There seems to be a general agreement that the NHL's new Rbk EDGE jerseys are pretty good. The players say they're lighter and more comfortable than the old ones. And as planned, the new jerseys are succeeding at repelling moisture. Despite how great these jerseys may be, they may bring about the equivalent of last year's NBA ball situation.
The trouble is that the new jerseys are too good at repelling moisture. The water and sweat that used to get soaked in the sweater has to go somewhere, and therein lies the problem.
"They do what they were designed to do, as far as repelling the water," Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton said. "But we've found, the last three or four days of wearing them, that, when the water's repelled, it has nowhere to go but into your skates and gloves.The issue seems to be gaining speed across the league, as more and more players are speaking out.
"Everything is soaked," Minnesota Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard said after practice Monday. "Yeah, the jersey looks great, and it's not wet, but everything else..."
"At least the other jerseys absorbed some of that sweat and kept the equipment dry."Worse than having an issue with sweat and moisture, the jerseys are getting in the way of the NHL's favorite pastime - fighting. It seems that the new sweaters make that more difficult as well. Some NHL fighters have complained that the slicker jerseys are hard to grab hold of during a scuffle, making it harder to actually end a fight by dragging a player to the ice. Instead, they say, the jersey is liable to rip, making it easy to pull over an opponent's head.
So the jerseys will prolong fights? And this is a bad thing? The real concern is about injuries, and that's where the tipping point came last year for the NBA. Once the ball started causing injuries, it went from spoiled athletes complaining to a legitimate cause for concern. Should the NHL's new unis cause players to hurt themselves due to the excess moisture or a prolonged fight, it will be out with the new, and back to the same old.