Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which you might as well be doing, thanks to COVID-19!), you probably know that legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady left the New England Patriots and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers unveiled their new uniforms on Tuesday, and in a corresponding move, made Brady’s new jersey available on the team store. But something about it doesn’t look right. After 20 years in New England, seeing Brady’s name on the back of any jersey that isn’t navy blue and red just feels bizarre.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a legendary athlete switched teams toward the end of their career. In fact, it’s happened in hockey numerous times over the years. With there being basically nothing exciting going on right now, why not look back on some of those legendary NHLers who looked profoundly odd in a different uniform?
Orr is arguably the greatest defenseman to ever lace ‘em up. In 10 years and 631 games with the Boston Bruins, Orr posted some insane numbers — 264 goals, 624 assists and a plus-574 rating. But did you know he also played 26 games for the Chicago Blackhawks? It’s true! His time in Chicago was pretty uneventful, but he still managed to average over a point per game during his brief stint with the Blackhawks. Not bad.
Leetch was a dominant blueliner throughout the 90s and early 2000s. In 17 season with the New York Rangers, the Hall of Famer registered 240 goals and 741 assists for 981 points, which leads all defensemen in Rangers history. But after his long stay with the Rangers, he spent the last two seasons of his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Bruins, respectively. He wound up playing just 76 games in a non-Rangers sweater, so it’s no surprise that many don’t remember him playing anywhere other than in New York.
That’s right! After an insane 25 years with the Detroit Red Wings, Mr. Hockey evidently wasn’t ready to retire, so he joined the World Hockey Association. He played in the WHA for six years until the league folded in 1979. So what did he do? He played another NHL season at the age of 52 (!) when the New England Whalers, his WHA club, joined the NHL as the Hartford Whalers. To this day, he remains the oldest player to ever take part in an official NHL game.
Chelios played for a lot of teams, so it’s not entirely weird to see him wearing different colors. However, it remains very weird to see him wearing an Atlanta Thrashers sweater. During the 2009-10 season, Chelios signed a two-way contract with the Thrashers as a 48-year-old, but didn’t register a single point in his seven appearances in Atlanta.
Iginla played for the Calgary Flames for 16 years. Needless to say, it was pretty odd seeing him suit up for the Pittsburgh Penguins when Calgary traded him during the 2012-13 season. The following season, Iginla actually managed to put together a solid 61-point campaign for the Bruins before spending two-plus seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. Iginla’s last stop came in 2016-17 when the Avs traded him to the Los Angeles Kings. He played a grand total of just 19 games as a King.
Speaking of the Kings, how about Larry Robinson? Robinson played for the Montreal Canadiens for 17 years, collecting 197 goals and 883 total points in 1,202 games with the Habs. However, he spent the last three seasons of his career in Los Angeles. Granted, he was but a shell of his former self, but he did manage to put together a couple of decent seasons for the Kings before eventually calling it quits in 1992.
Ah, yes. Martin Brodeur’s pit stop in St. Louis. After 21 years with the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur thought he still had some good hockey left in him apparently, so he decided to sign a contract with the St. Louis Blues. He played a total of seven games for the Blues with a .899 save percentage and 2.87 GAA. Not exactly a sparking finish to an otherwise legendary career.
Considering this is a Minnesota Wild blog, this one should hit pretty close to home for many readers. Modano started his career with the Minnesota North Stars and remained with the Dallas Stars after the 1993 relocation until the 2009-10 season. Modano spent two decades playing for the same franchise, but did play one season as a member of the Red Wings in 2010-11. Unfortunately, it wound up being a pretty uneventful stay in Detroit — he collected a total of just four goals and 15 points in 40 games.
Bourque’s dedication to finally winning a Stanley Cup gave us one of the coolest moments in semi-recent sports history. After a legendary 21-year run with the Bruins, Bourque still hadn’t won a Cup, but that changed in 2001 as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. Even at 40 years old, the Hall of Fame defenseman put together an impressive campaign that season with seven goals and 59 points in 80 games.
It was Gretzky’s time with the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings that made hockey fans start calling him “The Great One”, but who can forget about his quick run with the Blues in 1996? He was traded to St. Louis late in the 1995-96 season to help take the Blues on a deep playoff run, but he and Brett Hull, a fellow Hall of Famer, didn’t quite form the dynamic pairing many were expecting. In total, Gretzky played just 31 games as a member of the Blues.