- Greg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.
Aesthetics matter in hockey.
The player with the wooliest thicket of playoff beard competes with the might of King Leonidas of Sparta. The team that gets the spiffy state-of-the-art arena stands just a bit taller in its skates. I think the New York Islanders are a playoff team this season not because they have coach Barry Trotz’s goal-repellant defensive system, but because they’re going to play 41 games at UBS Arena, which has as many player-friendly amenities as Nassau Coliseum had “Danger, Asbestos, Do Not Enter” signs.
Aesthetics matter most in hockey uniforms. The New Jersey Devils didn’t start winning Stanley Cups until they stopped looking like they should be hung next to a strand of garland on a Douglas Fir. The Pittsburgh Penguins adopted their throwback alternates as their primary jerseys in the 2016-17 season and won two straight Stanley Cups. The Buffalo Sabres went back to their classic logo in 2010 and … well, every rule has its exceptions.
As proclaimed in “Hamlet,” “apparel oft proclaims the man.” That was one of the motivations for the Arizona Coyotes making the Kachina jersey their primary one, beginning this season. The Kachina logo is cool. The Coyotes … less so. I asked defenseman Jakob Chychrun if looking good meant playing good for Arizona.
“They’re better looking [uniforms]. Maybe it brings out something better in the guys, too,” he said.
They’re not the only NHL team that’s in need of a uniform refresh. We’ve targeted six sweaters that are in dire need of a makeover. Some have worn out their welcome. Some have never really been welcome.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As a check and balance on our fashion critiques, we’ve enlisted the help of an expert: Chris Smith, founder and editor of the hockey uniform news and analysis site Icethetics.com. (Which, hopefully, you’re already reading.)
Please join us as we channel our inner Miranda Priestly, curl our lip and demand a new fall collection for …
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