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The Goalie Mask

Sunday, 09.18.2011 / 4:56 PM ET
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New York Islanders - Training Camp 2011

Goalie masks are a unique piece of art. No two are exactly alike, but that hasn't always been the case. Prior to 1968, masks were all the same. That is, until Boston Bruins goaltender Gerry Cheevers began adding "stiches" to his mask everytime he was hit in the face with a shot, to mark where he would have been cut.

Today, each mask is custom painted, giving a goaltender his identity.

"That's why a lot of young kids become goalies," said Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro. "I know that's why I became a goalie, is because I loved the equipment and I loved the masks. It just gives you an opportunity to let your personality show by doing something a little different than everyone else."

Rick DiPietro




"I usually go with a tribute to the veterans, the military and the fire department, but last year with my injury, I had to switch things up," DiPietro said. "I became pretty comfortable with the new one and a lot of people have commented that they like the look."

Going with this type of mask is somewhat of a tribute to Chris Osgood, an NHL veteran and former New York Islanders goaltender.

"Ozzy was great when he was here," DiPietro said. "He's not only a great goalie, but he's a fantastic guy. So everyone says that I look like Ozzy with the mask, and that's not a bad thing. I'll take a couple of those Stanley Cups."

DiPietro said he even has another mask in the works.

"If I decide to change, my new mask will be a tribute to the troops and the New York fire department, police department, POWs, MIAs. My dad is a Vietnam Vet, he flew helicopters, so there will be a helicopter on there."

He added, "It's just a way to keep the men and women who are fighting for us, not only in the past, but today, in our minds and in our hearts, just to let them know how much we appreciate what they do."

Evgeni Nabokov




"My mask doesn't really have a story. Twelve years ago, the guy (who was painting my mask) asked me what I wanted and I said I didn't know," Nabokov said. "I told him I wanted something cool, something different, and he came up with the style."

"Initially, the monster was ripping the fish head and blood was dripping with Sharks coming up from the bottom. I liked the idea, so I kind of stayed with that and changed it up a bit when I got here."

Though Nabokov said he doesn't really have a story about the goulish creature on his mask, the back plate holds a lot of significance.

"On the back plate, there are names of some really important people who have since passed away," Nabokov said. "When I first came to North America, they helped me a lot. My goalie coach, Warren Strelow and a woman named Anna Gorouven, who helped me with all off ice stuff. We became really good friends. Unfortunately they've both passed away. My kids (Andrei and Emily) names are on there as well."

Al Montoya




When it comes to the design, Montoya was very vocal about what he was looking for.

"I wanted to be original as well as incorporate the Island theme," Montoya said. "I know people didn't really like the fisherman, but I talked with the artist I had and we thought if he could make a cool fisherman, it would look really nice. So he put the Captain on one side, with a nautical compass, anchor and chain, which I thought was really cool. I also wanted a lighthouse."

On the back plate, Montoya incorporated a lot of personal history, including the initials of his parents, his brothers and his wife.

"On the back plate, I've always had a character smoking a cigar," Montoya said. "I also wanted to represent the University of Michigan (with the M on the cigar) and Team USA (the moon's bandana). I've had the 'Big Cubano', which has stuck with me since the day I was drafted."

Kevin Poulin



Poulin's new mask is still at the painter, but he's going with the same theme as last year.

"My helmet is a tribute to the Islanders," Poulin said. "I have Mike Bossy and Billy Smith pictured on one side with the logo on the other. On the back plate there is a picture of the Canadian flag, representing where I'm from."

Mikko Koskinen

"My painter in Sweden came up with the design," Koskinen said. "He had a few new ideas this year and I just let him go with it. I like it more than last year. I like the white cage."

Anders Nilsson

"It's always fun to do something different with your mask from year to year," Nilsson said. "With this mask, I decided to go pretty simple and keep it with the Islanders theme."

Nilsson added, "I wanted to have a lot of small New York Islanders logos, but after talking to my painter back home in Sweden, he thought it would look better simplified. I also wanted glitter, so it's a basic idea, but it turned out cool."

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
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10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
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14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 47 18 19 -6 37
K. Okposo 48 12 25 -9 37
B. Nelson 50 20 11 0 31
F. Nielsen 50 15 16 -2 31
M. Grabovski 50 9 15 1 24
J. Bailey 49 8 15 4 23
A. Lee 50 7 14 0 21
N. Leddy 50 3 17 -12 20
R. Strome 39 5 13 -8 18
N. Kulemin 50 5 9 6 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 13 6 2 .927 2.32
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