With the revamped NHL All-Star game just around the corner, it is time to see how the jerseys the players will be wearing on January 30th match up with those of past years.
The All-Star game has gone through many phases since its inception in 1947. For example, the 1979 game pitted a team of the best NHL players against the Soviet Union in a three-game series. It wasn't until 1982 that the NHL moved to the modern day setup where the East plays the West.
With viewing numbers historically low, the NHL has changed the format of the All-Star game for 2011. Instead of an East vs. West matchup, the teams will be picked "pond hockey style" by captains Eric Staal and Nicklas Lidstrom.
This new format poses a serious problem for retailers throughout the hockey world. Besides Eric and Nick, nobody knows what color jersey their favorite all-star will be wearing. This could produce a mad scramble on January 28th to get names on the correct color jerseys.
If you are willing to try your luck and go for the early authentic jersey purchase, the best bet is that Eric drafts little brother Marc to his team.
If the NHL hopes to sell a lot of these jerseys, they better hope they are sleek enough to warrant a purchase after the All-Star weekend concludes.
Let's take a look at how the 2011 sweaters match up against some of the past greats.
Not quite sure what the NHL was thinking in terms of color scheme here. The Eastern Conference counterpart was a teal/white combination that is equally as puzzling.
However, the star incorporated into the jersey looks pretty fresh.
This is one of the few jerseys not to have the NHL crest as the dominant feature of the front. While it branches off from the traditional look, it is still nice and clean.
They stayed with this look for the next three seasons.
The 2000 version was a tribute to the All-Star jerseys of old.
The placement of the number and crests are asymmetrical and the front lacks a centerpiece.
However, the style is representative of the original All-Star sweaters and is still aesthetically pleasing in the classic sense.
Overall, this throwback is a job well done by the NHL jersey designers as it was also used in 2001
One of the smoothest looking jerseys was featured in the 2008 game in Atlanta.
The stars down the side were a great way of incorporating the All-Star aspect while not making it the dominating feature.
However, the lack of a predominant NHL crest makes this jersey only the 3rd best.
Easily the best jersey of the decade.
The Western sweater featured a green and white color scheme that matched perfectly with the red and white Eastern version.
This jersey featured the lace-up front which greatly enhanced the vintage theme.
A great style that started the current trend towards the vintage looking alternate jerseys many teams are sporting today.
The classic orange and black color scheme is unparalleled when it comes to All-Star jerseys.
The 1991 version is the end of the line for a theme that started in 1987 and gave us the coolest looking jerseys out there.
Why they ever deviated from this style is beyond me.
Reebok designers take notes for 2012.
With the NHL opting to change things up this year, this jersey fits perfectly.
The crest pays tribute to the history of the game while the stripes add a new twist that represents the changing NHL.
Overall, these jerseys have great color schemes and a fantastic look.
The question remains: can the uncertainty regarding the teams be overcome by the streamlined new look of the jerseys? NHL retailers are certainly hoping that sales will reflect the sleek look rather than the untimeliness of the team selections.