September 24 — Original Inaugural Jerseys & Losing a Letter

Wednesday’s Wheelhouse

DONE DEAL: Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin put pen to paper on a three-year, $6 million average annual value (AAV) contract with the Buffalo Sabres. The 21-year-old tallied 107 points in 197 games during his first three NHL seasons.

STAYING IN CAL-I: Los Angeles signed goaltender Cal Peterson, who is entering the final year of his contract, to a three-year, $15 million extension. Peterson took over as the Kings’ number one goaltender last season after veteran netminder Jonathan Quick went down with an injury.

Thursday’s Tap-in

OPEN THE GATES: As teams prepare to welcome fans back to the rink, the NHL announced 30 of 32 arenas will be at full capacity this season. Those two exceptions are Montreal and Vancouver, as the Bell Centre and Rogers Arena will have 33 percent and 50 percent capacity, respectively.

DAMAGED DUO: Evgeni Malkin will be joining Sidney Crosby in the press box to start the season as he’s expected to miss at least two months while he continues to recover from knee surgery. With the Penguins’ top two centres out, Jeff Carter will likely be taking faceoffs on the Penguins’ top line.

NEW ACCUSATIONS: San Jose began training camp without forward Evander Kane and it is unclear when, or if, he will return to the Sharks. Although the league cleared Kane of gambling on games, it is investigating new accusations of sexual and physical abuse made by his wife, Anna.

STAGE IS SET: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) announced the ice hockey schedule for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Host nation China will face the US and Canada will take on Germany to open the men’s tournament, setting the stage for a Connor McDavid versus Leon Draisaitl showdown. Meanwhile, the women will begin their tournament the day before the opening ceremony.

Top Shelf Thursday – Original Inaugural Jerseys

If you’re wondering, yes, the Seattle jersey is still fresh in our minds (as is the new Arizona Coyotes jersey). Last week, the Morning Skate crew ranked our top-five favorite inaugural NHL jerseys that debuted after 1990. So, it is only fitting to look at the jerseys that made a debut before 1990. As always, tweet us your favorite jersey using #THWMorningSkate.

#5 Los Angeles Kings: Purple (or “Forum Blue”) and gold are synonymous with the city of Los Angeles—even Minnesota Vikings fans know I’m right. Since then-owner Jack Kent Cooke wanted the team to display an “air of royalty,” he adopted this scheme because the colors are traditionally associated with kingliness. It was only fitting that the Kings shared these colors with the Lakers—a team Cooke also owned at the time.

#4 Atlanta Flames: Long before the Thrashers hit the ice in Atlanta, there was the Flames. When the team made its debut in the fall of 1972, it took the ice with a jersey that was pure fire. Simplicity was the key to Atlanta’s success, with this logo displaying a stylized “A” with flames at the center.

#3 Minnesota North Stars: Minnesota is the state of hockey, and it doesn’t get enough credit for its jerseys—excluding the Winter Classic jersey, obviously. By only using a single letter, the logo is similar to the Flames in its simplicity. There has been criticism that the color scheme may remind some of a Subway restaurant, but who says that is a bad thing?

#2 Hartford Whalers: Although the Whalers may not have won a Stanley Cup before they moved to Carolina, they did succeed in having one of the most iconic jerseys in the league. This design is so intricate and detailed that if you’re not Inspector Gadget, you may miss that the negative space in the logo creates the letter “H.” Bravo!

#1 Quebec Nordiques: Without a doubt, this jersey gets a solid 10 out of 10. Between the eye-catching color scheme and fleurs-de-lis accents, this sweater was extremely well-received when the Colorado Avalanche brought it back as last season’s Reverse Retro jersey. Where do I register my vote to bring the Quebec Nordiques back to the NHL?

Quebec Nordiques 1979-80 Jerseys (Illustration by Andrew M. Greenstein, The unofficial NHL Uniform Database)

“C” Ya Later

We have news on the Jack Eichel (or should we call him “Jak Eihel?”) saga! No, it isn’t a long-awaited trade, but an announcement by the Buffalo Sabres that the disgruntled star recently failed his physical and was stripped of his captaincy.

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Having the “C” removed from your sweater certainly seems like a big deal, but it may not be quite as unheard of as you think. Whether it’s a team adding a proven leader or a player losing leadership credibility, there are varying circumstances that have prompted many captaincy changes over the years. That said, the Eichel situation is, unsurprisingly, among the more contentious we’ve seen. Let’s take a look at some of the other memorable “C” removals in modern NHL history:

Trevor Linden and Brian Leetch

Is Mark Messier a captaincy thief? On two occasions, “Moose” stepped onto a new team and snatched away the top leadership role from an incumbent. His signing with Vancouver in 1997 saw him take the captaincy from beloved Canuck Trevor Linden and then a Broadway return in 2000 led to Messier regaining the “C” from Brian Leetch.

Patrik Eliáš

Patrik Eliáš enjoyed a remarkable 20-year NHL career spent entirely with the New Jersey Devils, but the relationship between the player and club wasn’t always perfect. After then-head coach Brent Sutter stripped Elias of the captaincy in 2007—supposedly informing the media before notifying Eliáš—the long-time Devils winger was so put off that he opted to decline subsequent offers of the “C” in future years.

Eric Lindros

In a situation comparably combustible to Eichel, Eric Lindros saw his relationship with the Philadelphia Flyers begin to cool in early 2000 when the “Big E” openly criticized team trainers for failing to diagnose a concussion he had recently suffered. In response, Flyers GM Bobby Clarke stripped his captaincy, creating a rift that led to Lindros’ departure that offseason.

Mike Modano

Ahead of the 2006-07 season, the Dallas Stars essentially ushered Mike Modano out the door—taking the “C” off the franchise icon and handing it to the younger Brenden Morrow. While Modano never publicly expressed any bitterness over the demotion, he did admit to not playing quite as hard over his final seasons in Dallas.