Did NHL14 Leak New Flames Third?

Photos from Matthew Mahoney

Video game appears to show never-before-seen jersey

Regular readers know how I feel about using video games as a legitimate source for news. It's not that EA's NHL franchise is typically inaccurate — it's not — but the frequency of errors is still a little high for my liking. (For example, they incorrectly listed the Minnesota Wild's green jersey as their home uniform this season.)

That being said, one reader stumbled upon something I'm comfortable posting here. Apparently, the Calgary Flames' new alternate sweater has been spotted in NHL14, according to Matthew Mahoney. I'll explain in a moment why I'm not immediately dismissing this. But first, another look.

Photo from Matthew Mahoney

Check out the squared off shoulder yoke. It's one of the new styles Reebok unleashed on the NHL this year. We saw it on the new road jerseys for the Wild and Hurricanes. Makes sense that one of the new thirds would feature it.

Photo from Matthew MahoneyThe crest feels a bit inspired by the Buffalo Sabres' recently retired third jersey — the royal blue one. But it's the shoulder patch that throw me a bit.

This is an artistic style outside the scope of anything we've seen from the Flames in recent years. Perhaps it shows they're moving in a new direction?

Remember five years ago?

You may recall that in September 2008, Flames president Ken King spilled to a reporter some vague details about a new third jersey in the works

He specifically mentioned working on a new shoulder patch. Could this be a remnant from that process? The jersey discussed in that report never saw the light of day as the Flames opted instead for a throwback sweater a year later.

It's very possible that this and other elements from the design developed five years ago carried through to this new look.

They kept the secret pretty well

One thing worth noting is that the Flames didn't breathe a word about a new sweater all summer. It only showed up in the JerseyWatch series because Reebok told retailers to be ready for it last January.

It then, of course, showed up "locked" in NHL14 when the game was released last month. So I have to assume that if it's showing up at this point, it's either a legitimate leak or it's fake.

These shots from Mahoney of the game are clearly photos taken of a screen as opposed to straight screen shots which could be more easily manipulated.

But given the sweater's appearance on the jersey selection screen and within the game itself, I'm comfortable saying I'm convinced it's the real deal. But you might be wondering how it appeared for Mahoney when most users are seeing a greyed-out jersey. Here's what he told me via Twitter earlier today.

If it's true, what do you think? Did the Flames make the right call by dropping the long-rumored black option? Is this a good look to add to the NHL?

Share your thoughts while we wait for something official from the Flames. My hunch is that the wait could be a while. Teams that don't release a new third jersey in the summer tend to hold off until right before Thanksgiving so as to maximize holiday sales. Think there will be a lot of these under Christmas trees in Calgary this year?