BostonBruins.com — A goalie’s mask is very much his identity.
It's the image he's most known by. It's his face to most fans and it's what his opponents will recognize first when he takes the ice.
Looking at Malcolm Subban’s new mask, it's clear the Bruins goaltending prospect had one thing on his mind when choosing a new identity: striking fear in his shooters.
Clearly, the opposition already had plenty to worry about when number 30 mans the crease for Belleville (or Team Canada). Subban is one of the top goaltenders in the OHL this season, and ranks in the top five in goals against average, save percentage, shutouts and shootout wins.
"I just wanted something cool looking," explained the young net minder of his new mask, "something that I guess looks a little scary.
“I’ve got the grim reaper," he added. "I wanted to get that on the side."
The reaper is the dominant image on Subban's facial protection.
The ancient visage encompasses much of the left side as a dastardly skeleton, draped in a black cloak with fangs protruding from its face, its boney hands holding a long scythe. The blade extends from the side of the mask, over the top and through the cage.
In short, the finished product from artist David Leroux certainly has the "scary" feel Subban was hoping for.
"I had a vision for Dave," Subban said, just a couple of days before Halloween. "I just told him a couple of things I wanted.
"Other than that I just gave him a lot of free range to do whatever he wanted."
And creativity was certainly exercised by the mask’s artist as he finished the job, which has much more to the mask than the reaper. It is flanked by the Belleville Bull, outlined in sharp red and filled with a lava-like orange, which gives the illusion the helmet is on fire.
The same color scheme occupies Subban’s number 30, which sits on the masks chin, and on the back lives the Boston Bruins logo and a biblical verse picked out by Subban.
"The main thing with the philosophy is you want the colors to match your uniform," explained the goalie. "I wanted to make it a little bit more creative and special."
As for his old mask, Subban gave it a proper going away party when he posted a 31-save shutout against Kingston.
This week, Subban hopes to use his practice time to adjust to the new protection.
"Usually if it’s tighter or something because it’s new foam, it will take a couple of practices to break it down and mold to your head," he said. "So it will hurt for maybe a few practices, but after that, it’s fine."
And Subban made it clear his old mask has seen its last bit of action, even if the new set doesn’t bring him immediate luck.
"I’m not that superstitious," Subban said with a chuckle. "I definitely won’t be changing masks if I have a bad game."