Don't Call Them Shorts: Rating the NHL's 30 Hockey Pants
One of the more underappreciated aspects of a sports uniform is the pants hockey players wear.
Pants may not be as popular as jerseys or as noticeable as helmets and socks, but they still play an integral role in the overall look of a hockey player.
What follows is a look at all 30 NHL clubs and the pants they currently wear. What's interesting about the NHL is that 24 teams, a full 80 percent of the league, wear pants that are either black, navy blue, or blue.
The main reason for this is because dark colors are more easily representable in hockey and the darkness is relatively immune to the ice and all the water that inevitably soaks into the pants.
What you'll also see is that more NHL clubs need to liven their pants up a bit because it's never fun when 80 percent of the team's wear the same two colors.
T-30. Colorado, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Florida, Washington, Philadelphia, and Dallas
Shame on these clubs for doing absolutely nothing with their pant designs. No stripes, no patches, no wordmark...nothing.
The Avalanche, Devils, Kings, Flyers, and Stars simply wear black pants. The Panthers and Capitals wear navy blue pants.
I'm not sure how a professional hockey team can design a uniform and not put at least something on their pants to distinguish themselves from other teams.
The only thing you'll see on these teams' pants are varying manufacturer's logos or wordmarks.
23. Atlanta Thrashers
To accompany perhaps the ugliest uniforms in North American sports, the Thrashers wear a decidedly boring navy blue pant with a small logo on the right side.
Give the team credit for at least sewing their secondary hawk logo onto the pants when seven other teams can't even do that much.
22. Nashville Predators
The dullness continues as Nashville rolls out another set of navy blue pants with a team logo on the right side.
Are some of these teams allergic to stripes or any color variations?
21. New York Islanders
It's really difficult to watch a team like the Islanders in the first place.
But when they wear such gorgeous throwback uniforms with beautifully striped pants, and then wear crummy navy blue pants the rest of the time, well, it's depressing. At least there's a logo on the right side as well.
20. Boston Bruins
I expect better from the Bruins as they are the lowest-rated Original Six club on this list. With black pants and a small team logo the Boston get-up is plain dull.
This could all be fixed if they reverted back to wearing the pants from the Orr-era with a thick white stripe running down the side. That's zero Stanley Cups without that stripe, Boston fans.
19. San Jose Sharks
When the new Sharks uniforms were introduced a couple years back, I was shocked that they didn't put anything on the pants besides a secondary logo.
With black pants, it matches the team's color scheme, but it leaves a lot to be desired.
18. Toronto Maple Leafs
It's hard to argue with this Original Six team pants, but I could not rank the Leafs any higher when they only sport blue pants with the team's crest on the right.
However, give the Leafs credit for wearing a very bright and vibrant blue and not a navy blue that has become so trendy lately.
From 1934 to 1992, Toronto sported a thick white stripe on their pants. This looks nicer, why not go back to this look?
17. Carolina Hurricanes
Finally the monotony is broken with the Hurricanes pants and their black horizontal stripe at the bottom.
Add to that a logo and Carolina is the first team to really get crazy with their pant design! Still, there's far too much red in the Hurricanes uniform and the pants don't help at all.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blue Jackets wear the same design as the aforementioned Hurricanes, except with blue and red instead of red and black.
For the record, I'm not a big fan of this design but it sure beats having nothing on the pants that is noteworthy.
Columbus ranks ahead of Carolina because they have a nicer overall uniform set and color scheme.
15. Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers are the first team on the list to feature a vertical stripe which is copper-colored and runs down the sides of the pants. Edmonton also sports the team logo on the right side of the pants.
It has been announced that the Oilers will be wearing their "glory days" blue uniforms at home for the majority of games at Rexall Place, in which case, the team will be wearing quite possibly the greatest pant ever designed.
Still, they will be wearing the more dull navy blue set on the road and occasionally at home.
14. Anaheim Ducks
While the Ducks current uniform set is utterly ghastly, I find their pants to be simple and appealing. With black pants, the only defining feature is a thin, yet bold, vertical stripe running down the sides.
Perhaps the pants look so nice because the jerseys are so hideous, but they are understated and the red stripe is eye-catching.
