All illustrations by Andrew M. Greenstein, The unofficial NHL Uniform Database
…except the last one. That one is from Chris Creamer’s SportsLogos.net
The Boston Bruins have had a weird few months. Come to think of it, they’ve had a pretty strange history. Every time they have a run of success and seemed poised to become a bona fide dynasty…circumstances occur to ensure that dream falls just a little bit short. Bobby Orr might well be the greatest player in National Hockey League history. However, injuries limited him to just 631 games – spread over ten seasons, in a Bruins uniform. Though they did win the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972, they were vastly overshadowed throughout the 1970s by the dynastic Montréal Canadiens. The Bruins also iced very good teams throughout the 1980s and early 1990s – making the Playoffs every year. But, they lost out each time, including four years in a row to the Canadiens – 1984 to 1987 – and twice, in the Stanley Cup Final, to the Edmonton Oilers – 1988 and 1990, the latter sans Wayne Gretzky. However, they managed to fleece the Vancouver Canucks for Cam Neely…and then watch his career be slowed and, ultimately, truncated by injury.
The early 2000s saw a resurgence…followed by the lopsided trading of superstar captain Joe Thornton for his lack of production during the 2004 Playoffs – a broken rib isn’t a good excuse, apparently. Oh but it’s okay, they were bad enough to garner the 5th Overall Pick in 2006, using it to select Phil Kessel…a budding superstar who they then proceeded to trade in 2009. Oh but it’s okay, they rebounded and, in June of 2011, got themselves a Stanley Cup! But then their starting goaltender went crazy and they traded away budding superstar Tyler Seguin for being 21 years old. Oh but it’s okay, they made the Cup Final again in 2013, so everything’s fine for the future! But let’s trade away budding superstar Dougie Hamilton, just to be safe. Might as well get rid of prototypical Bruin Milan Lucic, too. Oh but it’s okay, now we have 3 First Round picks in 2015! It’s not like they’ll ALL fail their physicals, right?! …guys?
What an interesting, interesting organisation.
Their uniform history has been up and down, as well. Check out the mid-century versions below, with the striping that can’t make up its mind. The stripes on the jerseys are bad enough, but the socks look as though they let a 2 year-old have at the colour palette as if it were a game of Whac-A-Mole. Did they blow the entire design budget on three completely different jerseys, forcing them to make one pair of socks for the lot? Were they simply trying to distract everyone from whatever was going on with the tail striping? And since when are yellow pants ever a good idea?
And, of course, everyone fondly recalls the 1990s, when the Bruins decided, “Hey, you know that awesome, Spoked-B logo we have? Let’s change it to Winnie The Pooh!”
But hey, for a team with nearly a century of history behind it, one has to grant them a few duds. Thankfully, the current iteration isn’t too shabby.
Mercifully, the Bruins did not give into peer pressure with the advent of the Reebok Edge Uniform System and institute vertical striping under the arms. A simple three-stripe, two-colour combination graces the sleeves and tails of the home and away jerseys, with a lovely, two-tone shoulder yoke. The combination of these elements is gritty enough to satisfy the stereotypical, working-class image of Boston, while being artistically balanced enough to appease the eggheads in the surrounding suburbs. And the Spoked-B logo is, quite simply, one of the best of all time. Combine this with a simple helmet, pant and sock, and the Bruins have a real winner on their hands. Sort of.
My only real beef is with the secondary logo. It draws inspiration from Boston’s very first emblem and, truth be told, is really not bad-looking thing at all. However, its presence on the shoulders of the Bruins’ home and away uniforms, breaks up what I like most about them: blockiness and simplicity. It just looks out of place. If the yokes were not there, the secondary logo would look less intrusive (though the jersey itself might be ruined), but the easiest solution would be to just get rid of it altogether. I would even be fine with it on a third jersey…
…where it, surprise surprise, looks great! Actually, it is the best part of the third jersey. Where are the tail stripes? It looks like a practice uniform. And why do away with the lace-up collar? The thick, yellow one makes it look like the cheap, off-brand knock-off jerseys one finds at Canadian Tire or Walmart. This third jersey was clearly concocted for the purpose of making money. It is boring and cheap-looking, like it was designed on the back of a napkin at a breakfast joint by someone who forgot about the project until 23 minutes before it was due.
But hey, they got a spot in the 2016 Winter Classic! Against Les Habitants, no less! And I hear they are going to go with a retro-themed kit! Finally, a suitable canvas for their alternate logo!
-___- …you had one job.
Okay, so it’s not awful. I love the sweater-like collar. The striping is good. The big numbers that teams like to use for outdoor games have been made to look passable in this iteration – not an easy feat. And I especially like how, in going retro, these jerseys still retain the Bruins’ current black backdrop – brown is a tough colour to make work with any apparel, let alone that of a sports franchise.
But…that logo… Come on. Seriously? It was wonky the first time, what with the big “B” and “N” flanking a much tinier “OSTO”. Why would you reuse it? And why, oh why, would you keep it brown?! Just use the alternate logo you already have! Or what about your 2010 Winter Classic jersey (see below), how about some variation of that?
Oh wait, you blew that one, too! The fantastic yellow and black colour scheme is “complimented” by a brown logo outline and a cartoon, Comic Sans-esque “B”.
A team with this much history and that kind of passionate fanbase deserves a uniform kit to match. Stop screwin’ around and make this right.
But please, feel free to keep on trading all of the players you draft in the First Round – that’s just good, wholesome entertainment for everyone.