For the past week, ESPN’s Uni-Watch blog has been posting uniform power rankings for each of the major sports leagues. Yesterday, Paul Lukas posted his rankings for NHL uniforms. Any time a writer posts rankings, controversy is always inevitable as fans of franchises ranked lower turn to the comments section to defend their team’s honor. As the unofficial uniform nerd at Union and Blue, I thought I would write a reaction post for Paul’s power rankings and detail what I agree and disagree with. See my post Ranking the Columbus Blue Jackets Jerseys, for my credentials as a uniform nerd.
Looking at his Top 5 of Montreal, Boston, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia, the first thing I notice is the absence of one of the nicest uniforms in pro sports, the Chicago Blackhawks. Sure they’re our old Central Division rival, but if there was one thing I did like about the Hawks, it was their uniforms. On Lukas’ ranking you will find the Blackhawks ranked behind the Reebok Edge “cookie cutter” jerseys of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the ugly contrasting nameplates of the Philadelphia Flyers. There is no reason why this timeless design should not be in the Top 3.
One of the nicer surprises was that the Columbus Blue Jackets actually cracked the top 10! Lukas ranked the Blue Jackets at number 9 on his list. Even more impressive was the main logo was praised as being an example of what a modern logo should be. In the past I have seen reviews trash the Blue Jackets logo for being a “streaking American flag”, so I was happy to see that Paul Lukas understood the concept of the logo and the Ohio flag. What the Uni-Watch rankings did not like is the Jackets third jersey. While it remains a favorite with fans, the third jersey is often criticized for the use of vintage white, a roundel logo, and the interesting font choice for numbers. The ESPN post lists the font as the main detractor and links to an example of the Blue Jackets third jersey, however the site that is linked to is selling counterfeit jerseys and is a poor representation of the name font. Overall though, it is nice to see the Blue Jackets uniforms get the recognition they deserve.
Much like the Penguins, I feel the Minnesota Wild are ranked far too high on this list at 10. While they have one of the nicer logos in the NHL, their uniforms leave a lot to be desired. The home jersey started the whole faux-retro trend and minimizes the logo inside a roundel. The away jersey is the nicest of the bunch, but the Wild are going to replace it this season and we do not know what that will look like as of this post. I love the green third, but again, it does not utilize their amazing logo at all. Instead I would put the beautiful Oilers jerseys in front of them, as well as the definition of a modern classic, the New Jersey Devils.
The bottom five in the ESPN rankings are the Senators, Blues, Capitals, Avalanche, and Kings. The only two I do not think belong in the bottom five are the Capitals and Kings. The Capitals jerseys are a nice blend of their classic look and something more modern. While the Kings jerseys are somewhat boring and purple is definitely missed, I do not think they deserve to be dead last in the NHL.
With that, I offer you my NHL uniform power rankings:
1. Chicago 2. Montreal 3. Boston 4. Detroit 5. Toronto
6. New York Rangers 7. New Jersey 8. Edmonton 9. Columbus 10. Philadelphia
11. Dallas 12. New York Islanders 13. Pittsburgh 14. Phoenix 15. Winnipeg
16. Vancouver 17. Los Angeles 18. Minnesota 19. Buffalo 20. San Jose
21. Tampa Bay 22. Washington 23. Florida 24. Nashville 25. St. Louis
26. Calgary 27. Ottawa 28. Carolina 29. Anaheim 30. Colorado