Bruins' Johnson gets his new mask

Bruins' Johnson gets his new mask
October 9, 2013, 11:00 pm
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WILMINGTON, Mass. – Chad Johnson was more than a little sheepish about wearing his old Phoenix Coyotes-inspired goalie mask for the Bruins season opener as the new backup for Tuukka Rask.

So it was with quite a bit of relief that the 27-year-old Calgary native had his new mask delivered last week prior to Game No. 2 against the Detroit Red Wings. Now, the former Rangers and Coyotes goalie will have his Black-and-Gold Bruins paint job ready to go when he appears in a game.

Johnson took an active role in the design of the paint job on the mask by DAVEART founder Dave Gunnarsson, and said he planned for a number of different themes within the goaltending head gear.

Featured prominently on each side is a giant Spoked ‘B’ Bruins logo on the left side of the mask, and the Bear logo associated with the B’s organization on the right side of the mask. In the back of the mask Johnson has a tribute to Gerry Cheevers and the No. 30 that the former Bruins great wore while winning Stanley Cups with the Bobby Orr era teams in Boston.

Johnson said he even kicked around the notion of going with the old school stitches on a goalie mask a la Cheevers, but wanted to be a little more original when it came time to make a decision.

“I know that [Steve] Shields had done that, so I wanted to do something different,” said Johnson with a smile. “But I definitely considered going with the whole brown gear and old school mask [look]. I’m just happy I’m all matching now. So I don’t have some random Coyotes helmet to the point where fans say ‘Who is that guy?’

“Some guys like [Niklas] Svedberg are a little laid back about it, but I’m pretty hands on with my mask. I just told him I wanted trim on the outside with a Bruins logo that’s big enough you can see it from far away. I’m pretty much stuck with the 1990’s look with the big logos on both sides and the trim all around it.”

Johnson also has the initials of four family members atop a red Maple Leaf in the back of the helmet – a gesture to loved ones that provided the goalie with the kind of family support every young athlete needs if they’re going to climb the professional ranks. The “A.L.” and “G.J.” are for grandfathers Alex Laslow and Gilbert Johnson as well as his uncles on his father’s side, Kelly Johnson and Larry Johnson.

“They were big hockey fans. My grandpa grew up in Drum Hill area and used to drive to Calgary to watch me play, and my dad played in the Moose Jaw-area when he was young,” said Johnson. “My uncles played a bit of hockey and they were big fans. My uncle Larry came to the World Championships a few years back in Germany to support me.

“They were all very close to me, so this was something I could do to honor them.”

Now, those sentiments will be out in the open for all to see each time Johnson straps on the goaltending equipment to give Tuukka Rask a rest throughout this season.