Coyotes’ Backup Goalie Has All-Star Caliber Mask

Jason LaBarbera, a career backup goalie on his third team in as many seasons in the league (fourth overall), is just a couple months shy of his 30th birthday and doesn’t show any signs of being a big-time goalkeeper. Only the more ardent NHL fans would know off the top of their heads who LaBarbera is. But it’s time to know him for, well, what’s on the top of his head.

Jason LaBarbera Mask

That’s LaBarbera’s goalie mask this season, and if you’re wondering, yes, that is the Ultimate Warrior on LaBarbera’s mask. Less immediately obvious but no less awesome: that’s also Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder on one side. More views of the mask and the mask it usurps as “best in the NHL,” according to the imaginary Things I Just Decided Institute, after the break.


Jason LaBarbera Mask 4

Jason LaBarbera Mask 3

Jason LaBarbera Mask 2

It’s fine work for David Arrigo, the artist whose collection of hockey helmets is sufficiently awesome that we advise you not to click on this link to the gallery unless you’ve blocked off 15-30 minutes for marveling. LaBarbera’s AC/DC mask from a couple years ago, for example, is about 70 different kinds of awesome. Yes, 70. The first 60 kinds all have to do with rocking.

The helmet’s such nice work, that we’re prepared to do the unthinkable and supplant Peter Budaj from the top spot of our favorite masks. Budaj is a devout Christian, which means a nickname like Ned Flanders was only inevitable. And, lest we forget the “Streetcar” episode, Ned Flanders is also jacked out of his mind. Thus this:

Peter Budaj Ned Flanders helmet

Stupid sexy Flanders.

(Terrorist Fist Jab: PUCK DADDY)