ST. LOUIS - If you had good seats to one of the Blues' preseason games this year, you might have noticed something strange about goalie Carter Hutton's mask.
At first glance, perhaps you saw a mostly-white design with a hand-painted Blue Note on top and a teardrop on the left cheek. But when you looked again, you saw a ferocious-looking skull with big, gnarly teeth.
Your mind isn't playing tricks on you - Hutton simply turned his head.
Hutton's mask designer - Jesse Acciacaa of Jesse's Custom Design Airbrush Studio - created a two-sided design for the new Blues goaltender this year.
"He likes to do half-and-half, and I let him run with it," Hutton said recently. "I'm not very creative when it comes to that kind of stuff, but he is."
The vicious skull side is just creativity at it's finest - not much story to it other than it looks awesome. But the white hand-painted-Blue-Note-and-tear-drop side is a tribute to former Blues goalie Ed Staniowski, who first suited up for the club in 1975. Staniowski's mask was also the basis for a mask for former Blues goalie Hannu Toivonen, who played 23 games with the Blues during the 2007-08 season.
"It's very unique," Hutton said of this year's design.
But what about the back plate?
"There's a fish, because every summer, I have a fish derby back home with some friends and that fish is on the T-shirts we made," Hutton said. "That's a tribute to my friends and family back home, something to remind me of where I came from."