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Photo: DaveArt.com

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.

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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.

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Tomas Vokoun’s New Presidents-Themed Mask

One day after Michal Neuvirth spectacularly shut out the Winnipeg Jets, the biggest news of the day is still goaltending.

First, during today’s practice, Alex Ovechkin and Michal Neuvirth switched gear with each other. ‘Cause why not. The Great 8– sporting a goalie glove, blocker, and mask– skated to the crease and took several long-range shots from his teammates.

The other big goalie news of the day is that Swedish airbrush artist David Gunnarsson released photos of his latest project: Tomas Vokoun‘s new presidents-themed mask.

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Video: Varly Talks About The Stories Behind His Masks

A mask is more than just protective gear for a goalie. It is a ‘keeper’s face on the ice, often showcasing parts of his personality. Capitals Red Line caught up with Semyon Varlamov to give fans the story behind Varly’s buckets.