The Winter Olympics are now officially in the books, but a return to normalcy will be brief for the Chicago Blackhawks.
The defending NHL champs have just one game (Thursday against the Rangers in New York) before they bundle up and head to Soldier Field on Saturday for the final Stadium Series tilt of the season.
As is typical for these showcase games, the Blackhawks’ goalies recently unveiled the special gear they’ll be wearing for the outdoor matchup with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Corey Crawford’s new goalie mask is rather pedestrian, but rookie Antti Raanta’s is a thing of beauty.
Antti Raanta (@AnttiRaanta) February 24, 2014
Fans of the NHL in the 1990s will immediately recognize the helmet design as an homage to Hockey Hall of Famer Ed “The Eagle” Belfour, who spent the first decade of his career with the Blackhawks.
“If you think about great Chicago Blackhawks (goaltenders), you think of Eddie Belfour, and everybody says ‘Eddie the Eagle,’” Raanta said, via NHL.com. “I didn’t have any ideas for the outdoor game mask, and I was thinking it would be nice to respect a great goalkeeper in that kind of game. … I don’t know what Eddie thinks about that, but I hope he likes it.”
While perhaps not Belfour-esque, Raanta has been solid in his first taste of NHL action, posting a 12-2-3 record in 19 games this season.