NHL Alternate Sweaters: Who Currently Has the Best Alternate in the NHL?

Alex GiobbiAnalyst INovember 4, 2011

NHL Alternate Sweaters: Who Currently Has the Best Alternate in the NHL?

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    Marketing directors say that the top-selling jerseys in sports are usually alternates; I see why.

    Alternates are jerseys that are different from a team's regular home and away jersey, for different reasons.

    Sometimes they have different logos, sometimes they have scripts and sometimes they are throwbacks.

    Throwback sweaters are popular because they harken back to an era, usually of dominance, sometimes of the early years of a club. Some throwbacks became so popular that they served as inspiration for current redesigns.

    Without further adieu, I bring you my alternate report card 

Anaheim Ducks: The Duckfoot Jersey

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    Not exactly the most original concept, I really think that this jersey should become the new home sweater, while the scripts become alternates. The orange, however, is not complimentary to the jersey at all, and just makes players resemble road hazard signs.

    Grade: A- 

Boston Bruins: I'm Hungry for Some Buffalo Wild Wings

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    I've always posted this question to my friends who are Bruins fans:

    Doesn't this logo remind you a bit of a certain popular wing place all across America?

    Needless to say, not many people think it looks remotely the same, however, I wouldn't be surprised if the Bruins got the inspiration from the logo. All in all, if not for the restaurant, I'd say this is a pretty original concept

    Grade: B

Buffalo Sabres: Classy

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    I'm not a total fan of script jerseys, however this is a heck of a lot better than Buffaslug. The color is nice, the script is okay and it looks very retro, almost like it was based of the Slapshot design a bit. The nameplates are yellow on the back, like the Philadelphia Flyers. Needless to say, it's a good jersey. 

    Grade: A

Calgary Flames: Blast from the Past

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    Our first throwback on the list looks very similar to what the Flames wore when they first came to Calgary. The lack of black outline on the jersey may look charming at first, but it eventually looks terrible after a while. Nonetheless, there are some props for authenticity.

    Grade: C+  

Carolina Hurricanes: Beware The...Flag?

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    There are several things wrong with this jersey, but I'll just go with the basics:

    First, the dumb triangle. It looks like it was put there as an afterthought. 

    Second, the full black. I know black is supposed to be menacing, but honestly, when it's done in excess, it just looks awful. 

    Third, the flag. I know that is a warning flag, but it isn't even correct. That is a tropical storm flag. Last time I checked, they were the Hurricanes, not the Tropical Storms. Ugh!

    Grade: D

Colorado Avalanche: Don't Copy the Rangers

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    Awful color. What is that anyway, teal?

    Copycat of the Rangers—pfeh.

    Basically, this should go in the trash, and the Foot logo should be made into an alternate. 

    Grade: F

Columbus Blue Jackets: Identity Overhaul

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    Looking at this jersey, it's hard to imagine that there were the Blue Jackets playing. Even though they say that said jersey is bad luck, I find it to be aesthetically appealing. The only thing I would change is the numerical font on the back, to a more old-style font. Overall, nice design. 

    Grade: A-

Dallas Stars: Yawn-Fest

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    While I do like the fact that it's a simple design, I hate the Stars' third because it looks too ordinary. Maybe the Mooterus fiasco back in the early 2000s really did the team in, but honestly, this is really boring.

    Grade: C 

Edmonton Oilers: Gulf After Hours

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    Everyone can agree that the primary Oilers sweater looks like a ripoff of Gulf. That's why this sweater is nice. 

    From what I know, oil is not orange-colored, rather it's more black. Even though Edmonton did not get that little detail in, the jerseys certainly look more modern than their current homes. 

    Grade: B+

Florida Panthers: Copycats

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    The Panthers jersey you see looks like they copied the styles of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Panther head without the body is a horrible decapitation, and the FLA alternate patch is really unoriginal. 

    Grade: D

Los Angeles Kings: Two Styles

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    Let's grade the newer alternate, which happens to be last year's primary. The older one, that really looks retro, is okay.

    It's a nice jersey, the crown is interesting, the Los Angeles on the bottom of the front of the jersey is cool, but the purple and black is awful.

    Grade: C- 

Minnesota Wild: Script at Its Finest

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    I like the Wild script third the most out of all the script thirds. It's simple, clean and looks almost like a baseball jersey. The colors may not complement it well, but still it is a modern classic. Also, if I had the choice of wearing any alternate jersey, disregarding any team affiliation, I would wear this. 

