For St. Louis Blues fans who don’t know what FTW stands for, it’s an acronym meaning “For the win”. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know because even I originally wasn’t aware of the meaning since FTW meant something else back in the days of the ECW wrestling. I leave that to your imagination.
Focusing on victory, Jordan binnington continues to win the mask game with nearly every new cover it produces. Every now and then he misses, but more often than not Binnington and his mask designer are successful.
This is the case with his Winter Classic 2022 cage. Dave Gunnarsson, unrelated to Carl Gunnarsson, has created another gem for this showcase game.
Binnington Winter Classic Mask 🔥 pic.twitter.com/dPZxuPyt9p
– The Puck Stories podcast (@thePUCKstories) 22 December 2021
The interesting thing about Gunnarsson’s latest work for Binnington is how it incorporates old-school themes while maintaining the more modern aspects. This is true all over the mask.
When you see the mask from a more distant point of view, you get this more modern and shiny look. The Blues logo, spotted on both sides of the head, has that bubble look that has been synonymous with several Blues goaltenders over the past few seasons.
This gives it a 3D look just with a little shade of white along the edges of the blue, making the Bluenote appear to be bubbling over. I’ve always been a huge fan of this design choice, especially when paired with this metallic blue.
What’s special about this design is that you have that modern 3D look, but the overall design looks like it was drawn in pencil and colored pencil. It can easily seem silly or cheesy, but there is just enough detail to make it look professional while still keeping the look flatter than a pencil drawing would have.
The edges of the colors and the Blues logo are not crisp and sharp. It looks like a hand drawn painting or colored pencil drawing, where the lines have rough edges and irregularity.
Binnington pays tribute to former Blues goalkeepers Glenn Room and Mike liut with similarities on each side of the mask as well. Again, goalkeepers are drawn in pencil, making them look similar to the characters Max Mercy drew in the Natural. However, they are not cartoonish and you can tell exactly who they are even without the autograph facsimiles.
As mentioned, this hand drawn look could easily go wrong and look cheap. Instead, Gunnarsson struck the right balance between making it sleek and matching the vintage look of the team’s 2022 Winter Classic uniforms.
Blue is that softer blue that St. Louis will have on its shoulders and logo. Rather, white is a cream color that matches the color of the jersey, but also looks like the drawings made on paper.
All of this also matches the new pads from Binnington. Binnington have unveiled new pads with their new face mask and while the white is much cleaner and crisper, the overall look matches the set well.
Unfortunately, this all contrasts with City Husso. As of December 26, Husso had not unveiled a new mask and his choice of pad was rather disappointing.
It’s hard to tell if the new Husso pads are black or a VERY dark brown, but either way it just doesn’t work for me. In the video, Binnington says he likes the contrast, but not me personally.
If Husso had gone for this tougher-looking brown, making him look like the kind of pads goalkeepers wore until the ’70s or’ 80s, he would have been suited. Looks like he grabbed some stamps at the store and they weren’t colors he needed.
Either way, the choices Binnington made continue to show he got it. Say whatever you want with his attitude, whether or not you like his boast or bravado. He understands the history of this team.
He’s honored just about every goalie in team history. He had the CuJo mask to go with the retro jerseys and he had the Fuhr inspired mask for the 2021-22 season so far.
He now featured two of the Blues’ most prominent goalkeepers of yesteryear on his Winter Classic mask.
Maybe Liut, who is also Binnington’s agent, will take a slightly lower percentage because of that honor. It’s unlikely, but Binner can still hope.
Whether coincidentally or not, Hall’s first game for the Blues was against the Minnesota North Stars. The Winter Classic will be against the Minnesota Wild.
Now if Binnington can match Jake allenWinter Classics record, Blues and fans alike will thank you.