I have changed my original plan for my off-season posts. I thought I would make a post for at least one of the goalies from each NHL team, in alphabetical order by team. But my summer is not going as planned, so I am ammending that a bit so that I at least get my favorites posted.
My favorite mask of this past season was worn by Ilya Bryzgalov of the Philadelphia Flyers.
“Knowing the always quotable Bryzgalov, whose past masks have included everything from Daffy Duck to a Christmas tree with presents underneath, there’s a good reason for using the gazing tiger. Bergeron told InGoal, “Well it’s Bryz’s idea. The tiger is the emblem of Russia, called the ‘Amur‘.”
I find this mask to be absolutely gorgeous. I must admit at first I was surprised to see a tiger on an NHL mask, especially since the tiger has nothing to do with Philadelphia or the Flyers. But after reading why Bryz wanted a tiger, it made sense. And it is a black, orange, and white animal which certainly ties into the Flyers’ color scheme.
If you read the article at InGoal Magazine, you will see by the reader comments that there were a lot of people who did not like the mask, but it really grew on me very quickly. Each time I would see it throughout the season, I would love it more and more. It is definitely a stunning paint job.
As a sidenote, Bryz did have a second mask painted by Drummond Custom Airbrush. You can read about the more traditional Flyers mask here at InGoal Magazine. He wore the tiger mask the majority of the time though.