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.”

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  • Harjot Singh

    im pretty sure he will stick to the white mask because he is a rental and won’t be here next year.

  • I didn’t mention this above, but Halak has been wearing his Blues’ goalie pads, blocker, and glove. I’m also pretty sure he’s one of the few guys in the league who wears Brian (company name) gear.

  • Owen Johnson

    He’s from Slovakia, not the Czech Republic. Halak rhymes with Slovak (sort of)

  • Thanks. I fixed!

  • Owen Johnson

    Well I do like the fact that his leg pads have claw marks on them. However, I’m disappointed that Holtby doesn’t have that, what with his nickname and all.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    I’d like to see a matte red mask for home games and a matte white for away.

    Maybe the three stars on the chin. Clean, simple, badass

  • Myan

    I really like the all white mask! It’s eerie 🙂

  • Rob W.

    It could be worse, he could look like Tim Thomas

  • i’ve always thought that the all matte black mask with gold bars that ducks goalie jonas hiller used to sport was pretty awesome. would be cool to see a red caps version of that mask

  • I like how you put “notice what happens at the 1:01 mark” making me watch the timer so I wouldn’t miss what it was only to see something blatantly obvious, then again in slo-mo with a massive text wall. Could anybody have *not* noticed it?

  • bggb

    That’s what I had assumed. It would be a fair decision.

  • Lawrence

    Haha I love these behind the scene interviews, well done Ian!

    You don’t realize how strange it is for a goalie to have just a white mask until you see it in action. Looks like a goalie from an adult league.

  • andvari101

    I have two teams: Caps and Stars. Both my goalies are rentals and look like weirdos who picked up gear from Craigslist. =( I miss Holtbeast and Lehtonen…

  • He said he has one in the works. I bet he’s wearing it within the next week or two.

  • bggb

    That’s good to hear. I wondered if he was being passive aggressive, which I totally would’ve supported as well.

  • I think he was taken a bit off guard when I asked him about holding his helmet up (which in hindsight I can understand – he doesn’t know me or our website), but I think he answered everything truthfully.

  • Steve Killmon

    Who? Lantern-head? Let’s hope no one ever wears that mask design again.

  • I also assumed this.

  • Jon Conway

    Investing in a quality microphone will help immensely! Lemme know if you need suggestions on what to buy.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    But it’s better for natural sight lines! Just like tin foil hats!

  • OSnapSonnn .

    While my Brians gear isn’t quite pro stock, I can honestly say it’s the best gear I’ve ever had. Not at all surprised to see Halak wearing it, and the claw mark design is sold under his name.

  • OSnapSonnn .

    Most goalies wear white/black masks until they’re paid to play, not sure why people are surprised he’s wearing one. The all white mask with the red cage looks pretty classy.

    And yeah, it definitely beats wearing another team’s colors/logo (his pads aren’t the right color yet, but his Brians gear hides it).

  • brian!

    If you look close, it appears he has some tiny black text on the back of his mask, near the bottom. I was going on the assumption they were initials or something.

  • katzistan

    Reminds me of Mike Liut’s mask when he played for the Caps.

  • Veloj

    Ryan Miller was sporting a plain vanilla helmet when he first joined the Blues as well

  • bskillet

    Guessing you’re right, I like him but it’s a tough call for our GM whoever that may be after this year. Assuming Braden is for sure staying do you stick with Grubauer or try and sign Halak?

  • prut

    same thing with Bryz when he joined the Oilers

  • prut

    family initials, he wore them on his Blues mask as well

  • Team Slovakia

    I wonder if he will have his trademark flag painted on the back. I just hope he plays well enough in these remaining games for the Caps to sign him after his contract expires this summer. Then I’ll go out and buy a Caps “Halak” jersey.