HbD Masks: 2018-19 Western Conference Preview

By Ally Koss
In Ally Koss
Sep 12th, 2018
3 Comments

The 2018-19 season is fast approaching, and new masks are starting to be unveiled. We’ll be breaking down the newest bucket art from across the league and grading the designs according to style, legibility, composition and branding (if you’ve read the Bucket Bracket Showdowns, you know the drill).

• More: HbD Masks: 2017-18 Western Conference Preview
• More: HbD Masks: 2016-17 Western Conference Preview

Keep checking back, as we’ll continue to add new masks to the roundup as they roll out before the season gets underway.

2018-19 Eastern Conference Preview »

 

Ryan Miller, Anaheim Ducks

Ray Bishop (Bishop Designs)

The Ducks are celebrating their 25th anniversary this season with a retro third jersey to honor the milestone. Piggybacking on the Mighty theme, artist Ray Bishop created a stunning pair of masks for Ryan Miller to match.

• More: HbD Breakdown: Anaheim Ducks Third Jersey

The primary orange mask is quite similar to what Miller sported last season, where Bishop transformed the bucket into the duck face mask from the original Mighty Ducks logo. This year’s iteration has a few extra touches, including the beach scene silhouetted in the eyes and the 25th anniversary logo subtly stenciled on the side. The back plate remains almost entirely unchanged, showcasing Miller’s family on the beach with the phrase “Miller Time” underneath.

 

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The alternate mask is equally as stunning but has an extra punch due to the nostalgia factor of the eggplant and teal color palette. The design is essentially a carbon copy of the primary mask with the colors swapped out, but I especially love how the teal eyes and purple feathers pop in contrast to the white mask. It’ll be really exciting to see this bucket worn with the team’s new third jerseys, and Bishop gets brownie points for considering the alternate color palette and creating a mask accordingly. I don’t give out perfect scores lightly, but this duo deserves it.

Grade: A+

 

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Also with a new 25th anniversary Ducks bucket is John Gibson, but Gibson and artist Dave Gunnarsson took a slightly different approach from Miller and Bishop. “John knew for sure what he wanted on this bucket,” the artist explained on Instagram. “He wanted it to be a tribute to the 25 years anniversary of the Ducks.”

• More: HbD Interviews: Dave Gunnarsson

Gunnarsson incorporated the various Ducks logos from their 25 year history, including the original Mighty logo in textured 4D paint on top and small duck feet stamped throughout. The anniversary logo is the focal point of the design, painted with a chrome effect on each side of the mask.

Despite how busy this design is with so many different textures and paint techniques, Gunnarsson does a good job of evenly distributing the styles, like using the 4D texture on the top and on the chin, so that the composition and hierarchy are balanced. It’s a bit of a disappointment to see Gibson stray from his playful Pac-Duck mask days, but this design doesn’t give us too much to complain about.

Grade: B

 

John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks

Shell Shock Designs

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. John Gibson has a second mask from the folks at Shell Shock Designs, and it’s pretty damn fantastic. Inspired by Guy Hebert’s iconic Ducks mask, the design is a perfect compliment to the team’s throwback third jerseys with the eggplant and teal color palette.

Keeping the same composition as Hebert’s original, the artist injected some modern flair like lightning strikes and chrome effects to bring the design into the 21st century. Nods to Gibson’s hometown of Pittsburgh, like the city skyline, Pirates and Steelers logos are subtly incorporated throughout, and the orange sticks on the logo on top reference the team’s new brand and coloring of the logo on the third jersey.

My favorite part of this mask however is on the back, a tribute to the 2007 Stanley Cup Championship team, that brings the Cup right back to the Honda Center ice.

The artists at Shell Shock did a great job of interpreting this iconic design for 2018, and if Hebert himself approves, well then who are we to disagree?

Grade: A

 

Antti Raanta, Arizona Coytotes

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Raanta, who has been known to include colorful cartoon characters on his buckets, went full wild west with this Daveart design, transforming the mask into a covered wagon with a canine depiction of Arizona marshal Wyatt Earp. The concept here is fun for a team located in the desert, but the composition contains enough for about five masks all jammed into one.

Even in comparison to Raanta’s locomotive mask from last season, the wagon is so compacted that the design looks cluttered from the bottom up. The choice to make the dogs the same color as the wagon doesn’t help Gunnarsson’s design from a legibility standpoint either, as all of the workmanship and detail just gets lost in this huge shuffle.

