On October 23, 2014, In News, Photos, By Ian Oland
Photo: Washington Capitals
This Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals will be holding Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. Caps players will wear purple jerseys during warm-ups while both goaltenders, Braden Holtby and Justin Peters, will be wearing lavender-colored masks throughout the game. How cool is that?
The jerseys will then be autographed and auctioned on the main concourse during the game. Also notable and adorable, eleven-year-old Ryan Darby from Make-A-Wish will participate in a ceremonial puck drop. Hopefully, he throws Henrik Zetterberg out of the dot like Braden Nienaber did with Steve Ott last year.
Recently, a lot of Washington Capitals masks designed by Swedish airbrush artist Dave Gunnarsson havelookedsimilar (which is kind of hard to avoid when you do a million of these). Justin Peters‘ new mask is, um, not one of those.
“In junior [hockey], my nickname was Pete-Dawg,” Peters began as he showed off his new bucket to RMNB Saturday. “That’s the whole theme behind my mask. It’s a dog, obviously. It’s got the mean teeth and stuff.”
The mask, which features a dog’s mouth wide open with yellowed, bloody canine teeth surrounding the opening of the mask, includes subtle details like the Caps weagle and stars. On the bottom of the mask, Peters’ nickname is found in a script font with a weathered look.
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.
For almost two months, Adam Oates rode the hot hand in net with Philipp Grubauer. Grubi was impressive in his first extended look with the big-league team, putting up a 6-5-5 record, a .925 save percentage, and a 2.38 GAA in 17 games. In fact, Grubauer dominated so much that George McPhee felt comfortable enough to fill Michal Neuvirth’s trade request, thereby slating Grubi to become the Caps’ back-up goalie for the 2014-15 season.
With more opportunity soon on the horizon, Grubauer has commissioned crazy ol’ Swede David Gunnarsson to paint him a new Capitals themed mask. There’s nothing amazing here, but the design is still pretty baller. It’s like July 4th with Capitals logos.
Swedish artist David Gunnarsson released photos of the newest mask he finished painting this morning. Lo and behold, it’s for Washington Capitals starting goaltender Braden Holtby. Gunnarsson has entitled it “Number 70 of the Capitals.” The mask is stylized to go with the Caps’ third jerseys, the same vintage sweaters that they wore during the Winter Classic in 2011.
Goaltender David Leggio spent all of last season with Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Rochester Americans. Leggio was dominant, winning 38 games and sporting a .924 save percentage. That performance merited MVP consideration at season’s end.
With Dany Sabourin having left during the offseason in favor of playing in Austria, the Hershey Bears were in desperate need of a veteran goaltender that could share the load and help mentor Capitals prospect Philipp Grubauer. Bears’ general manager Doug Yingst found his man in Leggio and signed the goaltender to a two-way contract for 2013-14.
“Obviously, the Bears are one of the best franchises in the AHL,” Leggio said to The Patriot-News’ Tim Leone during the summer. “They’ve won championships and the arena’s always packed. I’m very excited to come to a place where I feel we’ll have a chance to win a championship. They’ve won championships in the past and have a commitment to winning.”
On Tuesday, the Bears opened training camp and Leggio arrived in style. He just might have the coolest mask in the AHL.