13. Buffalo Sabres
Although the new Sabres uniforms of the past few years are generally laughed at, the team's pants are actually quite nice.
Utilizing navy blue, like so many other teams, the Sabres pants are unique in that they feature a yellow and gray vertical stripe on the side that is thick at the bottom and thins out as it reaches the waist.
With the team's logo and wordmark on the right side plus the fact that they are only one of two teams to use gray in their pants, the Sabres got this right.
No. 12 Calgary Flames
While I certainly miss the old Flames uniforms, they at least did us a favor and added something to the pants when the new Reebok Edge uniforms were introduced in 2007.
Very similar to the Sabres design, Calgary wears black pants with a white and yellow vertical stripe down the side that doesn't thin out like Buffalo's, but bends slightly in the middle. All in all, these pants are fairly decent.
No. 11 Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings haven't changed their pants in sixty years and there has been no reason to do so. While a plain red pant wouldn't necessarily ruin their uniforms, having the thick vertical white stripe adds a nice touch to the overall team look. The Maple Leafs and Bruins would be smart to follow this design pattern.
10. St. Louis Blues
The St. Louis uniforms are dangerously close to being too trendy with their heavy use of piping, but the pants are unique and definitely trend-setting.
The Blues wear navy blue pants with a yellow vertical stripe that starts on the fron the pant and winds itself up and around to the side waist area where another white stripe meets it.
It is definitely something different when the team's logo on the front is to the right of the pants stripes.
No. 9 Phoenix Coyotes
If Phoenix didn't have such a silly logo their uniforms in general would be very classy. Yet, they already sport one of the best pants in the NHL. With a wine colored red and heavy white vertical striping down the sides, the Coyotes pants look as if they were designed after the great Soviet Red Army teams of the 1960's and 70's. Now if the Coyotes could just play hockey like the Russians did back then.
No. 8 Ottawa Senators
The Senators pants are distinguishable by their two thick red and white vertical stripes running down the sides, as well as by having the team's logo on the left side of the pant front. With the added stripe, Ottawa's pants are a nice blend of old school and new school.
No. 7 Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins add a stylistic touch to their pants by having a thick gold stripe, resembling a machete in my eyes, that is trimmed with a thin white outline. While I prefer the two previous color schemes used by Pittsburgh, these colors do go well together. Although the Penguins could probably improve upon their pants, the fact is the design meshes well with their new uniforms.
No. 6 Chicago Blackhawks
Very similar to the Senators' pant design, the current Chicago pants have been the same stretching back to the mid 1950's. Adding two white stripes outside of a red vertical stripe gives the Blackhawks a very old school touch. Perhaps the best thing about their pants is that they don't ruin their glorious jerseys.
No. 5 Montreal Canadiens
The best looking teams usually keep their pants very simple and the Canadiens are no exception. Almost identical to Chicago, but with a different color scheme, Montreal is different in that they have their classic logo on their right front side.
The best thing about Montreal's pants is the color of blue which has always been very bright and brings out the vibrancy in the rest of the uniform.
No. 4 Tampa Bay Lightning
If you can successfully pull of having a giant lightning bolt on your pants then you are doing something right. How can anyone not like these pants with so much monotony these days in the NHL? Tampa Bay's color scheme is a strong one and these pants earn definite high marks.
No. 3 Vancouver Canucks
It's a blessing the Canucks decided to switch back to their original colors full-time now. One thing is for sure, this is about as close of a color scheme to the Hartford Whalers that we've seen in hockey. Overall, these pants look great and the colors are just fantastic. Now if Vancouver would just ditch that killer whale logo and adopt the hockey stick one instead, then everything will be perfect.
No. 2 Minnesota Wild
Unique primary color? Check. Unique secondary color? Check. The best pant design of the last twenty years? Affirmative. The Wild check in at number two on this list and are the only team in the NHL to wear green pants.
The addition of cream as a secondary color and main stripe on the pants surrounded by two red stripes makes these almost the best in the National Hockey League.
No. 1 New York Rangers
Well it doesn't get any better than these pants. Vertical stripes meet horizontal stripes in the most unique and classic pants the league has ever known. It is so much better that they don't wear blue pants because these red ones offset their Broadway Blues to a tee. When their crest is added to the mix on the front right, there can be no denying these are number one in the NHL.