Ugly Sweater Season: The Predators’ Worst Jersey
The Preds’ original alternate was so bad, it was actually fantastic
’Tis the season to drink eggnog, watch cheesy Christmas movies, and, most importantly, wear the tackiest, ugliest sweater you can find.
We here at On The Forecheck are participating in a new holiday tradition with the rest of our fellow SBNation NHL sites: mocking our team’s past for the sake of your enjoyment. You see, each site is digging deep in the back of their closets to find the worst-of-the-worst jersey in team history.
Look, over the course of your franchise’s history, it’s only natural they have a fashion faux pas or two.
For the Preds, that fateful, ugly sweater came in 2001.
We get it, it’s a new millennium, just a year and change only. For anyone alive during the transition from the late nineties to the early aughts, you know it was…a weird time, to say the least, fashion-wise. This time was essentially the Predators’ awkward adolescence.
Their fourth year in the league, the Nashville Predators debuted a brand new third jersey — their first ever — now known affectionately (to some) as “meth cat.” Don’t do drugs, kids.
First, let’s talk about the actual physical jersey, because anyone who owned one of those bad boys knows that thing was WEIRDLY heavy. You could easily break a sweat just wearing it to the arena; just imagine having to PLAY in it.
While most of the NHL had sweaters made from a single mesh layer, these, for some reason, were double-plied. They had a thin, inner layer of blue mesh, sewn underneath that top layer of mustard.
And the mustard...
Heavens to Betsy, the mustard.
We all know the Preds and their affection for their beloved gold, but not yet half a decade into their franchise, the team was still struggling to figure out what gold was their gold.
This...was not it. Not even close.
If this “gold” were “on the ceiling,” as the Black Keys belt after a Preds goal is scored, the scene in the crowd would look more like a horror film. Stragglers left behind in the stands scurrying to safety as a few brave souls search for the head-spinning creature who spewed this bile-colored mess left dripping above.
While most can agree the color is...something, the debate over the logo itself is more 50/50.
The Predators opted to go for a more 3D-esque version of their traditional sabretooth tiger crest, similar to what Ottawa had done with its long-time primary logo.
It’s definitely not the WORST logo. In fact, it’s not horrible in the least bit. But it’s definitely a downgrade from the original crest. You could justifiably envision it as some tribute to the Puma Pride mural Jack Crowley created on The Simpsons.
Don’t believe me?
The thing that gets us the most is the eyes. Sure, technically the current sabretooth tiger logo has gold eyes. But the way it’s designed, it’s way more subtle than this...
That is some intense yellow, to the point where you start to worry if this logo has jaundice, or perhaps spent the night at a Glendale, Arizona bar until 4 A.M. the night before a playoff game. A yellow so potent you might run into it in the foothills of eastern Kentucky, glowing in the moonlight.
Cue the eerie banjo music.
What might even be the most unfortunate part of this mess of a tackier-than-tacky-not-Christmas-sweater is that the Predators were actually good while wearing them.
According to the Nashville Predators website, the team had a 38-19-12 record in these sweaters between the ’01-’02 and ’06-’07 seasons. What’s more: in their final two years wearing the meth cat sweaters, the Preds had a 21-3-2 record. Somewhere here there is a very Disney-esque lesson about how it’s not what’s on the outside that counts. The lesson would be correct, but it doesn’t mean they’re spared from the mocking.
Thankfully, Preds ownership finally figured out what their perfect shade of gold is: a gold that differentiates them from other teams in the league — and not in a ‘do you have an undisclosed medical condition?’ type of way. Their gold is mustard cap gold — complete with the helmets to secure the look — and while some may still mock the more “Velveeta liquid gold” than “real gold” look, hey, it could aways be worse. Just look back in their history.