What off-season? OK, so plenty of NHLers are vacationing in exotic places or healing their banged-up bodies at this time of year. But when goalies unveil new masks, it's clear some guys are already thinking about next season.
Pittsburgh Penguins stopper Marc-Andre Fleury shows off his latest lid here:
The color scheme looks understated and almost metallic. Who is the strange, creepy creature adorning the top of it? It's a flower, inspired by Fleury's nickname, wearing a prototype of Hall of Famer Jacques Plante's mask, a.k.a. the original goalie mask. The flower has eyes and petals for hair. Fleury has used the Plante model before, so he's only making a mild adjustment here, appearing to take a lot of yellow out of the design and going for a subtler look. The flower creature looks a bit more robotic this time, too.
New Edmonton Oilers starter Cam Talbot busted out a new mask of his own:
Wait…no Ghostbusters? Talbot boasted some of the best lids in the business in recent seasons with artwork inspired by the hit movie. One of them featured Zuul and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and the most recent had a glow-in-the-dark Slimer. This time it appears Talbot went for the uber-simple design, with pure Oilers logo treatment.
Both helmets are being promoted as part of CCM's #MadeOfHockey campaign. So whose is better? Fleury's design is cooler, but the changes are oh-so minor. Talbot gets the slight edge for trying something brand new. It's crisp and clean and ties nicely into his Oilers colors. It's a step down from Ghostbusters but, as my colleague Ryan Kennedy points out, the movie's setting was New York, a.k.a. Talbot's old city, and that's what inspired the previous masks as opposed to a massive love for the films.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin