Ryan Miller Hits Right Notes on New Blues Mask
When Ryan Miller was traded to the St. Louis Blues, it meant the end of an era for his longtime Buffalo Sabres mask design.
But it didn’t take Miller long to come up with a new idea for his longtime personal painter Ray Bishop of Bishop Designs.
Growing up a fan of former Blues goalie Curtis Joseph, the only question was how Miller would honour the goalie known as Cujo. He decided to imitate Joseph’s old “Trumpet” mask, which featured trumpets on both sides and musical notes on the chin.
“Ryan wanted to give a nod to Cujo’s old Trumpet mask, but with a new more modern look and guitars instead of trumpets,” Bishop told InGoal. “On the Right side is a likeness of Jimmy Page’s ‘Gold Top’ Gibson Les Paul, and on the left is a likeness of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Olympic White’ Fender Strat that he played Woodstock with. I added the scrolls up the jaw line on each side with music notes to help tie it together a bit more and to further pay homage to Cujos’ old design.”
Even the music notes are accurate representations of the artists, which would sit well with Miller, who plays the guitar. In fact, InGoal has an article that explains how paying the guitar can give goalies a better glove hand. No wonder so many play both.
As for the musical notes on Miller’s new mask, they are from songs by each artist.
“The musical notes themselves were actually taken from the intro music to ‘Stairway To Heaven’ to represent the Page side, and ‘Red House’ on the Hendrix side, per Ryan’s request,” Bishop said. “I deliberately didn’t add the musical staff lines to keep things a little bit cleaner looking, but if Ryan wants to do this same design going forward, I may add them in there next time.”
The sides of the new mask also feature the Gateway Arch rising from one side to the other, and under the Arch Bishop added “some musical notes ghosted with pearl in on the mask as if they were radiating from the guitars and moving about the mask.”
The chin features the title lettering from the W.C. Handy “St. Louis Blues” musical score, which the club is actually named after, another idea that came from Miller. And last, but not least, the top features the “Blue Note” logo itself.
The backplate includes the names of Miller’s wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, and his dog, Puck, who were both also featured as Russian nesting dolls on Miller’s popular Team USA mask for the recent 2014 Sochi Olympics. The new backplate also features the catchphrase “Miller Time,” which have been there since his time at Michigan State, as well as the bulldog and “Matt Man” tribute to his cousin Matt Schoals, who died in 2007 at age 18 after a long battle with leukemia.
All in all, a perfect representation of the Blues, Miller and his boyhood goaltending idol, Cujo.