Kudos for creativity and running with a signature theme here, but this mask is another case of when less would have been more.

Grade: D

 

Cam Ward, Chicago Blackhawks

Steve Nash (Eyecandyair)

Blackhawks newcomer Cam Ward has a non-Hurricanes mask for the first time in his career. Painted by Ward’s long time artist Steve Nash, Wardo has abandoned the pirate theme of his past to make a fresh start in Chicago. “We were very excited to hear that Cam would be playing in Chicago,” the artist recently told InGoal Magazine, “but it also meant we would have to redesign his identifiable Blackbeard pirate skull mask as that had historical significance to Carolina.”

With a desaturated color palette, Nash created a collage-like composition by repeating the Blackhawks’ logo on each side and incorporating design elements from the team’s brand and history. The negative space in the center is filled with a scaled back rendering of the Hawks’ secondary “C” logo to give the design some depth, and the nod to Murray Bannerman on the chin is a particularly nice touch (in case you didn’t know how much I like Bannerman’s mask, there’s a poster of it).

The traditional airbrush style isn’t something we see much of in today’s NHL but that Nash does exceptionally well. The end product here is clean and well-balanced – far more appealing than some of Ward’s more cluttered designs – so a solid start to his career in Chicago.

Grade: B+

 

 

Anton Forsberg, Chicago Blackhawks

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Another Blackhawk changing things up with a new bucket design is Anton Forsberg. Forsberg and artist Dave Gunnarsson worked together to create a tribute to late EDM artist, Avicii, of who both the goaltender and artist were fans.

“Anton knew what he wanted on his new mask, he wanted to pay tribute to the Swedish DJ legend Tim Bergling, a.k.a Avicii, who recently passed away,” Gunnarsson shared of the concept. “Just as Anton, I am also a big admirer of his music and person and family.” Gunnarsson even went as far as to share the design with Avicii’s family before revealing it to the public as a gesture of respect.

With the exception of the portrait of Bergling on the left side, the rest of the mask is super brand-centric, using a large Blackhawks logo on the top and the team’s iconic striping on the sides. The composition is pretty traditional by Daveart standards, but certainly more appropriate for a tribute mask.

Grade: B

 

Philipp Grubauer, Colorado Avalanche

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Yet another Daveart mask unveiled for the new season is the next iteration of Philipp Grubauer’s “Desolation of Grubi” series. “Grubi and I have been working together for many years, and this is his eleventh chapter in his latest Grubi series of masks,” Gunnarsson explained, “his first Avs mask.” For the goaltender’s first season in Colorado, the artist created a brand-centric design incorporating an illustrative depiction of the Rocky Mountains.

 

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Mixing effects like holograms, sketch pen, traditional airbrushing and Gunnarsson’s new “4D experience” textured drawings, this mask has a lot of dimension and visual interest. Even though there’s a lot going on, the decision to keep the color palette minimal and blocked into large maroon and blue areas helps give the design definition and clarity, even from afar.

Gunnarsson blends the different styles together quite well in this design, creating a successful and aesthetically pleasing piece even with this level of detail.

Grade: B

 

Andrew Hammond, Minnesota Wild

Jason Bartziokas

After spending the majority of his career in Ottawa followed by a brief stint in Colorado, Andrew Hammond and artist Jason Bartziokas bring us the goaltenders first mask a member of the Minnesota Wild. Now I’ve said this before, but artists are faced with added challenges when designing for Wild goaltenders given the team’s difficult logo and somewhat abstract brand imagery.

During his time in Ottawa, Hammond became known as the Hamburglar and thus began sporting masks to match. I’m glad to see that Bartziokas has continued this playful theme, and even evolved it to suit the goaltender’s new city, depicting the Hamburglar as a lumberjack on the left side. What’s unfortunate however is that the color palette and lack of balance of this mask make it hard to understand what’s going on. The two characters stand out with the glow effect around them, but the rest of the detail gets lost in the shuffle. Had the lumber-burglar taken more of a front seat in the composition with fewer the white areas, the design would’ve been more legible and ultimately successful.

Grade: B-

 

Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks

Steve Nash (Eyecandyair)

Another new mask from Eyecandyair is Martin Jones’ new Sharks bucket, and damn is this thing sharp. Nash has a knack for creating logo-centric designs with super dynamic compositions, and this one is no different.

