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The Definitive Ranking Of NHL Goalie Masks

From Nabokov to Varlamov to Bryzgalov, and everywhere in between.

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Goalie masks are one of the coolest aspects of hockey — they allow the guys clad in big, goofy-looking pads and obscured by an enormous helmet to express a bit of their personality in just about any way they can dream up. Still, some masks are better than others.

The Ed Hardy Division:


The Uninspiring Stylized Team Logo Division:


25. Carey Price's "Club de Hockey"

Rob Carr / Getty Images

This boring helmet inspires a history lesson: The "H" inside of the large "C" in the Canadiens' logo stands for hockey. The popular misconception is that it stands for "Habitants," or "Habs," the Canadiens' nickname.

24. Sergei Bobrovsky's "Wall of Shame"

Kirk Irwin / Getty Images

The Blue Jackets have one of the worst team names in sports (it's supposed to honor Ohio's participation in the Civil War, as Union soldiers wore blue jackets), so the goalie apparel is unsurprisingly bland. (It's a blue brick wall with the Blue Jackets logo plastered over it.) Bobrovsky, however, used to wear an amazing Sideshow Bob helmet in Philadelphia. Hopefully it makes an appearance in Columbus.

22. Craig Anderson's "The Roman Empire Eventually Fell to Pieces But This Logo Is a Symbol of Strength!"

The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick / AP

The last time the Senators were successful, there were still actual Roman senators in power. Give or take a few years.


18. Michal Neuvirth's "Retirement Home"

Rob Carr / Getty Images

The front of Neuvirth's mask bears a standard Capitals logo, but he also features two nice tributes to influential goalies in his life. On the right side is a drawing of former Capitals goalkeeper Olaf Kolzig, and on the left side is a drawing of Czech legend Jiri Holeček.


16. Jonas Hiller's "Anaheim School of Architecture and Design"

Photo by Harry How / Getty Images

This is the best of the bunch in the "stylized team logos" category, but it looks like a grad student in a graphic design class made it.

The "Goalies Making a Statement" Division:


12. Henrik Lundqvist's "In Case You Forgot, I Hail from Sweden"

Elsa / Getty Images

That's Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman. On the side of a professional goaltender's hockey mask. At least he didn't opt for a "Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" mask.

11. Antti Niemi's "In Case You Forgot, I Hail from Finland"

Photo by Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Although that looks like the logo of the Green Monkey team from "Legends of the Hidden Temple," it's actually a stylization of the Finnish national coat of arms.


9. Jose Theodore's "Survivor Immunity Idol"

Joel Auerbach / Getty Images

The official title of this design, made by artist David Gunnarsson, is "Tiki Gargoyles." Jose Theodore is historically all over the place with his mask designs; he once had a sexy cat on his mask.

8. Niklas Backstrom's "Green Wild"

Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT

The Minnesota Wild have an ambiguous wild animal as their logo, and it's up for debate what animal the silhouette represents. It could be a bear, a misshapen wolf, or any number of wild cats. Niklas Backstrom's had few different animals on his mask during his Wild tenure, but the very fierce green panther for 2013 is the best yet.


6. Pekka Rinne's "Crazy Wolf Creature Wearing a Hockey Mask That May Have Formely Been the Face of Another Animal"

Photo by Victor Decolongon / Getty Images

This design narrowly beat out a painting of Chris Hansen.

4. Ilya Bryzgalov's "Pensive Tiger"

Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

Ilya Bryzgalov is one of the craziest characters in the NHL — last year, when a reporter asked him about the Penguins' scoring threats, he replied he was afraid only of bears in the forest. He is not, presumably, afraid of tigers.

3. Tuukka Rask's "Bear Scaring Ilya Bryzgalov"

Brian Snyder / Reuters

The Flyers lost three of four games against the Bruins last year, and that was without this mask. Tuukka Rask is doing what it takes to win.


2. Jason LaBarbera's "Ode to CM Punk"

Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Jason LaBarbera is a HUGE WWE fan. LaBarbera's previously donned a mask paying tribute to The Undertaker, Bret Hart, Vince McMahon, and Shawn Michaels. He's currently got a photo of CM Punk plastered on his mask, and was probably crushed when Punk lost the title to The Rock at Royal Rumble.