If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a big fan to the visual asthetics of ice hockey ( yes, even Green Man in the stands). As a Sharks fan, we've witnessed the gamut of weird fashion, from Arturs Irbe's bucket to, well everything that made Ulf Dahlen look goofy. But, we've also seen some of the sweetest gear ever, as well. Brian Hayward's shark head mask is arguably one of the coolest masks in NHL history. Kelly Hrudey's leg pads looked like a shark breaching the surface when squeezed together. Needless to say, the Sharks' options for looking like badasses are exponentially better than say... A mean duck. In Anaheim.
In some circles, some people know that I am on board with San Jose goaltender Thomas Greiss, aka 'The Meth Squirrel". If you haven't heard, or seen, Greiss plays like a spastic midget flailing all over the ice with reckless abandon .I dubbed him that not as a means to be derogatory, but it described him perfectly after seeing him play here in Phoenix. The first time I saw him, I believe my scouting report on Greiss was something like this:
- aggressive to a fault. People poke-checked by Greiss: someone at the blue line, someone behind the net, beer vendors in section 114 and 212, someone in the ladies room, Howler the mascot, my sister, baby in stroller, Dave Strader.
- Needs a rope tethered around waist as to keep him in the vicinity of the goal.
- illegal equipment. must have springs in his leg pads, because he drops and pops up in .3 seconds. Wickedly fast.
His reflexes are so blindingly amazing, you have to see him pop off his knees in person to believe it. That being said, it wasn't hard for me to jump on the Little German's bandwagon.
Sad as it is to say, Evgeni Nabokov looks as if he won't be a Shark his entire career, with cap space and other business-type things to take into consideration. So if the Sharks lose their beloved "Nabby", on deck is "The Meth Squirrel". And in this guy's opinion, it's time to make the little guy the most feared goaltender in San Jose's 17 year history. "But how?", you might ask. "He's only 4 foot 2", you might quip.
We do the only thing we know how to do. We make him look like a crazed German midget. And since I'm a nut for hockey equipment, I've got a few ideas. And first up, we lose his current mask. Don't get me wrong, I love the orange glow surrounding the Shark logo up front, but upon further review of the sides:
( You have got to be kidding me.)
That's just asking to get beat up at recess for his milk money. So how would I fix this? It's my post, so I'll do whatever I want to. First of all, I'd bring back the Hayward-style Shark head mask. Boston goalies have recycled the Bruin head helmet, so adopting a new style Shark head helmet should not be considered sacrilege.
Obviously, lose the yellow 'Armadilla' logo and keep it basic white. But what about Greiss' name? A staple on all his masks is his last name tattooed across the chin. Surely he'll want to keep that. No prob, Squirrel. My terrible photoshop/MS Paint skills have your back. We'll just put a bunch of blood all over the lower teeth of the shark's mouth, and we'll have this:
( There goes my scholarship to art school. Shucks.)
I'll leave it up to the pros, but I'm sure you get the idea. Once this mask is done, I want the Squirrel to have something no one else in the NHL has......A different cage. The cage I had in mind was developed by the father of Marco and Flavio Streit, both Swiss goalies playing professionally in Europe. Instead of welding bars together like traditional 'cat-eye' masks, this mask was laser cut out of a solid piece of steel. This means that the mask can be closer to the face without fear of rust, weak spots, or dents. You'll be taken aback when you see this, I promise. But I have good reason for picking this beaut for The Meth Squirrel. I won't give it away 'til the end though. Here's a little gallery to showcase the 'Streit hex' mask:
It should be noted that these most of these masks are made by Airxess, the same company that makes Jonas Hiller of the Ducks's masks. As I am terrible at figuring out the series of tubes known as the interwebs, there's an awesome version of this mask with cage found here:
(The black one with the gold cage, top right. Should say 'Patrick Buesser'.)
Here's the best I could do capturing some screen caps:
So why would I think this would be perfect for Greiss? Well , do the math. An enigma of a mask + big round eyes + incredibly fast skill set + intimidation factor = ..... Anyone? Anyone?
I mean, c'mon. He is German.