The 2022 Bucket Bracket Showdown: Round 2
Well, we’ve successfully made it to round two –– maybe, if you’re like me, with slightly higher blood pressure and bigger under eye bags. The field has been cut in half, and the second round has brought us some stellar mask match ups. If you haven’t yet read our first round picks, you can catch up here.
As a reminder, each mask will be evaluated on artistry, creativity, legibility, use of team branding, and overall aesthetic value. So let’s get after it!
Florida Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Sergei Bobrovsky (Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart) vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy (Sylvie Marsolais, Sylabrush)
The second round brought us the battle of Florida and a doozy of a goaltending dual between two former Vezina winners in Sergei Bobrovsky and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa took game one, but who would win the series between these two masks? Let’s start with Bob.
A long-time Daveart client, Bobrovsky has been consistent in his use of the brick wall motif, the cliche of all cliches when it comes to goalies, if you ask me (which if you’re reading this, I suppose you did!). Gunnarsson puts in his usual tricks, with loads of texture and some light flairs sprinkled in, but my issue with this mask is that it could be anyone’s. The Panthers’ brand certainly shines through, but it feels generic to the point that it could be one of those mini masks you buy in the team store. Ooof.
• More: HbD Interviews: Sylvie Marsolais
Vasilevskiy on the other hand has built a signature style all his own with artist Sylvie Marsolais. Marsolais’ skill and artistry really shine in her work with Vasy, showing off her ability to combine multiple styles and textures seamlessly into one cohesive piece.
It’s really not much of a contest here. Tampa sweeps the series.
Result: Bolts in 4
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers
Antti Raanta (Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart) vs. Igor Shesterkin (Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart)
After a little goaltending scare in round one, Antti Raanta is back and ready to take on Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers in a Metro division showdown. Both of these players are Daveart clients, so their masks are quite similar in style, but let’s take a closer look.
As we mentioned in round one, Raanta’s mask is creative, but weird as hell. His affinity for a cartoonish style doesn’t really lend itself to quality design, legibility or pleasing aesthetics, so let’s move on.
Shesterkin leans heavily into the Rangers’ brand and history, paying homage to future hall of famer, Henrik Lundqvist. Aesthetically, it’s not a great merging of styles between the sketch pen portraiture and the high-gloss typography, but it’s certainly more digestible than Raanta’s.
• More: HbD Interviews: Dave Gunnarsson
With a Daveart head-to-head, this one is pretty close, but ultimate the Rangers take the series in six.
Result: Rangers in 6
Colorado Avalanche vs. St. Louis Blues
Darcy Kuemper (Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart) vs. Jordan Binnington (Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart)
Out west we have another all-Daveart match up between Darcy Kuemper, and Jordan Binnington who surprised many by taking over in net from Ville Husso in round one. He showed he was up for the challenge in round two, making 51 stops (!) in the first game despite taking the L in OT.
Despite the excitement on the ice between these two teams, the mask art is pretty lackluster. We’ve been pretty critical of Binnington in the past for his super generic buckets. Like in 2019:
Binnington’s Daveart mask unfortunately doesn’t bring much to the table in terms of personal style or composition… this mask looks more like a collectible the team would sell online than an actual NHL goaltender’s bucket. Any detail work that Gunnarsson included gets lost due to the cluttered effects and similar tones in the color palette.
Still true. We cut him some slack three years ago as a rookie, but by now, Binnington should’ve found himself a signature style.
Kuemper’s at least gives us a little more artistry when it comes to the abstract interpretation of the Rockies, but frankly both of these are pretty underwhelming, and Kuemper sneaks away with a win in seven.
Result: Colorado in 7
Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers
Jacob Markstrom (Jordon Bourgeault, J Bo Airbrush) vs. Mike Smith (David Arrigo)
Lastly, we have the Battle of Alberta (or “Canadian Florida” as someone on Twitter described it) and a behemoth mask TANDEM showdown between Markstrom’s J Bo Airbrush creations and Smith’s David Arrigo masterpieces. You heard that right, both these goaltenders have TWO masks a piece.
Markstrom’s duo of buckets are nearly identical in composition but feature different color palettes. The red and yellow are super bold and slick, and immediately catch your eye, but Bourgeault shows off his talents even more in the neutral toned mask, adding a ton of texture and detail into the bone.
Not to be outdone, Mike Smith owns two of the best masks in the league this year, both by David Arrigo. The first, which we looked at in round one, is a Grant Fuhr tribute that swept Jonathan Quick’s armor motif with ease.
Not to alienate any legendary netminders, Smith’s second mask is an Andy Moog tribute “ear mask” that’s somehow not as creepy as others. Arrigo perfectly captures the look and feel of Moog’s vintage mask –– a talent he’s shown us before, but that we never tire of seeing.
This one is really hard, because both these artists have gone above and beyond creating unique and beautiful pieces for their clients. That said, the detail in Smiths’ gives the Oilers the tiny push they need to finish off the Flames by the smallest of margins
Result: Oilers in 7 (OT)