Collector's Corner: That Doesn't Look Right!?
This edition of the Collector's Corner was written by Dave McCormick
One of the more fun aspects of collecting jerseys is adding those that may have been rarely worn, special occasion, or somewhat “off-kilter” designs (I’m pointing at you, Dallas Stars Mooterus!). These otherwise “oddball” jerseys can really get a conversation going about your collection. Other unique jerseys are those of players on teams that they actually happened to play with but, otherwise, really don’t look right; especially when thinking back on their careers of where they made their biggest impressions on fans.
Many players are synonymous with particular teams even though they may have played with others in their careers. For many of us who grew up in the 80s watching hockey the best example of this may be Wayne Gretzky. He is still, at least in many of our minds, synonymous with the Edmonton Oilers. To see him wearing LA Kings, NY Rangers or even those St. Louis Blues colours (though the latter was only for 18 games) still doesn’t look right compared my hockey memories of him wearing Oilers’ blue and orange. This is despite the fact he actually played more seasons outside of Edmonton than with the Oilers.
Out here on the west coast of Canada Trevor Linden will always be known as “Captain Canuck.” No other player gave more blood, sweat or tears for that organization than him. Yet, while Mike Keenan’s trading him to the New York Islanders will forever be a day that lives in infamy many of us need to be reminded that he actually played parts of two seasons each with the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals. Of course, to say he doesn’t look right in anything other than Canucks colours is a little ironic since those colours changed a few times over the years that he wore Vancouver jerseys. But, the point is the same: #16 was, is and always will be wearing a Canucks jersey (whatever it may look like) in our minds and jersey collections.
Staying with the Vancouver Canucks, one of their grittiest players ever who helped them “Slay the Dragon” by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup playoffs was Kevin Bieksa. To say he really didn’t look right wearing the Anaheim Ducks’ jersey (another arch-rival after the Ryan Kesler trade) was only compounded when he had to change from his customary uniform #3 to #2 during his first season in Orange County.
The recent Hockey Hall of Fame inductions also reminded us of two greats of their generation who will also have different jerseys on Google Images as a footnote to their careers. Seriously – will anyone remember Martin Brodeur suiting up for 7 games with the St. Louis Blues?! Talk about a jersey that just doesn’t look right on a player after he tended the twine for New Jersey for over two decades! I’m sure there’s at least one Coolhockey.com blog reader who has this jersey (probably ordered from Coolhockey.com too!).
Even though Brodeur’s HHOF classmate, Martin St. Louis started his NHL with the Calgary Flames and ended his career with the New York Rangers he will forever by linked to the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, if he looks strange wearing the “Broadway Blue Shirt” then how about his fellow Lightning Stanley Cup teammate, Vincent Lecavalier wearing a Flyers jersey, or weirder still, the black and silver of the LA Kings?!
What would a blog for a Toronto-based company be without mentioning one of, if not the most revered, Maple Leaf of his generation: Doug Gilmour. This man has become as much a myth and legend as almost anyone of his era for getting the absolute most out of his slight frame. I’d argue that he made as much a mark in his career and for himself playing with the Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues but it was really his time with the Leafs that most hockey fans will remember him. Though it may not look weird to see Gilmour Flames or Blues jerseys it sure doesn’t look right to see him wearing the colours of old Norris Division rivals, Chicago Blackhawks. Or how about with regional rivals, Buffalo Sabres? But, I’m sure more than just his biggest fan, Don Cherry’s head spins if you happen to see a #93 Gilmour on the bleu, blanc et rouge of Toronto’s “Forever Rival” Les Canadiens de Montreal!
I’m sure each of you has favourite players who just didn’t look right wearing certain jerseys of certain teams. For me, it is still heartbreaking to see Dave Babych in a Hartford Whalers jersey (though, it’s one of the best ever jerseys) after he was my very first favourite player growing up a Winnipeg Jets fan.
Ray Bourque wearing the snow-swept A of Colorado’s Avalanche in place of the spoked B is another jersey that doesn’t look right to me.
But, perhaps, the worst all time “that doesn’t look right” is when “Number 4” ended up wearing a Blackhawks jersey for the final 26 games of his career instead of Bobby Orr’s familiar gold and black Bruins’ uniform. This should be wiped from the record books! And, as much as everyone should be a fan of #4 it is “Hockey Heresy” to have an Orr Chicago jersey (just sayin’ not judgin’).
What are some of your favorite players who just didn’t look right wearing a certain uniform? If you’re a fan of a certain player then collecting jerseys from each of the teams they may have played for is an interesting way to add to your collection. Though, if you were a fan of 12-teams player, Mike Sillinger, it could be a costly proposition. And you thought the 9-members of the “Travelling Jagrs” wearing a jersey from each of his 9 NHL teams were a cool club...lol!
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