The Composite mask
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02-09-2014, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Originally Posted by
I recall Tony Esposito adding a cage to his classic mask. Not sure if he did that before or after D.Dryden.
Well, you've brought up the name, and so here ya go, Tony Esposito, Great Goaltender & the Ultimate Cheater. Guy knew the rule book inside out. Studied it. Looked for loopholes & found them. He wore the same mask designed & made by David Britt of Montreal who made masks for a number of amateur through professional goalies using aircraft fiberglass. In 1974/75 Esposito took 3 shots to the eyes, one of them causing blurred vision for hours afterward so he had the Cage added. The prototype to what followed between Dave Dryden & mask maker Greg Harrison. However he didnt stop there. Added an extension to the top of the mask to protect to the top of his head as well. Plante & others, the aforementioned Harrison & Ernie Higgins however had incorporated that in earlier designs & models....
Esposito in 69 was hit square in the Adams Apple by a Lou Angotti slapper in practice. Couldnt breath let alone talk, thought he was gonna die, so he comes up with the first Neck Protector.... Far from done, he then add's what he called The Spider Web to the crotch of his pants. Sews on a piece of elastic mesh about 12"'s X 3"'s to close the 5 Hole up top there. As soon as the Officials noticed it, scrambled to create a New Rule outlawing that little bit of mischief. But good luck beating Tony 'O'. Merely sews in 12" long by 2" wide tubes of high density foam rubber to the inseams of his pants. No one but he & the Trainers the wiser. Cant see it, not illegal right? Added another 4.5"s to his Trapper as well, the first to do so & all gloves thereafter made that way....
His pads as well. Custom Kenesky's & Regulation 12"'s wide, he opens the inside stitiching, adding as much Kapok (lightweight material used in furniture mfg) as he can stuff in adding 3"'s to the pads widths, sews em back up. The NHL at that time did send Officials prior to the Playoffs & sometimes during to measure equipment & make sure everyone was playing it by the book. But you knew they were coming. Wasnt "surprise, spot check time" the way it is today. So Esposito & the Trainers would compress the pads for several hours using weights, crushing them back down to the legal maximum of 12"'s. Passes with flying colors. Officials leave, Tony just fluffs them up & out again like pillows....
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