HbD Masks: 2019-20 Western Conference Bucket Preview

By Ally Koss
In Ally Koss
Sep 4th, 2019
4 Comments

With less than 2 months until the 2019-20 season, new masks are starting to be unveiled by artists and goaltenders alike. For goalie gear enthusiasts, this time of year is like Christmas morning, as we get to see each netminder’s unique style in how they decide to design their buckets.

• More: HbD Masks: 2018-19 Western Conference Preview
• More: HbD Masks: 2017-18 Western Conference Preview
• More: HbD Masks: 2016-17 Western Conference Preview

If you’re a regular reader, you know the drill; we’ll look at each mask’s style, legibility, composition and branding, and give them grades accordingly. Be sure to keep checking back, as we’ll continue to add new masks to the roundup as they roll out before the season gets underway.

• More: HbD Masks: 2019-20 Eastern Conference Bucket Preview

Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

For Cam Talbot’s first mask with the Flames, the goaltender went back to a familiar artist and some familiar themes. Titled “Spooky Vibes in Calgary,” Dave Gunnarsson designed another Ghostbusters-themed mask for Talbot, but this time in a pointillist style. “A spooky paint ride created with thousands of small dots in red, yellow and white,” the artist described on Facebook, “[it] strong contrasts on a distance, and when you come closer, you enter the storybook of detail work.”

• More: HbD Interviews: Dave Gunnarsson

Fortunately the composition of this mask is relatively simple, which helps balance the busy detail of the pointillism. With a minimal color palette and the foreground elements kept strictly in black and grey, it allows the focus to land on the texture created by the dots and glowing lettering around the chin. While the composition is simple and legible, the pointillism adds in a new and unexpected element that give this design some visual interest and unique flair.

Grade: B+

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks

Stephane Bergeron (Griff Airbrush)

Well, if it ain’t broke… Corey Crawford’s new mask by Stephane Bergeron really isn’t that new at all, as the design is almost an exact replica of the netminder’s 2018-19 bucket by the same artist. “He just asked for the same design as last season because he really like[d it],” Bergeron told us of the mask. Executed in a soft, sort of 90’s airbrushing style, the design features prominent Blackhawks logos on the sides and in the center with soft feathers and light flare details in the background.

• More: HbD Masks #2: Corey Crawford

This is a style and composition we’ve come to expect from Crawford, dating back to his 2014 Stadium Series mask, but the lack of anything new or innovative makes this design hard to critique. Is there anything wrong? No, not really, but there’s nothing here to surprise or captivate us either.

Grade: B

Robin Lehner, Chicago Blackhawks

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Following his fan-voted favorite bucket from last season and winning the Masterton trophy with the Rangers Islanders, Robin Lehner kicked off his career in Chicago with another meaningful mask. As an outspoken advocate for mental health, Lehner recently became a celebrity ambassador for the #SameHere movement, the hashtag that’s stenciled across his mask and of the organization that strives to beat the stigma associated with mental illness.

The imagery on this mask is quite similar to that of “My Reality,” the design Dave Gunnarsson created for the goaltender last season. The demons reappear on this mask across the top, a representation of Lehner’s inner battle with addiction and Bipolar disorder. Gunnarsson also included the same abstract horizon line in this design, representing his client’s new beginning after getting sober and receiving treatment for his illness.

Aesthetically, this mask is what we’ve come to expect from Gunnarsson — packed with detail, multiple layers and special effects. The meaning behind this mask however is really great, and the larger elements like the Blackhawks logo, demons and lettering stand strong enough to move into the foreground, allowing the fine detail to recede and not become too overwhelming.

Grade: B+

Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Titled “High Voltage Phase II,” Dave Gunnarsson unveiled the next iteration in Ben Bishop’s long string of electrifying mask concepts. “It is loaded with high voltage,” the artist described on social media, “so the textile parts of the design are transformed into glowing effects.”

