( Photo Credit: AP Photo / Mary Schwalm )

By: Pierce Brody | Follow me on Twitter @PierceBrody3

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs looming and only two games left in the regular season, the Bruins are gearing up for a long and successful run. In the last few weeks, we have seen players resting, lineups shuffled, and powerplays tweaked to gain an edge in the tough competition ahead. While these strategies are vital, the NHL is full of superstitions that may or may not significantly affect the outcomes.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are well-known for the widespread playoffs beards, and individual players have their traditions and rituals to help give them an edge. In recent years, jersey selection has shown some superstitious value. The 2016 champion Pittsburgh Penguins exchanged their primary black home jerseys marked by the now-retired Vegas gold color for the then-alternate jerseys marked with bright yellow. The following year, the Penguins moved to the bright yellow jerseys full time and won the cup again. More recently, the Carolina Hurricanes used their black alternates in the 2019 playoffs, and the young team had a deep run, ending in the Eastern Conference Finals. They eventually changed them to the primary home jerseys this season.

The Bruins will not change their primary jerseys anytime soon and probably won’t for the playoffs either, but current rules allow for one alternate jersey to replace a primary for the entire course of the playoffs. While they’re already one of the best-dressed teams, they also have a deep lineup of past and present alternates. The Bruins might want to go through the exercise if they are as superstitious as the rest of the NHL.

Currently, the Bruins have three excellent alternates, two classic looks with their Winter Classic jerseys from January and their unspoked B to go along with the current Reverse Retro iteration featuring the divisive “Pooh Bear” and jagged stripes. The Winter Classics were only worn three times, with two wins to show for it. That’s not much of a sample size and a point percentage under their current mark of .819.

The unspoked B was worn six times with a perfect record and a whopping goal differential of +14. The Pooh Bear was also worn six times with five wins, one overtime loss, and a similar goal differential of +14. These two choices have the beginnings of a strong argument. However, these games were played at home and look less spectacular compared to the 20-3-2 record in their primary home jerseys. Furthermore, the Bruins have more alternates to showcase than many other teams, allowing for much smaller sample sizes. Given the Bruins’ record this season, their perfect and near-perfect records in alternate jerseys are, somehow, unremarkable.

Logistically, it’s also hard to imagine any of these jerseys unseating the primaries. The primary blacks are among the best in the NHL and the Bruins’ most iconic look. This makes them untouchable, regardless of the dominant perfect record in the unspoked B. That leaves only the Pooh Bear.

While it’s widely considered one of the best Reverse Retro jerseys, its inclusion is still a hard sell. Stemming from an era ripe with hated jersey experiments, the original Pooh Bear was an eyesore that was rightfully hated by Bruins fans. While time provided the despised style new reverence from fans and a white remodel allowed the innovative design to pop, it will likely always remain divisive. It would probably replace the white primaries as the away jersey, despite never being worn away from the garden. The only modern example of this is when the Washington Capitals wore their white alternates in 2015.

Ultimately, both iconic spoked B iterations are unlikely to be replaced for the entirety of a playoff run, despite the Bruins’ immense success wearing their well-designed alternates. Regardless, given the luck it brought the Penguins and Hurricanes in the past decade, it remains a worthwhile exercise. In any case, it serves as a reminder of the Bruins success on the ice this season and their ability to churn out unique and tasteful uniforms, unlike any other franchise.