The starter for the reigning Stanley Cup champions customized his mask to pay homage to a former Leafs goaltending great.
— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) October 16, 2019
Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues is sporting the signature creature mask of Curtis Joseph for the season.
Joseph played for both the Blues and the Leafs — among other teams — for major portions of his career. He had his best years in St. Louis as a rookie and young goaltender, but signed with Toronto in the summer of 1998 and had four productive seasons for the blue and white. He was able to win the King Clancy Memorial trophy while in Toronto and earned a couple of Vezina nominations along the way, finishing second in voting for his 1998-99 season.
Binnington’s mask not only features the trademark face of CuJo, but has a portrait of the veteran netminder on the right side.
The 26-year-old goaltender is a native of Toronto and was always a fan of Joseph growing up.
“I was a Leafs fan. Growing up in Toronto, you pretty much had to be,” Binnington told stlouisblues.com. “My dad put me in that goalie school for nine weeks every summer for six or seven years, and there were some days when ‘Cujo’ would come in and train there. He would bring a 24-pack of waters on the ice with him. Not very eco-friendly nowadays but you get the point. It was great for us young goalies to be able to see him work like that. He had a unique competitive style. I liked his helmet, his pads. I was a fan.”
It’s unfortunate that Binnington hasn’t even started 40 regular season games in the NHL and has a ring to show for it, while Joseph doesn’t.
CuJo was the starter during the last lengthy trip through the post-season for the Leafs, back in 2002. He had a .910 save percentage and 2.49 GAA through the 270 appearances for Toronto.