 

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Not straying far from Jones’ past Sharks buckets, the biggest difference in this year’s design is the lack of lacing on the chin. While I’ve always been a fan of that element and was bummed to see it go, the V shape created by the two shark heads is super dynamic and smartly thought out by Nash. The way in which the symmetrical sharks create a perfect V in the center and then flow up the sides of the mask is really great, as is the layering and hierarchy between the SJ logos and the shark forms.

Adding orange metallic foil to the eyes was a nice finishing touch on this mask to give it some pizazz, but the composition here is really what shines and shows off Nash’s eye for design.

Grade: A-

 

 

Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

After sporting one of the most polarizing yet in my opinion stunning masks of the last few years, Jake Allen has a new artist and a totally new aesthetic for the 2018-19 season. Working with Dave Gunnarsson, Allen went from retro minimalism to the visual embodiment of his “Jake the snake” nickname.

“Jake I and brainstormed during the summer how to create it,” the artist shared of the process. “We wanted to do it with snakes, but in a new style, something never done.” The end product, which Gunnarsson describes as ” raw and rough and aggressive” is created entirely of scales, which is actually a pretty cool concept for a goaltender nicknamed “the snake.” My issue with this mask is that the design ends up looking less snake-like and more like Ben Grimm.

 

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The texture created in the numbers on the chin look more like stonework, which further removes the pattern from the realm of scales, and the design ultimately ends up looking confused. I do like the negative space Blues note on top, and as always, the workmanship and detail in Gunnarsson’s masks are second to none, but this one, sad to say, is a miss.

Grade: C-

 

Chad Johnson, St. Louis Blues

Jason Bartziokas

Well damn, isn’t this just beautiful. Painted by Jay Bartziokas, the smart composition and flawless execution make Chad Johnson’s new Blues mask a total stunner.

Using the Blues’ logo as the sole design element, Bartziokas created a dynamic and balanced symmetrical composition with multiple layers of detail. The boldness of the notes’ wings in the rich navy blue outlined in gold create contrast and depth that give this simple design punch. The illusion chrome and tiny holographic notes (straight out of the Daveart playbook) provide enough additional interest without overwhelming the viewer.

One of my favorite things about this mask though is the white lacquer cage and small “31”s inside the face mask. Putting Johnson’s number on the chin of the mask would have been the most predictable design choice, but Bartziokas’ decision to work the small typography into the white space behind the cage was really smart and provides some retro flair. The artist also created a second version of this design using the powder blue of the team’s third jerseys, which is equally as stunning, and will look great with the alternate uniform.

• More: HbD Breakdown: St. Louis Blues Heritage / Third Jersey

Overall, I really love both these masks. Executing such a simple design so flawlessly isn’t easy, and Bartziokas really knocked it out of the park.

Grade: A+

 

Oscar Dansk, Vegas Golden Knights

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Albeit quite gold, Golden Knights’ backup goaltender Oscar Dansk’s new bucket is actually somewhat understated by both Sin City and Daveart standards. Titled “Vegas Love,” the more conservative design serves as a tribute to the victims who lost their lives in the mass shooting last October.

“Oscar had a beautiful idea for his new mask,” Gunnarsson shared. “A Vegas Golden Knight helmet is created on the mask for each and every of the 58 victims. All helmets are placed on the top of the mask, closest to heaven.”

A post shared by David Gunnarsson (@daveart) on

In addition to the 58 small logos honoring each of the victims, Gunnarsson included the “Vegas Strong” logo on the chin of the mask to further solidify the theme. The rest of the design relies solely on the Knights’ logos, using a zoomed and cropped primary logo on the left side of the mask and the secondary star and sword logo on the right. I particularly like what Gunnarsson did with the four pointed stars, pulling them out of the somewhat childish logo and letting them stand alone down each side of the mask. It almost further emphasizes the idea of the 58 victims being shown in heaven, surrounded by stars on both sides.

With the holograms and textures all over this thing, it’s definitely a Daveart-style mask, but the simplified composition and inclusion of the tribute give it something a little extra special.

Grade: B+

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3 Responses to “HbD Masks: 2018-19 Western Conference Preview”

  1. […] theft charges for eating a few slices of ham every day for eight years. … Here’s a look at every goalie mask in the NHL’s Western Conference this year. … Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones went to a Beyoncé concert together. … It sounds like […]

  2. Dave Mangan says:

    Re: Andrew Hammond’s Minnesota Wild Mask –

    That’s the Hamburgler as Paul Bunyan, with Blue the Ox on the other side. That’s friggin’ brilliant. I guarantee that just about anyone raised in the upper Midwest knows exactly what the mask means.

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