The Rocky Dennis Award

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3,920 donkeys can’t be wrong, can they?

That’s how many voters chose Roberto Luongo in TSN’s Best NHL Goalie Mask poll. You don’t suppose there’s any fanboy homerism involved there, do you? Any poll stuffing?

Take a look and you tell me.

Roberto Luongo Mask
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks

Can you say “boring“. You should be able to after you stop yawning. Maybe it’s the vast stretches of off white that have me scratching my head. Maybe it’s the miserable old logo that looks like an illustration of cell division or something. Maybe it’s the prancing cartoon character on the side that makes me want to sing “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m okay…”, I don’t know. It just doesn’t do a lot for me.

I’m sorry, Vancouver because I generally have nothing against you guys and, considering you gave us Cam Neely and Milan Lucic and have, by all accounts, have a beautiful city up there, I don’t want to kill your buzz. That said

The next three top vote getters were, in order, Mike Smith, Mikka Kiprusoff and Carey Price. Um, yeah. Three out of the top four were the No. 1’s for Canadian teams? I see how it is, my friends and neighbors. I see how it works.

Perhaps if we put our blind man-boy loyalties aside for a few minutes we can enjoy some of the more interesting and creative masks some of the league’s netminders have been sporting lately. Taketh a gander.

Vesa Toskala Mask
Vesa Toskala, Toronto Maple Leafs

Toskala’s mask isn’t a new idea but it is extremely well done. Spooky, mean, three dimensional. Sam Raimi might appreciate this because it reminds one of both Venom and elements of Evil Dead. This one would eat Luongo’s for an appetizer.

Ray Emery Mask
Ray Emery, Philadelphia Flyers

Now this gentleman has style, folks. I guess Emery has always had a thing for putting boxers on his mask and his move to Philly allows him to honor a couple of greats, one real, one fictional. That’s Smokin’ Joe Frazier pictured above and if you flip it around you get to see none other than Rocky Balboa. What better for the Broadstreet Bullies than a tip of the cap to a couple of fellow brawlers.

Cam Ward Mask
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes

Cam Ward’s is another that puts not only great artwork on display but great spirit. It features Blackbeard the Pitrate, a sharp looking looking corsair flying a Canadian flag, the Stanley Cup and the name of his deceased grandfather. All very stylishly done. You know if I’m complimenting a ‘Cane about anything, it’s a special occasion, right?

Of course, most modern masks are pretty flashy and spectacular. They are the product of long hours of hard work by the best artists in that field. The NHL, after all is big business and Goalie Masks are it’s version of Bling, I suppose.

That said.

Not one of them. Not one.

Compares to this.

Gerry Cheevers Mask
Gerry Cheevers, Boston Bruins

‘Nuff said.

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