15-year-old fan wins contest to design the art on Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom's mask

backstrommaskold.jpg(Niklas Backstrom in his old, less charming goalie mask)

I’ve seen goalies allow fans to design their masks before, but I only recall Calder-winner-turned-backup Andrew Raycroft doing so. The fans who submitted their artwork for Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom’s mask will likely see their labor of love a lot more often, as the Finnish goalie played 60, 71, 58 and 41 games in the last four seasons.

Backstrom chose a design by 15-year-old Peter Best of Plymouth, Minnesota. Here’s a shot of the artwork via the Wild Web Site. (Click to enlarge)

wildmaskwinner.jpg

While the original work is impressively detailed, an artist will take its inspiration and make something a little fancier out of it. Here’s more information about the process from the Wild.

After days of wrestling with his very difficult decision, Backstrom went with Best’s very detailed design. The mask shows the skylines of St. Paul on one side, and Minneapolis on the other, covered by the Wild’s crest at the top. Wolves adorn each side, and the back features the Finnish flag, as well as the Wild’s 10th anniversary mark.

Best will now be invited to the studio of mask designer Todd Miska, who will take the design concept and tailor it to meet Backstrom’s specifications. He will also have the opportunity to present the finished product to Backstrom in person at the Wild’s training camp in September.

Best’s work beat out four other finalists to win the honor (I prefer Kelsey Bolden’s “Logo Mask” and the Paul Bunyan one is adorable in a children’s art kind of way, but that’s just my opinion).

You have to love when teams allow fans to get so involved, especially considering the fact that they’ll be able to look at their work on such a regular basis (barring injury and poor play, of course). Minnesota features one of the most devoted fan bases in the NHL, as they pack the building even when the team is decidedly mediocre. Good on Backstrom and the Wild for running the contest and congrats to Best for earning his 15 seconds (or 50-70 games) of fame.

Scroll Down For:

    Video: Weise records Gordie Howe hat trick after spirited scrap with Hamonic

    Leave a comment

    Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t even nine minutes old by the time Dale Weise had recorded the Gordie Howe hat trick.

    Already with the opening goal and an assist on Radko Gudas‘ goal, giving Philly a 3-0 lead, Weise dropped the gloves with Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic for a spirited fight off a faceoff.

    Not many, if any, positives for the Islanders after a disastrous start. Needing a win to close the gap on the Boston Bruins in the wild card race, New York fell behind 5-0 by the time the first period was over.

    There is perhaps even more bad news for the Islanders: Hamonic wasn’t on the bench to begin the second period.

    The Islanders have since provided an update: Hamonic will not return to this game due to an upper-body injury.

     

     

    The Islanders are off to a disastrous start in Philly, Flyers chase Greiss

    Leave a comment

    Talk about the worst possible start for the New York Islanders.

    Trailing the Boston Bruins by four points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders lived through a nightmare to begin Thursday’s game, falling behind the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-0 — before the midway point of the first period.

    Dale Weise started the scoring at 4:30 of the first period. By the 9:19 mark, the Flyers opened up a four-goal lead and had already chased Islanders starting goalieThomas Greiss, who allowed three goals on eight shots.

    Jaroslav Halak was brought into the game and promptly surrendered a goal to Jordan Weal.

    It continued to get worse for the Islanders, who finished the first period trailing by five goals. Shots? They were 19-10 in favor of Philly. Yup. It was bad.

    With Josh Ho-Sang in the box serving a double-minor for high sticking, Wayne Simmonds gave Philly a 5-0 lead with his 30th goal of the year.

    Shaping up to be a long night for the Islanders.

    Karlsson’s ironman streak comes to an end as Sens visit Wild

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    For the first time since the lockout-shortened season, the Ottawa Senators will not have star defenseman Erik Karlsson in their lineup.

    With the Sens four points back of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead, Karlsson will not play tonight versus the Minnesota Wild, which ends his ironman streak at 324 consecutive games played.

    Karlsson trails Brent Burns by only five points for the lead in that category among NHL defenseman. He also logs close to 27 minutes of ice time per game. Only three blue liners in the entire league — Dustin Byfuglien, Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter — play more on average per game.

    The injury reportedly occurred when Karlsson blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Trade deadline acquisition Jyrki Jokipakka is expected to make his debut for Ottawa, per the Citizen.

    “If we miss him for a game or two, we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” forward Mark Stone told the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s the best defenceman in the world. If you take him out of your lineup, it’s obviously a huge blow.”

    WATCH LIVE: Stars at Bruins

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    The Boston Bruins hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and they will look to continue their push for the playoffs when they host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

    You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

    McAvoy has the talent to improve Bruins right now

    NHL on NBCSN: Bruins continue push for playoff spot against Stars

    Stars go deeper than rock bottom in Ruff’s ‘worst game’ with team