• More: The Bucket Bracket Showdown (The Finals)

This concept of course began during Bishop’s time in Tampa Bay, when Bish became our first ever Bucket Bracket Showdown champion in 2015. As we mentioned in last year’s roundup, the voltage theme works less when your team isn’t literally the Lightning, but Bishop was one of the first adopters of Gunnarsson’s glowing paint technology, and it fits this concept perfectly. This version is slightly more paired down from what the artist created last season, so while not quite up to the BBS championship bar, it’s a solid mask none the less.

Grade: B+

Martin Jones, San Jose Sharks

Steve Nash (Eyecandyair)

Holy smokes! Going through the mental checklist of everything you want to see in a goalie mask –– clean execution, team branding, innovation and character –– Martin Jones’ new bucket knocks every box out of the park. Painted by Jones’ longtime artist Steve Nash of Eyecandyair, this mask breaks the mold of what we’ve seen from the goaltender and artist tandem throughout Jones’ tenure with the Sharks.

Having sported variations of a similar logo-centric design year after year, Nash went a different route this season, pulling inspiration from the iconic shark head that the team emerges from at the SAP Center. “We wanted to do something based on the shark head tunnel the players skate out of,” a rep for the painter shared with us, “and also give a nod to Silicon Valley and technology.”

While there are many, and I mean MANY ideas to unpack on within this design, Nash’s knack for savvy composition and clean execution keep the mask from looking overwhelming. The way in which each element is thoughtfully placed so that your eye flows through the design here is really well done. I can’t say enough good things about this mask –– slam dunk in every sense.

Grade: A+

Jordan Binnington, St. Louis Blues

Dave Gunnarsson (Daveart)

Coming off his Stanley Cup victory, Blues netminder Jordan Binnington commissioned a brand new mask to commemorate the season. Painted by Dave Gunnarsson, the artist behind Binner’s last mask, the design builds upon the “Gritty Blues” design debuted by the goaltender last season in a really positive way.

• More: 2019 Bucket Bracket Showdown: The Finals

While Binnington got steamrolled in pretty much every round of the Bucket Bracket Showdown last season, this mask is like a polished-up version of its predecessor. From the first round of the 2019 BBS:

His Daveart bucket is unfortunately pretty underwhelming. Titled “Gritty Blues” (no, not that Gritty), this design is about as generic as they come, which is somewhat expected from a rookie goaltender who’s yet to find a signature gear style.

Keeping the gritty texture, Gunnarsson incorporates some more unique design elements this time around, like the “JB” monogram on the chin above the St. Louis arch, and the Stanley Cup Champions logo on the backplate. Overall, a solid improvement for the Stanley Cup Champion.

Grade: B+

Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas Golden Knights

Stephane Bergeron (Griff Airbrush)

Well damn, that is GOLD. It seems Fleury wasn’t content with stopping at his gilded pads from last season and did one better by commissioning a glittering gold mask for this season. Painted by Stephane Bergeron, the artist responsible for Fleury’s first Vegas mask, this design builds on the signature styles debuted over the last 2 seasons but with some added bells and whistles.

“His new mask is a blend of his 2 masks from last season. He loves them,” the artist shared. The scene on the left side of the mask, packed full of Las Vegas landmarks, is almost identical to that of Fleury’s last bucket, with the right side appearing more similar to his second Vegas mask, also painted by Bergeron.

The right side, while certainly flashy with the abundance of glitter, has a cleaner composition than left, using filigree gold foil shapes that mimic the jersey details to surround the logo and break up the gold flake. As we pointed out last season, the landscape scene is just too busy and lacks the necessary legibility to make this mask really successful. Perhaps the best view of this mask is the front, where Bergeron cleverly adapts the team logo to fit down the center. Had the color blocking and abstract interpretation of the logo carried all the way around the mask, this design would’ve scored higher marks.

Grade: B

4 Responses to “HbD Masks: 2019-20 Western Conference Bucket Preview”

  1. […] Previewing the goalie masks for the East and the West. […]

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  3. […] Previewing the goalie masks for the East and the West. […]

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