Canine Sidekick Has Raanta Feeling Lucky
New York’s Antti Raanta has brought a touch of European culture to the NHL with a new mask design by Dave Gunnarsson of DaveArt.
The 26-year old’s new artwork features Rantaplan, the canine sidekick of Belgian cartoon hero Lucky Luke. While cowboy Luke was known to “shoot faster than his shadow”, Rantaplan was presented more as a spoof of Rin Tin Tin and quickly gained the moniker “the stupidest dog in the universe”.
“Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers loves a certain dog from the wild west” Gunnarsson explained on his Facebook page “This dog is also his nickname, so Antti was sure he wanted his buddy dog transformed into this dog goalie! Such a cool tribute to a cool dog.”
First appearing in 1946, Lucky Luke comic strips have been translated in to thirty different languages and continue to appear today, despite the death of original artist Morris in 2001, and have included ‘special appearances’ from historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Calamity Jane.
Rantanplan even got his own spin off series, which began in 1986 and included a 76-episode TV show in 2006.
This is not the first time Raanta has featured popular fictional characters from European literature on his mask, having previously worked with Gunnarsson on a Moomins design.
As a result, the Rauma, Finland native is gaining a reputation for sporting some of the more fun and creative motifs around the league – and with good reason!
Raanta has gone 4-2-0 with the Rangers so far this season, his first on Broadway, posting a .945 save percentage and 1.48 goals-against average and one shut out.