    Grade: A-

New York Islanders: Bring Back Gordon!

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    It hasn't been worn yet, but I have to agree with the general opinion that the current Islanders third is by far the worst thing that I have seen them come out with. Even Gordon's fisherman would be a better sight than this monstrosity. 

    Grade: F

New York Rangers: Classic to a Thread

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    The Rangers could wear this as a primary and it would still work. I like the muted colors, the Original Six style and the New York instead of Rangers. Overall, a solid jersey.

    Grade: A

Ottawa Senators: One from the Fans

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    A fan designed this jersey. You heard me right. A F-A-N. And it was his first time.

    For a first-timer, he did a good job. It evokes styles of Les Habs, but still, it's a great piece of work. 

    Grade: A

Phoenix Coyotes: Leaping Wolf

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    If the Arizona Diamondbacks rebranded themselves to look like the Coyotes, then they did a pretty good job. That's not to say that the Coyotes are good with this third. The leaping wolf is nice, I'll admit, but the black is nasty. Overall, it's just okay.

    Grade: B

Pittsburgh Penguins: Expansion Six

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    It looked good during the Winter Classic, but I'll admit that their old baby blue jersey is by far better. Not to say they didn't try hard. Points for the cute and anatomically correct penguin.

    Grade: B+

St. Louis Blues: Like Everyone Else

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    The thing about this jersey that makes it good is that there is an arch in the background, otherwise it looks almost like every other circle-logo alternate in the NHL.

    Grade: C+

San Jose Sharks: Just Black

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    I like the Sharks' black alternate, just not as an alternate. If anything, they should make this the primary, and change the teal to an alternate. For now, the fact that it is an alternate blocks it from becoming a good black jersey, and there aren't many good black jerseys around.

    Grade: B+

Tampa Bay Lightning: For the Last Time, They Are Not the Bolts!

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    Talk about lazy. As far as I can remember, this team was known as the Lightning. No mention of the word Bolts. Needless to say, it is a terrible jersey in terms of copying the Ranger style, and like the old Ottawa Senators third, it does not display the full name of the team. Just awful.

    Grade: F 

Toronto Maple Leafs: No News Is Good News

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    I got lazy for this one and added a photo of their primary. Needless to say, the only change in the alternate is arched lettering on the maple leaf. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but still, it's better than nothing. However, they should consider doing something different once in a while. 

    Grade: B-

Vancouver Canucks: Recapture the Past

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    The Canucks may have one of the best third jerseys in the NHL. The colors are simple, yet not primitive, the logo is essentially a giant C, with the negative space in the hockey stick representing the space, much like the Hartford Whalers H W logo. Needless to say, for the years that the Canucks did not wear this, they should be ashamed. This is by far the best third jersey in terms of simplicity and style. 

    Grade: A+

Washington Capitals: Winter Classic

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    This is also a good jersey. 

    It serves as a reminder of the old Capitals. While the old jerseys did not exactly bring good fortune to the team, they certainly were classic. 

    Washington's current logo is a take on this, and while it is not as good as the original, it still is good. 

    Grade: A

Best Alternate Quarterfinals

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    I've decided to create a mini-playoff of the best alternate jerseys, the ones that got A- to A+. The top eight alternates, as decided, are as follows: Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks and Washington Capitals.

    The matchups are as follows:

    Anaheim vs. Washington: Duckfoot vs Winter Classic

    Buffalo vs. Vancouver: Script and Logo vs. Recapture the Past

    Columbus vs. Ottawa: Identity Overhaul vs. One from the Fans

    Minnesota vs. New York Rangers: Classic Script vs. Classic to a Thread

    Winners are in bold.

Best Alternate Semifinals

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    The Semifinals are as follows. Once again, winners are in bold:

    Anaheim vs. Minnesota: Duckfoot vs. Classy Script

    Ottawa vs. Vancouver: One from the Fans vs. Recapture the Past 

Best Alternate Finals

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    And the finals are set. It's Ducks vs. Senators, or Duckfoot jersey vs. One from the Fans.

    Although this photo shows the Senators' stupid Sens jersey, we'll just ignore it. 

    And the best alternate in the NHL is...

And the Winner Is...

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    ...The Ottawa Senators! 

    This jersey is the best alternate in the NHL because it was designed by a fan. Just goes to show you that fans are more than just mindless supporters. Congratulations Ottawa, you have the best alternates in the NHL.