Marc-Andre Fleury honors favorite teammates with new mask
Stephane Bergeron of Griff Airbrush designs received a call around New Year’s Eve from Pittsburgh Penguins starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and his equipment manager, Dana Heinze.
Fleury wanted a new mask.
The two have worked together on a number of mask designs for the Penguins netminder, but this one was a little different. Fleury wanted it to be a tribute – not to Penguins of years past, but to the teammates he’s loved to skate out with.
In honor of the team’s 50th anniversary – and the upcoming outdoor game against the Philadelphia Flyers – Fleury and Heinze sent Bergeron pictures of the teammates and former players that Fleury wanted featured on his mask. The two agreed to feature some likenesses and some names listed on the mask, with a longer list and the team’s Stanley Cup banners featured on the backplate, as well. Take a look:
From Sidney Crosby to backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, long-time defensemen Brooks Orpik and Sergei Gonchar to fourth-line specialist (and fellow team pranskter) Joe Vitale, the mask is a touching nod to the players that have impacted Fleury over his many years with the club. There’s Mark Recchi, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brandon Sutter, and Matt Cooke. There’s even Fleury’s old goalie coach, Gilles Meloche.
Initially, Fleury wanted yellow wire for his cage, but Bergeron suggested black – so the netminder will be trying out that color scheme to see if it affects his vision on the ice. Add in the 50 years logo down on the neck and it’s a memorable mask that Penguins fans are sure to love.
After receiving the mask, Fleury decided to add a few more honorees, writing in Matt Niskanen’s nickname “Nisky” as well as “Neal” for James Neal. (Both played with the Penguins between 2010-11 and 2013-14.) But sometimes friendship hurts. In Game 3 of the Penguins’ Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Washington Capitals, Niskanen cross-checked Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the head, giving him a concussion. Fleury took his revenge, his gloriously petty revenge.
Fleury taped over Niskanen's name on his mask. pic.twitter.com/qmU5SImOIV
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) May 4, 2017