The New York Islanders waived their black alternate jerseys today after three years of disappointing performances and missed potential.
The jersey, drafted controversially and expected to make a difference on a rebuilding team, never quite meshed with the Islanders once it joined them full time in 2011. In 24 games wearing the black jerseys, the Islanders were 8-11-5. The jersey never appeared in a playoff game for the Islanders.
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," the jersey said. "This is my first time on waivers, it's a shock, but it's just part of the business.
"I thought it would work out here on Long Island. I guess now I'll just hope to find a snug fit someplace else."
The black jersey is not expected to be claimed by any other teams. Islanders general manager Garth Snow had been shopping it for trade around the NHL, but could find no takers even for a low round draft pick, secondary logo or a shoulder patch to be named later.
Scouted heavily for over a year, selected from a large pool of prospects and highly recommended by Islanders players after working out with them during the off-season, the black jersey was expected to allow the team to "have fun with something different" and be a large part of the franchise's future.
The jersey's unique style - team name across the front, logo on the shoulders, numbers on the stomach - made it seem better suited for lacrosse than hockey. The base colors of black and silver were a dimension the Islanders have traditionally lacked, and the blue and orange trim made the jersey seem as if it could eventually become a regular player for the team.
But the black jersey never found any consistency and was shifted in and out of the lineup for parts of three seasons. Though it never itself engaged in any fights, its role as agitator was exemplified by the myriad of fights it instigated.
In the meantime, the Islanders' trusted alternate jersey position has been filled by the rookie Stadium Series sweater. The Islanders have spent years searching for a productive redesign, and may have found it in the Stadium Series jersey, which has fit in seamlessly with a more simple, less finesse-based game. That leaves the black alternates as the odd shirt out.
"It was a difficult decision, but we feel it's time to move on," Snow said. "We thought we gave the black jersey a lot of opportunities, but for whatever reason it didn't work out. We thank it for its services and hope it finds success elsewhere."
The black third jersey said its only regret was not forging a better connection with Islanders fans.
"I feel like they didn't get to see the real me," the jersey said. "Maybe they wanted me to be a different kind of jersey. I guess a more blue and orange one. But I wasn't designed that way."
Goodbye, third jersey. We look forward to forgetting about you by next season.