Updated January 23, 2011 with exclusive quotes from Kari about the mask.
Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen and Dave Gunnarsson are a guaranteed combination for producing the coolest masks in the NHL. Kari is rocking this new lid now – a tribute to Wyatt Earp and the movie Tombstone.
In Gunnarsson’s words:
“I created the painting in black, white and gold. I recreated Wyatt Earp, played by one of my favs Kurt Russell, on one side and his buddy Doc Holiday, played by Val Kilmer, on the other side. The holster on one side was a special wish from Kari, and it’s an exact reproduction of Holiday’s holster in the movie.”
Gunnarsson clearly put s lot of thought into the design – but why did Kari want it in the first place? He told InGoal that it came because of a clip from Tombstone played at Stars home games,
“I just needed a new mask and I saw the movie and thought it was good and also some parts of the movie they play on the big screen at our home games and I asked the trainers ‘what’s that movie clip?'”
For a goalie who consistently has the top designs in the NHL, Lehtonen seems almost disinterested in the process and importance of them, telling InGoal,
“I get new ones every year and I wanted to get something different. Maybe when you were a teenager or a kid it was more important but I’m not too worried about what’s on my mask. It’s more for the fans, they get excited about what’s going to be on the mask so it’s something I like to do but don’t really worry about it too much.”
So after the interest his three Stars helmets drew from fans, one of them must be his favorite, right? Well, not not really. You’d have to go back to Finland for that one,
“I dont know. I like the Joker one I had with my old team in Finland called the Jokers.”
Be sure to check back next week for a feature on Lehtonen’s improved play in Dallas this season, but in the meantime if you need Finnish goaltending fix, check out InGoal Magazine’s Ask A Pro interview with Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jussi Rynna, who may be one of the only goalies from his home country to grow up without a goaltending coach, which also helps explain has gone from beer league to NHL prospect in just three years.
And for more fantastic masks checkout daveart.com where Dave Gunarrsson shows off all his great work.