous alternate in 2001, designed by comic book icon (part owner and Edmonton native) Todd McFarlane.
The Oilers brought back the dark blue jersey as a third option, and went back to the original uniforms as their primary gear, thankfully.
The Nashville Predators seem to roll out a new third jersey every other year, and they finally seem to have found a look that doesn't look too awful. Ditching the mustard-hued jersey with their slack-jawed sabre-cat, the Predators combine a solid navy jersey with their Thundercat logo on the front.
Points deducted for the checkerboard trim hiding in the stripes. Getting better Nashville, but not there yet.
Vancouver has housed some of the worst jersey selections in hockey history, but I'll admit that I did like some of them. I'm a fan of the black, red and yellow scheme that they rocked in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The third jersey that Vancouver has now is about as bland as can be. I get the classic look of the stick/rink combo, but there are so many better options for the Canucks.
It is virtually identical to the home jersey, with the logo being switched. Yawn. C'mon Vancouver, bring back the victory suits!
I hate to have a team ranked this high with a large mammal as the prominent feature on the chest, but I am a fan of the Coyotes color scheme. Maybe it's a pity vote. At any rate, I would throw a more menacing coyote attacking a cactus on the jersey rather than the prancing dog that looks like it is fleeing the scene.
Plus, the bar was set so low with this atrocity, that anything looks better right now.
At least there isn't a fisherman on their chest anymore. That is the consensus about the Islander's "new" third jersey. While it isn't terrible, it seems like they were afraid of a full-throwback look with the excessive stripes on the sleeves.
It's better than anything the Islanders have put out recently as an alternate jersey, but there's still some room for improvement.
The Carolina Hurricanes subscribed to the "blackout" theory when they put together their third jersey. I like the logo, combined with the subtle Research Triangle background. I could do without the goofy tiles at the bottom of the jersey, though. Maybe substitute that with a live Super Doppler radar digital read, to stay with the weather theme?
Also wondering if there is any particular reason that Carolina has never thrown on the old Whaler gear? In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with a trip down that particular memory lane, at least once.
The New Jersey Devils don't have a valid third jersey but roll out the classic, festive holiday-Devils blue and green throwbacks from time to time. With a name like the Devils, there is so much potential for awesome jersey concepts. It's disappointing that they haven't done more with the logo, jersey or color scheme.
It's not a Pooh Bear, but the current Boston Bruins alternate jersey still has a bear on it. I like bears. I certainly don't wish to offend any, but I just don't think that large mammals belong on uniforms. Boston is a team with so much tradition, I happen to think they can do better. In fact, they have done better, and should bring this jersey back instead.
I love that the Sabres have gone back to their old-school kits. The blue is a darker blue than the original color, but the alternate jersey brings the riyal blue back. It's a rather plain and ordinary-looking jersey, but the classic look is nice.
I actually like the Tampa Bay third jersey more than I like their home jersey. I'm a fan of the color combination and the "Bolts" across the front. It combines a classic look with a modern color scheme and I think it looks pretty sharp. Not the best in the league but far from the worst.
After their first season in Winnipeg, the Jets wore their new uniforms without looking to the past for a third alternate sweater. Though there is not currently a third jersey option for Winnipeg, it has to be the throwback to the original Winnipeg jets, complete with the red pants.
I'm not a fan of the name "Ducks," but I happen to appreciate the team's new color scheme and departure from the Disney cartoon styled gear they rocked at their inception.
The giant webbed "D" as a crest looks pretty cool, and it goes well with the color scheme quite nicely. It almost makes you forget that the team is named after waterfowl. Almost.
The Calgary Flames have also decided to go back in time to bring back their classic jersey as an alternate. The red and yellow combination is a striking look and looks more like a "flame" than the current incarnation with the black flaming "C." Additionally, the kits they rocked in the Heritage Classic vs. Edmonton are pretty sweet as well.
The Minnesota Wild have pulled off the classic jersey look effectively. They kept the primary colors of the franchise and gave the sweater a throwback look even though the franchise has only been playing for 12 years. Nice, clean look, but I'm wondering, who has the rights to the North Stars jersey?
The Washington Capitals went full throwback for the 2011 Winter Classic when they played the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a classic look that reminded Caps fans how much they loved the original red, white and blue combination.
The Capitals have donned the throwbacks several times since and it is now listed as their official third jersey.
The Philadelphia Flyers are another team without an "official" third jersey, but their Winter Classic gear from earlier this year was fantastic. It was a great, classic look that they will hopefully incorporate into full-time use.
Like a select few other teams, Montreal doesn't have a "real" third jersey. They have rolled out a collection of throwbacks over the years, but they tend to stay true to their classic Canadiens logo and color scheme. Hopefully they'll steer clear from rocking the skating migraine look that they had rocked a few years ago.
The New York Rangers have had their fair share of alternate jerseys, but you won't see lady liberty on the crest on their "newest" third-jersey option. It's a great, crisp look with a deeper navy blue and the traditional stripes and laces.
I thought it would be fun to put Sean Avery's jersey as the picture, especially since it is the first third jersey listed on nhl.com.
There are two third jerseys listed for Ottawa on nhl.com and they are polar opposites, in my opinion. The reason I have Ottawa ranked this high is because of the striped jersey on the left side. It is a great color scheme with the big "O" crest slapped right in the middle of the stripes. Very sharp look for Ottawa, but they need to ditch the "Sens" version on the right.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are probably one of two teams that I will acknowledge made the "logo in a circle" look good on their sweater. It's a throwback look that they originally used in the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo. Their current third jersey is the dark blue version with the light blue trim and it is sharp. It combines traditional design with a modern streamlined look.
For a franchise this young to be amidst the heavyweights of tradition in hockey, there better be a good jersey. I like the original shark-eating-stick logo, but I love the newer, slightly more agitated shark on the chest and the deeper teal used to accent the black jersey.
I'll use the loophole of a shark being a fish to duck my declaration of dislike for large mammals on the jersey. It's a great-looking jersey; that's something even hockey "purists" have to agree with.
This is the jersey the Chicago Blackhawks rolled out for the 2009 Winter Classic and then held on to as their third jersey. The design is fairly simple and it totally works with the throwback logo on the front. Great color scheme and classic design.
The Detroit Red Wings have been one of the few teams to avoid tinkering with their classic, simple jersey design. The Winter Classic of 2009 saw the team roll out these classic kits, which are a tribute to the Detroit Cougars of the 1920s. It's one of the best jerseys I've seen.
This isn't an official third jersey by Detroit, but it absolutely should be.
Begrudgingly, I'll concede the top spot to Toronto. I was really looking forward to the Winter Classic to see what the Leafs and Red Wings would come up with in the uniform department. The Leafs' current third jersey is a straight throwback to the classic Toronto jersey.
The more detailed leaf crest with the name inside it seems redundant, but it works. Classic, and simple, but still the best.