Thumbs down on new jerseys
The reason for the additional wardrobe is the addition of a new jersey by the NHL this season. The players have worn the jerseys throughout the preseason, but Wednesday's season-opener was the regular-season debut of the new, sleeker Reebok jerseys.
So far, the jerseys are as popular with NHL players as the new basketballs were with NBA players last season.
What the players are finding to be a problem is that the jerseys are designed to repel water.
That sounds like a good thing, but turns out to be more bother than benefit. Sweat no longer goes from the players' bodies through the jersey. It runs down players' arms and legs, making shirts, gloves and even skates soaked by the end of each period.
"The jersey does its job," said Detroit's Matt Ellis. "It takes the moisture away, but it feels like it's funneling moisture into certain areas. I know a lot of guys are expressing concern over that."
Ellis now wears wrist bands … something that he has never done before. Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom now changes his undershirt and socks after every period.
"Everything gets wetter … Skates are soaked," said Holmstrom. "The jerseys are really tight, around the arms tight. Arms, elbows … tight."
Pavel Datsyuk joked that he gets around tightness by wearing larger sized jerseys.
When introduced by the league at last season's all-star game, the jerseys were billed as being lighter and sleeker, thus helping player performance.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock takes a more philosophic view of the new jerseys.
"These are the uniforms we have and these are the ones we're going to play with," said Babcock. "The logo on the front is as beautiful as I've ever seen."