Sunday, March 13, 2011

NHL Saves of the Week (1/18/11 and 3/8/11)

I have been very negligent about posting the NHL Saves of the Week videos this winter. I was sidetracked by other things and so many masks to catch up on. But I'm going to try to keep on top of them now. I won't post all the past weeks I missed, they're on if you are interested. I will post the ones from 1/18/11 and 3/8/11, because my favorite, Theo, made both of those weeks. And I always have to give him props. He was #2 both weeks.

Goalie Tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame

In December 2009, the folks over at Tender's Lounge wrote an article titled Goalie Tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"I recently took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and since I was pressed for time I decided to make it a goalie-specific tour.  If you haven’t made it to the HHOF then I strongly recommend you scrounge up your pennies for a trip to Toronto to see this shrine to everything hockey.

Masks – Grand Entrance

This will be the best part of the tour for any goalie… and technically it’s free! The grand entrance to the HHOF takes you past a number of display cases showing off the best and most important goalie masks in NHL history. This display is the best way for NHL goalies to make it to the HHOF without having a Hall of Fame career!

You have to walk past this display, as well as a pretty impressive puck collection, to get to the ticket cashier so if you really wanted to you could see the masks without paying a dime. This is like having the Mona Lisa on display in the entrance to the Louvre!

Not the original mask worn by Jacques Plante but the one he considered his favorite. An upgrade from his original solid fiberglass mask, this model allowed much-needed ventilation. He continued to build upon the pretzel concept in the years to come.

In an interview with the NHL Network commemorating the 50th anniversary of Plante first wearing a mask Ken Dryden said this mask, worn at Cornell and during his first couple years as a pro, was his favorite since it was truest to Plante’s original full-time mask.

Tony Esposito? Nope... Jacques Plante! The pretzel design was clearly Plante's favorite, and even though it was Esposito who made the style famous it was a Plante design.

Eddie Giacomin was one of the first goalies to add some color and decoration to his mask. I'm not sure if that's a jolt of electricity, a fuzzy eyebrow or a stylized Red Wing!

Rogie Vachon wore this mask as a rookie with the Canadiens and when he first landed in Los Angeles (after Dryden's arrival booted him out of Montreal). He later switched to his better known purple smiley face mask.

This Gilles Meloche mask was truly a work of art and probably the best thing ever produced by the Cleveland Barons.

Gary Simmons' classic cobra mask, derived from his nickname. Check out the old bow-legged pads from the way he leaned on them. Truly old school!

Perhaps the centerpiece of the HHOF's mask collection, the famous Gilles Gratton lion mask. Gratton would sometimes growl from beneath it during faceoffs in his end.

I used to draw this mask as a kid! Ron Low honored America's bicentennial with this mask from the Capitals' very early days.

Mike Palmateer's style of play and his mask made him my favorite goalie when I was a kid, so seeing his mask on my way into the HHOF just gets my heart pumping for what lies ahead!

Yves Belanger spent the latter part of the 70's bouncing up and down between the minors and the NHL but his burning mask lives forever in the HHOF.

Steve Baker's short stint with the Rangers from 1979 to 1982 earned him a spot on the US squad in the 1981 Canada Cup. In a post-9/11 world his mask is a lasting tribute to the city of New York.

Billy Smith's biggest NHL achievements came while wearing a plain white helmet and cage but earlier in his career he sported a much more colorful Islanders mask.
If not for this mask Murray Bannerman would simply be the answer to the trivia question "who replaced Tony Esposito has the Hawks #1 goalie?" But this literal interpretation of the Hawks' logo not only provided a template for future Chicago goalies but ensured Bannerman a spot on the list of greatest masks in history.

Grant Fuhr went through a variety of mask styles in his first few years in Edmonton, and then again when he switched to the combo (not to mention switching teams) but this is the most memorable.

Pelle Lindbergh grew up idolizing Bernie Parent so he wore the exact same style mask. Lindbergh was one of the last goalies to wear the full fiberglass mask so I've always wondered how long he would have resisted the change to the cage if not for his tragic car accident.

Click on the link at the top of the entry for the full article.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Top 5 NHL Masks of the 2010-11 Season

I guess it's time that I pick my favorite of the NHL masks this season. I'm glad I waited this long though, because there have been some changes recently, and one of the new masks has made my top 5. So here we go. And I'd love to hear which masks are my readers' favorites. Feel free to post in the comments! Thanks.

Maybe I'm a bit biased, because José Theodore is my favorite player in the NHL. But I really do think his mask is beautiful. Here's the entry for his mask. And a couple photos:

Curtis McElhinney's Ottawa Senators mask. Here is the entry for McElhinney.

Curtis McElhinney's Anaheim Ducks mask. That's right, both of McElhinney's masks this season made my top 5. They are very similiar, and extremely cool. Here's his entry again.

Corey Crawford of the Chicago Blackhawks. Here's his entry.

Kari Lehtonen's Tombstone mask. He started off the season with a Chuck Norris mask, then debuted a Tombstone mask in 2011. I'm a big fan of that movie, and that's why I like the mask so much. Here's his entry.

Honorable Mention
Ilya Bryzgalov of the Phoenix Coyotes. I don't like the overall look of the mask, but I'm giving it a mention because I really like the idea of having his children's artwork on the sides. Here's his entry.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alex Stalock 2010-11 Mask

Alex Stalock of the San Jose Sharks (born on July 28, 1987 in St. Paul, MN.)

From the Goalie Guild: "Stalock got a win in his 1st NHL start wearing a nice new mask. Similar to his old ones, a huge jumping Sharks logo, sans stick, jumps over a sunset beach scene, where the chin is the ocean beneath it, teeming with life next to Stalock’s number 32. Unfortunately Stalock was injured shortly after his 1st win in the AHL after a freak incident where he was stepped on by a skate that caused nerve damage. Here’s to a speedy recovery Alex!"

Matt Climie 2010-11 Mask

Matt Climie of the Phoenix Coyotes (born on Feb. 11, 1983 in Leduc, AB.)

Climie saw 32 minutes of action in a game on Dec. 20, 2010.

From the Goalie Guild: "His Daveart reaper from his Dallas days makes a reappearance and looks great in his new Coyotes red cloak and blood red moon. There is some blood spatter behind him and his red-glowing eyes definitely make it ominous looking. Both sides features the Coyotes 3rd logo, while the chin leads red and white stripes to the Coyotes shoulder paw logo."

Mike Brodeur 2010-11 Mask

Mike Brodeur of the Ottawa Senators (born on March 30, 1983 in Calgary, AB.)

Brodeur played 4 games in January (before the Senators traded Elliott for Anderson.)

From the Goalie Guild: "Both sides feature the undead skeletal Senator/Spartan warrior, whose shield and helmet have the Sens logo outline on them. The chin has the popular graffiti style font of his nickname “Brodi”. The backplate features the same regular Sens logo, except with a skull instead of a face."

I like this mask! I am partial to the skullies.

Martin Gerber 2010-11 Mask

Martin Gerber of the Edmonton Oilers (born Sept. 3, 1974 in Burgdorf, Switzerland.)

Gerber has only made 3 appearances so far this season (2 in November and 1 on March 1.) But he's won all 3 games with a save % of .958 and a GAA of 1.30. Not too shabby for the 36-yr-old.

There's not much to say about his mask though. Plain and simple. It's a white NME 9 mask.

Richard Bachman 2010-11 Mask

Richard Bachman of the Dallas Stars (born July 25, 1987 in Salt Lake City, UT.)

According to the Goalie Guild: "Bachman had a relief appearance against Phoenix in December and was sporting his spiffy AHL Texas Stars mask. The left panel features his number, 31, surrounded by a bronze horseshoe with the word “STARS” emblazoned on the bottom. The right side features a dual six-shooter wielding outlaw, looking very much like Clint Eastwood (seems to be a Texas theme) baring his teeth over a cut Stars logo. The chin adds the final touch with “Bachs” in an old western font."