Revisiting the coolest part of the Winter Classic: the goal masks

This is an update version of a post I originally ran prior to the Rangers vs. Flyers Winter Classic in 2012. While the unfortunate cancellation of last year’s Classic caused us to wait on any sort of new equipment for the goalies involved, it appears that each goalie who will be appearing in the 2014 Winter Classic will have some sort of special gear for the event.

Should the goaltenders involved in the Stadium Series games decide to wear special gear, I’ll attempt to provide consistent updates. However, with the league going with more of a futuristic look, I don’t anticipate seeing anything like you see for the Winter Classic.

The rankings have been updated to reflect the gear being worn for the showdown at The Big House and I did also include Carey Price’s awful mask from the 2011 Heritage Classic.

Aside from the event itself, the best part of the Winter Classic each season is the different gear the goalies sport. It has become something of a yearly tradition with many goalies deciding to wear new pads along with their commemorative paintjobs.

The easiest and most common change is to simply get a special paint job done for the day. Few goalies have decided against any sort of change for the Winter Classic as most have a new mask painted for them at the very least. While there has been a handful to make no change between the NHL’s Winter and Heritage Classics, here is a ranking of those goalies to wear special equipment for the events. Continue reading

Custom helmets are always a treat for the Winter Classic

I’m completely obsessed with goalie equipment. It is a problem. At one point I had three mask prepared to be sent away and painted. Unfortunately fortunes change and only one of those got a paint job.

Aside from the even itself, the best part of the Winter Classic each season is the different gear the goalies sport. It hasn’t become a yearly tradition – some goalies don’t bother making changes to their gear – but a majority of the goaltenders to participate in the Winter Classic have made some change to their appearance to reflect the  event.

The easiest and most common change is to simply get a special paint job done for the day. Only six goalies have decided against any change, including their helmets. Although, Brian Boucher did wear a touque, despite keeping his normal paint job.

Gear changes have been more rare, but seem to be trending towards the norm in recent years. Dany Sabourin was the only goalie to wear different gear than his usual until last season in Pittsburgh.

There have been 21 goalies involved in the five Classics (three in 2008 due to MAF’s injury). Only Jocelyn Thibault, Ty Conklin (09), Chris Osgood (09), Nikolai Khabibulin (09) and Sergei Bobrovsky (12) have chosen not to add anything to their look whatsoever. The remaining 16 chose to make some change, whether it be a helmet or pads.

Since ranking each individual’s look based on gear would offer an unfair advantage to some, this Winter Classic history lesson will be based on the helmet designs while offering bonus points for gear. Continue reading