The Pittsburgh Penguins will be sporting a new look when they host the Philadelphia Flyers outside at Heinz Stadium on Feb. 25 - and that includes the goalies in particular.
Now, thanks to Penguins’ head equipment manager Dana Heinze, we get an even closer look at the new masks Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury have made up for the game.
They both have the same color scheme, naturally - both goalies have been really good about embracing the black and gold - but Fleury’s is more meaningful.
Case in point: the back of his mask.
The back plates of the goalie masks. pic.twitter.com/2sdXycuF2L— Dana Heinze (@RealDanaHeinze) February 6, 2017
Murray’s looks cool - literally - but Fleury’s is an homage to teammates past and present.
Craig Adams, Deryk Engelland, Joe Vitale, Jocelyn Thibault, Brent Johnson, Robert Bortuzzo, Bill Guerin, Tomas Vokoun, Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Rupp, Sebastien Caron - those are just some of the names I can make out on the back of Fleury’s mask.
Names for the former teammates; pictures of many of the current - or at least more recent ones - on the sides.
M.A. Fleury's mask up close pic.twitter.com/v4We0700tb— Dana Heinze (@RealDanaHeinze) February 6, 2017
On first thought, that’s a really nice idea.
Then you remember the game is on Feb. 25. The NHL trade deadline this year is March 1. The expansion draft has complicated things for the Penguins’ goalies, and ultimately, if they want to keep Murray - which, considering both his youth and talent, they should - then that means Fleury is going to have to be traded.
His Stadium Series mask is a reflection of the 13 seasons he’s spent with the Penguins. Nearly 800 games, including the playoffs.
Of course Murray’s mask looks more generic: he doesn’t have the history to draw from that Fleury does. And I’d be very willing to bet Fleury had this made in mind knowing it’s entirely possible this could be it for him as a Penguin.
If that’s not a punch to the gut, I’m not sure what else is.
Good news, though: Fleury looks pretty awesome in his gear, mask included.