Behind the rumor: Is this the new Flyers third jersey?

Flyers 2012 Winter Classic jersey

Nothing propagates a bad rumor quite like the absence of any real information.

With the Penguins' third jersey unveiling now behind us, we turn to the other Pennsylvania club. The Philadelphia Flyers also have a new alternate on the way, but they've been extremely tight-lipped about it this summer. We don't even have an unveiling date at this point.

The first "official" mention of the jersey came Monday in a line at the end of a press release about game promotions:

The team will also wear a third jersey for select home games to be announced.

This lack of facts keeps the rumor mill churning. Part of what I do here at Icethetics is attempt to draw a line between the believable and the baseless when we have little to go on. And there's a big leap being made in the latest rumor.

Trouble is, this particular rumor is not a hard one to believe. The Flyers have a history of being very conservative with their branding, so it makes sense they might look to their recent history — the 2012 NHL Winter Classic — for their next sweater design.

In the last week or so, this photo of Mark Streit has been making its way around the web alongside assertions that it's a leak of the Flyers' new third. Let me say it is not a leak.

That said, Streit became a Flyer last summer and wasn't with the team for the 2012 Winter Classic. So why would he be wearing the jersey unless it was new?

Let's start with the origin of the photo. It did not come from the Flyers. And it is not new. It's the product of EQ Images from a series of photographs published in June 2013.

So what is EQ Images? From their "About Us" brief:

EQ Images was founded in 2002 as a pure sports picture agency. Since 2008, we also report on politics, economy, culture and society. We supply Swiss newspapers, magazines, electronic media, agencies, clubs, and Armed with our photos.

Naturally, Swiss media might be interested in updated photos of a Swiss NHL star joining a new team. So EQ arranged a shoot distributed the photos to their media partners.

A quick search of their website turns up the 14 photos above, all dated June 20, 2013, which alternate between the Winter Classic sweater in question and the Flyers' current road jersey — originally the 2010 Winter Classic design, in fact.

So why put Streit in a jersey he'd never wear in a game? 

Fair point there. But I have no reason to believe the Flyers ever even contemplated a new third jersey last year. (I do tend to hear about these things.) Still, just because I didn't hear about it doesn't mean it didn't happen.

But that's the big leap in logic I was talking about. Maybe the Flyers were thinking about it, but there's no foundation for such a notion. Not even an inkling of a rumor like that last summer. So that's where I have trouble.

Obviously a middle ground exists between "100% confirmations" and baseless rumors. (That's what "possible rumors" actually means.) If a rumor has a basis in reality, I'm all ears. If it just now came out of your brain, I may or may not be all that interested. Nothing personal, I just hear it a lot.

But let's say the Flyers were considering a third based on the Winter Classic jersey last summer. Why would they tell only EQ Images and no one else? Not even Reebok.

That still leaves us at the original question, wondering why Streit would be wearing that jersey in the first place. The photographer was Peter Eggimann. Perhaps he would know best. Maybe someone could track him down and ask. There could be any number of reasons. For now, it's a mystery.

Will the Flyers bring back their 2012 Winter Classic jersey as a third this season? It's very possible. Is this photo of Mark Streit proof of that? Absolutely not. They are unrelated.