Elvis Merzlikins hasn't spent much time yet in the city of Columbus or as a Blue Jacket, but he still knows how important the team is to the city and the fanbase.
The latest proof of that is in his latest set of equipment, which the Latvian goaltender has debuted in practice the past few days. The two leg pads, as well as the blocker and catching glove, feature the Columbus city skyline and the stylized Ohio flag that is part of the team's logo.
While Merzlikins just joined the team this year after starring with HC Lugano in Switzerland in previous seasons, he said he wanted to honor the city and the team's fans with his pad design.
"I wanted to do something from the city," he said. "It's more for the fans. They are doing a really good job every game in the stands. They are pretty loud. Even in the tough moments, they've never left us. They were with us, so I think it's important for the city and the fans."
Merzlikins is no stranger to making statements with his gear -- or his body, as he has a number of tattoos dedicated to important people and events in his life. He previously detailed how his first CBJ goalie mask was a tribute to the fan base, and he previously has adorned his pads with the Latvian national team and with HC Lugano with special tributes to his home and city.
He said this time around, he worked with his Bauer equipment rep and was sent a number of designs before settling on the skyline theme. Now Merzlikins -- who has a .919 save percentage in his past four appearances -- is looking forward to seeing what the 5th Line has to say about his new setup.
"I hope they are going to love them," he said with a smile.