Andersen Retro Leafs Pads Show Power Of Digital Graphics
Like a lot of goaltenders who have played in the NHL’s outdoor games over the years, Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen wanted to mark the special occasion with a unique set of equipment.
For Andersen, that meant a tribute to Curtis Joseph and the Bauer Reactor pads he wore during his time with the Leafs, but Andersen had another reason for chose this particular design among the many Cujo wore in Toronto. Andersen’s father, Ernst, also wore them during his pro career in Denmark.
“I was at dinner with the guys from Bauer before the season and we talked about some old classic designs and I liked Cujo’s a lot,” Andersen said in a text message to InGoal. “Plus my dad once wore that pad, so I asked if they could do that for the outdoor game since they started printing the pad anyway.”
That “printing” part is the other thing that makes Andersen’s first outdoor NHL start so unique: His new equipment may look like another set of the “throwback” or “heritage” gear fans have seen at past events, but it is actually the first digitally printed custom graphic of its kind to appear on any pad.
Andersen’s new pads may look like a set of old Bauer Reactors but the rounded outer rolls, traditional knee rolls and leather straps that appear to be coming through the face of the pad on the shin are not real. They are all part of a digital graphic printed onto the same flat-faced Bauer Supreme 1S OD1N pads and gloves that Andersen has worn for two seasons now, and provide a glimpse into the future of custom gear.
“It’s nice to see the pads again, they look amazing,” Joseph told NHL.com after watching Andersen practice for the Centennial Classic. “I guess it’s a print but they look just like the pads that I wore.”
Some goalies weren’t happy about the limited customization options when Bauer first launched the Supreme 1S OD1N at retail this season. InGoal hinted in a lengthy magazine preview of the new pads that the digitally-printed layer that is one of five in Bauer’s radical new C.O.R.TECH skin that could eventually make OD1N the most customizable pad on the market. While the back-end work needed to make unlimited custom options available to the public is still in the works, expect to see more unique designs like Andersen’s appearing in the pro ranks over the next couple of months (and some a lot sooner).
For Andersen, that means being able to honor Cujo and his dad without sacrificing the performance properties he cited for switching to the Bauer Supreme 1S OD1N his last season in Anaheim:
Andersen wore his new “Reactor” pads for the first time in practice on Tuesday, and while a photo by the Toronto Sun from that day has since made the rounds on social media, InGoal did not want to publish to share that photograph because the copyright was controlled by Sun and PostMedia, so we waited for Andersen to send an image with permission from the photographer. InGoal did, however, obtain some footage sent to us when Andersen skated in the pads in Tampa Bay on Thursday, and while it was small and grainy, it at least provides a glimpse into how natural the vintage look appears in action: