Michal Neuvirth is going to have to have his work cut out for him when it comes to challenging for the starting gig in the Czech Republic goal at the World Cup, but if he’s hoping to stand out in the crease ahead of
Petr Mrazek and
Ondrej Pavelec, Neuvirth's flashy mask should help.
David Gunnarsson of DaveArt has revealed Neuvirth’s mask for the competition and the design is eye-popping with some interesting details, including a nod to the netminder’s NHL club and his hometown, Usti nad Labem. The crown of the mask is big and bold, featuring the Czech Republic flag in full, with the coat of arms scrawled into the red portion of the flag. The front blue panel is the only section of the flag without a design, as the white segment has a sketched design that shows off Strekov Castle, one of the most notable landmarks from Neuvirth’s home. Take a closer look:
In two spots — on the upper-right panel and lower-left jaw of the mask — the World Cup logo is sketched in similar fashion to Strekov Castle, and there are also two Flyers logos disguised on top of the checkerboard chin. “The whole design is built on the Czech flag and the checkers pattern on the chin is inspired from the Czech shield,”
Gunnarsson wrote of the mask. “(At) a distance the whole mask is the flag of Czech, and the closer you come to the mask the more details you will discover, and the mask transforms into a storybook of Michal's passion for his home country.” Neuvirth will don the mask for the tournament, where he’s likely to see at least some action in goal ahead of Mrazek and Pavelec. This past season, Neuvirth at times challenged for the starting job in Philadelphia and posted a stellar 18-8-4 record in 32 appearances, recording a 2.27 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. Neuvirth started the final three games of the post-season for the Flyers and surrendered just two goals over that span, but a sputtering Philadelphia offense saw the club eliminated in Game 6. Neuvirth registered a 0.67 GAA and .981 SP in the playoffs, including an outstanding 44-save shutout in Game 5.
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