A wise man once said, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” That wise man is Deion Sanders. I, for one agree wholeheartedly. Yeah, I know that hockey is a team sport, but the goalie is the only player that gets to switch up how he looks. Everyone wears the same ol’ standard gear, except the goalie. They’ve come a long way from your standard issue masks. A goalie’s gotta be confident, yet stylish if he’s gonna help lead his team to victory. So now I present to you, the top 10 masks to be worn in the NHL playoffs. (Now, I don’t necessarily think #1 on this list will hoist the Stanley Cup, but if he does…)
#10: Ilya Bryzgalov – Minnesota Wild – His kids drew the design. No seriously, this is the handy work of his kids. He wins points on that alone. Also because it looks like what I would draw up if he asked me to give him a mask design.
#9: Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings – It’s an okay mask, not the greatest but nice usage paying homage to the ‘Spirit of Detroit’ sculpture and Detroit being called ‘Hockeytown’
#8: Kari Lehtonen, Dallas Stars – Nothing too fancy here, just a nice ode to Texas with the sheriff star and the longhorn near the bottom of the mask. Very vibrant look
#7: Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins – Well, ya got a bear there. It’s probably a Bruin. It’s got red eyes. This is a scary/intimidating mask. That’s one enraged bear or a bear that got into the wrong stuff. Rask is a pretty good goalie, so let’s go with enraged. Yeah, that’s it.
#6: Antti Niemi, San Jose Sharks – You’ve got the shark teeth around the face of the mask, looks like there’s a griffin on the side there. I like how it incorporates the Sharks.
#5: Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers – It’s got hologram print on it. That’s all that needs to be said about King Henrik’s mask.
#4: Jonathan Quick, LA Kings – It’s like a knight’s helmet! It’s clean and it’s probably the only mask on this list that looks like it’s apart of the uniform, yet still personalized. Well done, Quick!
#3: Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks: I can’t even lie. When I started this list, this mask didn’t even make it. But it really grew on me. It’s bold, yet very detailed up-close. Clean, but still has a lot going on. I’m a fan.
#2: Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers – Those aren’t just any ol’ zombies on Steve’s mask. Those are his teammates! Bonus points for creativity & getting the rest of the team involved in some fashion.
#1: Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks – I’m a sucker for matte black and this is the only mask in the bunch that’s matte black. Take that and add the gold trim on it? You’ve got yourself a winner. This is clean and simple without being boring. This is a goalie that’s dressed for success.