(Gerry Cheevers, preparing to scare children the Russians)

Who amongst us hasn’t stopped to ponder the evolution of the hockey goalie mask? Well, not me, but author Jim Hynes finds the topic of entire tome, ‘Saving Face : The Art & History Of The Goalie Mask’, and below are some choice excerpts from an interview conducted by Hockey Books Reviews’ Joe Pelletier.

HBR: If you had to rank the 5 most famous goalie masks of all time, which 5 would you choose?

Jim Hynes: That’s tough: The first Jacques Plante mask is known by so many, heck, it’s a Heritage Minute. Same for Terry Sawchuk: he wore the one mask forever. Tony Esposito’s mask was worn by a few others, including Plante, but anyone who sees it will say “Tony O”. Next would be the Gerry Cheevers stitches mask. Even non-hockey fans know about it. Among the modern masks I’ll give the nod to Eddie Belfour. You see the eagle, yo know it’s Eddie.

HBR – Who has the best paint job today?

Jim Hynes: I’m not a huge fan of the wild, modern paint job. Plus some goalies seem to change them every 6 months now. I have a soft spot for Marty Biron’s Great Gaston lumberjack mask and I liked Christobal Huet’s ghosts masks before he was traded to Washington…but that might just be the French Canadian Habs fanatic in me talking.

HBR – Which goalie mask design is your favorite?

Jim Hynes: Ken Dryden’s first mask is a favourite. I was 6 in 1971 and can remember thinking how weird that masks was. I guess you could call it a modified pretzel-type–certainly one of a kind. I don’t know how safe it was though. I like the way some of the bars are taped together.