February 13, 2010
The NHL released a list of its Top 20 Best-Selling Jerseys on Shop.NHL.com this season, and here's what we learned: People love Crosby and Ovechkin, and the Winter Classic is basically the League's personal ATM machine. From the NHL, the top 10:
1. Sidney Crosby(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Alex Ovechkin(notes), Washington Capitals
3. Evgeni Malkin(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
4. Marc-Andre Fleury(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
5. Mike Richards(notes), Philadelphia Flyers
6. Patrick Kane(notes), Chicago Blackhawks
7. Milan Lucic(notes), Boston Bruins
8. Jonathan Toews(notes), Chicago Blackhawks
9. Henrik Lundqvist(notes), New York Rangers
10. Martin Brodeur(notes), New Jersey Devils
11. Zach Parise(notes), New Jersey Devils
12. Marian Gaborik(notes), New York Rangers
13. Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Detroit Red Wings
14. Ryan Miller(notes), Buffalo Sabres
15. Chris Pronger(notes), Philadelphia Flyers
16. Pavel Datsyuk(notes), Detroit Red Wings
17. Zdeno Chara(notes), Boston Bruins
18. Jeff Carter(notes), Philadelphia Flyers
19. Marc Savard(notes), Boston Bruins
20. Claude Giroux(notes), Philadelphia Flyers
The NHL told us Friday that these are for sales of all jerseys: Home, away, alternate and Winter Classic gear. Seven players connected to the Fenway Park Classic via the Flyers or Bruins are on this list; including Lucic, who was injured and didn't appear in the game. It probably helped Giroux make the top 20: He's the only player on the list whose jersey needs to be custom made, so that's pretty impressive.
It's also a reminder to those short-sighted cynics who read the tea leaves on television ratings and declare the Classic a fading fad: Follow the money. The event will be a success for decades if the NHL can keep selling through its swag at this clip.
Point of frustration: The Top 20 best-selling NHL jerseys on Shop NHL come from 10 teams; only two of them in the Western Conference, and both from original six cities. Winning has something to do with this; but does it also speak to the NHL's difficulty in developing brand-name star players around the League? Or, in thinking about players like Jarome Iginla(notes), Roberto Luongo(notes), Phil Kessel(notes) and the Sedins, promoting Canadian-based stars in the U.S.?
Wonder where the Kovalchuk Devils jerseys will rank by season's end, now that he showed he can score wearing one?