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Flyers goalie Neuvirth puts 'Rocky' on mask

by Mike Battaglino

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Michal Neuvirth has a knockout new mask.

Neuvirth chose a design centered on the "Rocky" movies for his move to Philadelphia.

Neuvirth signed a two-year contract July 1 after playing last season for the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders.

"After a few trades and some moves, there were no more spots open for a No. 1 [goalie]," Neuvirth told CSN Philadelphia on Monday. "I had to change my mindset. I was hoping for the best fit. When I got the offer from the Flyers, I felt they were the right fit for me.

"They were one of the first teams that called me. There were a couple more teams, but Philly had the best offer and I felt this was best fit for me."

The 27-year-old is expected to back up Steve Mason.

"I don’t think we have ever met in person, but I have known about him a long time,' Neuvirth said. "He's my age. I played against him on national teams when we were both 17-18 years old. I played against him in the OHL. He's a great goalie and I'm very excited to work with him this year."

Neuvirth had a .914 save percentage and 2.98 goals-against average in 32 games last season. He has a 2.73 GAA and .912 save percentage in 168 NHL games over seven seasons.

"We think he's a proven goalie. He's a good goalie," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said after Neuvirth was signed. "One of the attractive things for us with [Neuvirth] is … if something happens to [Mason] he'd have to carry the load and he's done that in the past. We think we brought in a real good goalie that's going to give us a real solid backup. I'm sure he's going to play more than the typical backup."

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