BostonBruins.com — Niklas Svedberg may not quite fit the bill of a "gangster."
The six-foot-tall Swedish import’s English is getting better. He’s playing hockey in North America for the very first time, adjusting to the style of play, and the scenery.
Still, the Scandinavian transplant has a little "gangster" in him... or, at the very least, on him.
After skating through a practice in Providence last month, Svedberg showed off his new goalie mask to BostonBruins.com. One of the dominant images on the helmet is the Godfather’s Don Vito Corleone, painted in black-and-white on the mask’s left side.
"David Gunnarsson, a Swedish guy, he paints my mask, and he paints a lot of ice masks over here," Svedberg said, palming the mask. "I told him I wanted a pretty clean, nice Bruins mask, so he made the Bear here on the back on one side.
"I think it’s pretty nice. It mixes the colors of the team."
And in true Godfather tradition, Svedberg’s mask art has been a key component of the Svedberg mask family.
"On the other side, he painted the Godfather," Svedberg explained. "It’s just a thing, ever since he’s painted my masks, I’ve had something with the Godfather on it.
"It started as a fun thing, and I just kept on going with it every year, and I think it’s a cool picture to have on the mask. Just a little bit on the side there."
Svedberg may seem mild-mannered in his conversations, but when he dons "the Don," the soft-spoken Swede flips the switch. If the mask itself wasn’t enough proof, Svedberg’s four penalty minutes should let fans know the mask is no façade.
"Those of you who have seen Niklas’ previous masks will know what he wants on his masks," Gunnarsson wrote on his website describing the mask. "I’ve done many masks for Niklas, and he has a favorite movie always showing up on his mask’s
"But this time painted I it in a new way. I love to paint in new styles and always come up with new ideas."