Welcome to The Vault, the weekly blog post that takes a look back at some of the best (and worst) jerseys throughout sports history. Because of the NHL Playoffs starting this week, TFTB’s own Johnny Violence helped compile this edition of the Vault to take a look at some of the legendary playoff sweaters of the NHL.
All submissions are welcome by messaging @tftb_smalls on IG.
Boston Bruins C Joe Thornton
Our first selection in this week’s Vault is a sweater that belonged to Jumbo Joe Thornton while he was still a Boston Bruin. Thornton was drafted first overall by the Bruins in 1997 and remained in Boston for the next seven seasons. He became team captain before the start of the 2002-03 season, and in the second year of his captaincy, he recorded his first career 100-point season. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks in the 2005-06 season, where he still plays today. While Jumbo Joe is no longer on the Bruins, he is still competing for the Stanley Cup this year on a very talented Sharks team and is a lock for the Hall of Fame. The Bruins are also in the playoffs this year and are squared up against the Maple Leafs in the first round. These yellow Bruins jerseys are absolutely filthy in my (and Johnny Violence’s) opinion. I love the vintage-looking bear logo on the front that makes this sweater an absolute gem. These are still being rocked in Boston to this day, and it’s obvious why.
Dallas Stars C Mike Modano
The second selection of this week’s Playoff Edition belonged to one of the greatest American-born hockey players of all time. Mike Modano was drafted first overall by the Minnesota North Stars in 1988. After the franchise moved to Dallas in the 1993-94 season, Modano led the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 1999 and 2000. The seven-time All Star scored 46 playoff goals during his time in Dallas (in 135 playoff games). He played his last season as a professional in 2010-11 as a Detroit Red Wing before retiring. Following the 1999 Stanley Cup-winning season, the Stars decided to capitalize the boost in the franchise’s popularity by updating the jerseys and these gems were the result. I definitely prefer these colors to the team’s current colors. The Dallas Stars are another playoff team this year, and are currently facing the Nashville Predators in the first round.
Carolina Hurricanes G Cam Ward
The third entry this week belonged to a goaltender that came out of absolutely f*****g nowhere. In 2006, the Carolina Hurricanes came into the playoffs with Martin Gerber as their starting goalie. After backing into a two-win deficit against the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round, the team pulled Gerber and decided to go with the unproven Cam Ward. His performance prompted a comeback in the series, and the team never looked back. Ward’s play in net (with a .920 save percentage) inspired the Canes to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they eventually defeated the Edmonton Oilers. He became the first rookie goaltender to lead his team to a Stanley Cup title since the legendary Patrick Roy. Ward was named the team’s starting goaltender the next season, and played Carolina until this past season, when he was signed by the Chicago Blackhawks. Cam Ward’s legendary sweater from the 2005-06 Cinderella run became an instant classic. Personally, I’ve always thought the Canes’ red and black logo was one of the sleekest in the league. The hurricane flag logo on the shoulders (as well as the strip of flags on the bottom of the sweater) also make it one of the more unique jerseys in the NHL. The Hurricanes are a surprise playoff team this year and are facing the Washington Capitals in the first round.
Tampa Bay Lightning LW Dave Andreychuk
The next selection for this week’s Vault belonged to the wiley captain of the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning, Dave Andreychuk. Andreychuk was drafted in 1982 by the Buffalo Sabres, and went on to play for the Maple Leafs, Devils, Bruins, Avalanche, and Lightning. His 2003-04 Lightning team was an absolute wagon, only losing one playoff game heading into the Eastern Conference Finals. Once there, they defeated the Flyers four games to three to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, where they also beat the Flames 4-3. The cast around Andreychuk was full of straight killers, including Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Cory Stillman, and Vincent Lecavlier. Their 2004 Stanley Cup win cemented their legacy in Tampa and proved that a hockey franchise can work in warmer markets. This is one of Johnny’s favorite sweaters, and it’s hard for me to disagree. The lettering and logo on the front are perfect, the the color scheme is simple but effective. Heading into the playoffs this year, the Lightning are considered to be one of the greatest regular season teams of all time behind Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. They are facing the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round.
2011 Atlanta Thrashers
The last selection of this week’s NHL edition of the Vault are absolute DISASTERS. The Thrashers moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg in 2011, where they eventually became the Jets. The 2010-2011 Thrashers were unremarkable, to be honest. They had little star power overall, at least at that time. Their roster did include names like Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien, who would eventually become studs in Winnipeg. The Thrashers went 34-36-12 (80 points) and came in 4th in the Southeast Division. With this mediocre record came perhaps some of the worst jerseys of all time. Out of their wardrobe that season, their red alternates were probably the worst. These jerseys are described as “dog s**t” by Johnny Violence and look like a goalie jersey worn by a ten-year-old soccer player with the numbers on the front and bizarre design on the arms. The logo is also beyond cheesy. Thank god we don’t have to look at these anymore. Not that we ever would, considering there’s no one in the city of Atlanta that would be caught dead wearing this. They are “ugly as sin”, as so loving described by Johnny V. Meanwhile, the team (now dubbed the Winnipeg Jets) is currently opening the playoffs this year with a series against the St. Louis Blues.
If you have any jerseys that you’d like to see on the Vault, please feel free to message @tftb_smalls on Instagram. Input is always welcome.