The next time you see Calvin Pickard in his goaltending getup, you will see him with a fresh new piece of gear. Pickard, who was acquired by the Flyers after being claimed off of waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs, has fully embraced his new home with the design of his latest mask, which features someone else who is relatively new to the Philadelphia franchise.
That’s correct, this new mask features none other than everyone’s favorite mascot, Gritty. The horrifyingly adorable orange creature that swept the nation by storm is making his way onto the ice, where he will protect the face of the Flyers’ newest goaltender. The Gritty mask is likely set to debut on Wednesday evening against the Ottawa Senators, which will be the Flyers’ first back-to-back games of the season. Elliott will be your starter tonight in the home opener, so Pickard should be seeing his first action in a Flyers’ uniform against Senators.
However, this does beg the question of the future of Pickard with the Flyers. What most assumed was that once Michal Neuvirth was healthy and ready to return, Pickard would be waived and either re-claimed by his former club (Toronto Maple Leafs), sent to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, or traded. So, would it really make sense for him to have this Gritty mask made if the long-term future of his status in the Orange and Black was in question? It makes you wonder if maybe, just maybe, he will be here for the foreseeable future. What does this mean for our injury-riddled Neuvy? Well, that remains to be seen, but this new mask could potentially point to the end of Neuvirth as a Philadelphia Flyer.