It's the NHL preseason, the wonderful time of the year when goaltenders show off the new masks they spent the offseason designing. Most goalie helmets get painted by Swedish airbrush maestro David Gunnarsson, and most are quite good. But even Gunnarsson must yield to the whims of his clients, and some masks fall short because of nonsensical concepts.
As such, I've decided to put my graphic design expertise to work and mock up a new set of mask concepts for the NHL's netminders. With each design, I eschewed the basic "team logo" model and tried to really highlight what makes each goalie unique.
1. Steve Mason, Philadelphia Flyers
During a particularly brutal 2011-2012 season, Steve Mason came to the shocking realization that he was allowed to wear pads that fit, and not whatever he could find at Columbus' various used sports equipment stores. Well, in keeping with this theme of choosing function over form, I'm ditching Mason's typically garish and intricate designs for something that might help him on the ice.
2. Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
Henrik's paradox: his helmet blocks his beautiful, angelic face, but we need him to wear the mask to protect his immaculate visage from harm. I think I've devised an elegant solution.
3. Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Six-foot-five and as athletic as a gymnast, Pekka Rinne tends to lead the league in improbable saves. This mask design allows him to keep track of his victims, while simultaneously proving to his grandkids one day that he did, in fact, play with the great Seth Jones.
4. Tim Thomas, Florida Panthers
Maybe I'm jumping the gun on this one, but this mask will serve Thomas wherever he winds up, even if that's a bunker in Vermont.
5. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
This one I'm keeping flexible, since Miller's situation could change at any time.
6. Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
Some athletes just don't take to social media. But that only makes the goalie mask even more important as a personal statement to show fans the wearer has personality.