2013 NHL Season Preview

After a disappointing and annoyingly long delay, the new NHL season finally commences on Saturday night. So now would be as good a time as any for the Icethetics Season Preview.

Over the summer, we talked about what a boring year 2012-13 would be for uniform changes — with almost nothing new on the docket. Turns out the higher-ups may have done this on purpose considering how close we came to not having a season at all. But here we are. Let's take a look at what little will be changing for this shortened campaign.

What's In This Season?

Our last JerseyWatch 2012 update came in late August. And what were we most excited about? The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2013 NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, of course! Those outdoor games always bring awesome new retro-inspired sweaters. But then the NHL went and canceled the whole thing.

How about the 2013 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus? Those All-Star sweaters are starting to go a bit stale after two years. Maybe we'd be treated to a brand new set? Nope. That was canceled too.

That just leaves the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are expected to bring their third jersey up to date with new shoulder patches. After introducing their new logos and uniforms last season, the club ran out of time to address the outdated features of the alternate. According to Raw Charge, the team says that will be addressed this year.

In theory, it'll look a little something like this (above). So basically, our biggest uniform change of the season will be a shoulder patch. And an existing one at that. Looks like all of us jersey geeks will actually be forced to focus on the games this season — which is good, since there will only be 48 of them.

What's Out This Season?

You want a longer list? The number of sweaters being retired effective this year is higher than it's been since the Reebok jersey massacre of 2007. Granted, it's just three, but still. Lately, NHL teams have been more interested in adding jerseys than deleting them.

  • Buffalo Sabres third jersey — It was launched to mark the franchise's 40th birthday. But after just two years, it will live on only in the history books.
  • Edmonton Oilers third jersey — This sweater has a sordid past and very few of us will be sad to see it go. Its significant lack of striping and bland color scheme made it instantly hated as a home jersey. When the Oilers came to their senses and brought back their classic colors, this became the alternate. Two years later, we say good riddance.
  • Florida Panthers third jersey — JetBlue got their money's worth, but no one else did. The Panthers were never meant to be blue and they definitely weren't meant to be powder blue. The Cats brought back the red last season and wrapped things up with this alternate.

Goodbye to these three alternate uniforms.

May we never see you on the ice again. As some misguided future throwback or otherwise.

Third Jerseys in a Shortened Season

One question I've seen a few times in going through the last week of emails has to do with how often teams will wear their alternate jerseys this season — that is, if they still have them. Typically, team's wear them 12-15 times during an 82-game season. My guess is that, with just 48 games this year, we might expect to see them 7-9 times each. Better than nothing, right?

Looking Ahead

If this lack of jersey news has you feeling down, fret not. I have a hunch this summer will be much more fruitful. We already know we're getting new stuff from Dallas and Minnesota in 2013-14. And I happen to know there will be a few surprises in store that haven't yet been reported.

Stay tuned for the first edition of NHL JerseyWatch 2013 coming this week!