Photo: Rob Carr
It’s been just over a week since the Washington Capitals traded Michal Neuvirth to Buffalo for Jaroslav Halak. Halak, a veteran of eight NHL seasons, is already the Caps de facto starter, sporting an above average .924 save percentage and leading the Caps to three wins in five starts.
While Halak’s play has been calming on the ice, the gear he’s been wearing has been anything but. He looks like a man without a country. Unlike Neuvirth, who has been wearing his Caps-colored mask with Buffalo, Halak has opted to wear one plainest goalie masks ever seen in the NHL. His bucket, painted a bright pearly white, has only one design feature: red painted bars covering his face.
On Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, I spoke with the Slovakian netminder about his unusual gear and if or when we’ll ever see him with a Caps mask.
Notice what happens at the 1:01 mark. We’ll have more on that later.
What’s your first week been like with the Caps?
Well we’re 2-2 so far so it’s been good, but it could’ve been better. I always say the goalie can do better so we’ll see.
A lot of our readers have been excited about your mask. Can you hold it up on camera for us?
What do you want me to hold? A white mask? I’m getting my mask soon so.
Who are you getting it designed by?
It’s a painter from Montreal.
In respect to your gear, is it a weird process when you get traded?
It is. You have to change pretty much all your equipment. When I got traded, I didn’t have to change the colors, but then I got traded here so I have to change everything. It’s weird now playing with a white mask. It’s been a while for me.
Where did you get the white mask? Did you get it off the street? Did the Caps have one here for you?
They can make it fast. They can make one fast for me. I just need to get one painted.
When do you expect to have your newly painted gear?
Soon. I just need to get used to it. It’s gonna take me a little bit, but hopefully soon.
Once I left, Halak spoke to CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley about the topic. Gormley asked Halak what the design of his mask would look like. After a pause, Halak had a coy response: “it’s a surprise.”