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Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Detroit Red Wings

Aug 10, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom Getty Images

When you’ve got a perfect look, there’s really nothing much you should do with it other than hanging on to it for the rest of your days. That’s just what the Red Wings do with their sweaters that have stayed essentially the same since the very get-go. After all, when you can say you’ve had everyone from Gordie Howe to Steve Yzerman all wearing essentially the same sweater, that’s impressive and even more so in an era where making things new and updated is all the rage.

Best: Well this is awkward. Detroit has essentially gone unchanged with their sweaters since 1937. The only real alterations have come in sprucing up the winged wheel logo and then adding names to the back of the sweaters in the late 1970s. Considering how bad the Wings were in the 70s, fans needed to know just who they were rooting for.

When it comes down to picking a “best” Red Wings sweater it’s down to red or white. Put me down as a fan of the (now) road white sweater. Dominating with just one color sometimes doesn’t do it for me and even with the Red Wings being just red and white with their colors, even the menacing all red look can be too much.

Worst: For the worst all-time Red Wings sweater we have to go back to the days when they were called the Detroit Cougars and apparently that meant dressing up like an oversized candy cane. In the 1927-1928 season, the Cougars’ sweater had horizontal stripes up and down the length of it with a bold “DETROIT” right smack through the middle of the sweater. When you’re rolling with just two colors that can get to be rough to look at and these peppermint-flavored nightmares are a good reason why we’re thankful photographs in that era were in black and white.

Classic at all costs: It’s incredible that the Wings have kept the same look for over 70 years and haven’t deviated off and introduced a new logo or a third sweater at all through recent years. The Wings fan base is big enough so that introducing something like that could mean even more money for owner Mike Ilitch and given how good the Wings have been for nearly the last 20 years having third jerseys with the names of Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom, or Henrik Zetterberg would be huge sellers.

Instead, the Wings keep it real and the only different sweater they’ve worn at all came in the 2009 Winter Classic when they threw on the franchise’s original Detroit Cougars sweater for the day.

Assessment: This original six franchise just keeps doing things right on and off the ice and keeping a classic look unencumbered by ad wizard-enhanced new logos, shoulder patches, or third jerseys keeps the Wings sweater looking old school and classic at all times. It’s up there with Chicago as one of the best looking teams in the NHL.

  1. derpdederpdederp - Aug 10, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    nicest looking unis in the league hands down, and thats coming from a Leafs fan

  2. bobbyalcott - Aug 10, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    This article completely ignores that the white jerseys HAVE changed from a photo opposite of the current red jerseys to the red-sleeved white jerseys that the team currently wears. I’m of the opinion that the original white sweaters (worn until 1961) were the best ones in the team’s history, and frankly, I wish they’d go back to them. For more info on that, see here: http://www.nhluniforms.com/RedWings/RedWings.html

  3. polegojim - Aug 10, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Cougars won The Cup in 1925 and finals in 1926… but thank you… 1932!

    Interesting history behind the name and logo:.

    http://proicehockey.about.com/od/history/a/red_wing_origin.htm

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