A lot has changed in Washington D.C. since last season, including the goalie situation. On the first day of free agency, new Caps GM Brian MacLellan signed veteran goalie Justin Peters to be Braden Holtby‘s back-up. That means goaltending prospect Philipp Grubauer, who shined in a one-month stint with the team last December, will likely be relegated to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears for most of next season.

I bring that up because, um, well, this is awkward. Grubauer’s new mask from Swedish airbrush artist David Gunnarsson is 100% Caps-flavored.

Gunnarsson, in his classic (and unmatched in enthusiasm) Swede-glish, calls the new bucket The Desolation of Grubi, Atomic Breath. I literally have no idea what that means, but Peter tells me it’s an allusion to The Hobbit.

On his Facebook page, Gunnarsson tries his best to explain.

Today we have the pleasure to present the latest artwork for Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals. His last mask named ”The Desolation of Grubi” was a huge success, and here comes the insane continuation…

This design is so fully loaded of energy… atomic energy…so the whole design boils and is ready to erupt… all the colors from the previous design has inverted… and the atomic power is ready to spit fire, or as we call it, deliver some atomic breath! Watch out!

I love to brainstorm and come up with new design ideas together with the goalies day in day out, it is a very creative process. Every mask I create is always 100% unique…!

Of course the whole design is packed with extreme details all over the mask to tell the story of Atomic Breath…:) And for sure all the DAVEART trademark effects is there..

Love to be your painter Grubi! We have so much more cool stuff in the pipeline.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at the older mask and compare it to the new one.

The Desolation of Grubi

The Desolation of Grubi, Atomic Breath


The new mask is more blue than red. Inverting the colors, as Gunnarsson says, was a smart move. While the name of new mask is more intense than its predecessor, the smaller amount of red actually makes it calmer and lighter.

If this is Grubi’s new mask for next season, it is going to clash like whoa. Red, white, and blue tones will look gaudy above a chocolate-colored jersey. But if– for some reason– Grubauer gets called up to Washington for the Winter Classic, he’s gonna look sharp.

Close-Up Photos





  • Eileen

    Wearing that in Hershey really isn’t that strange or awkward for him. He usually wore his Caps gear in Hershey and Bears gear in Washington last season…the red-white-and-blue over the chocolate sweater is really nothing new.

  • Aaron Contic

    Speaking of winter classic. Does anyone one on this wonderful site know anything about the uniforms that we plan on wearing. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be the classic red uni’s but they could go a different route…..Anyone?

  • DustinPenncakes

    I would love to see these jerseys.

  • Diller M

    No thanks…. (although 13 yo me agrees with you)

  • Tendy swag

    Not that hard guys. More AHL goalies are getting two masks: one for AHL and one for NHL. Not every goalie wants to blend the two when he gets the dough for better masks and paint jobs.

  • CJ Easton

    I like the color inversion quite a bit and the side by side really shows how much it pops.

  • IafrateNoGhosts

    Am I alone in wondering why no CAPS goalie has gone with a truly fun or badass paint job? Every year it seems that the young goalies get a milquetoast red white and blue generic paint job. I would LOVE to see Grubi with a fire breathing griffin (head of eagle and body of a dragon) or Holtby with some kind of Holtbeast in caps colors.

  • Drunkencricket

    I’m guessing from the blue glowing eyes that “Atomic Breath” is a reference to the Godzilla movie.

  • Dan Curry

    Maybe as warmup jerseys…

  • GetchaGrubbOn

    That’s why this is still my favorite of recent masks. But you’re right, other than this one of Holtby’s they all look the same.

  • Pat Magee

    He should’ve went the Varly/Holtby route with the half bears, half caps mask.

  • obeythepuck

    the deformed crashing 1footed eagle with 5 stars for no damn reason. NO

  • Fedor
  • Sarah

    I like it… but, though it pains me to say it, I vote for Steve Masons’s zombie masks. Those still make me laugh every time I see them.

  • Amykins

    Um….I don’t know if this is milquetoast or not…this was last year – I don’t think he wore it that much though.