In many ways the matchup between Guy Hebert and Jean-Sebastien Giguere is akin to the transition folks undergo when moving from high school to college. You grew up with your high school friends, but the stakes are higher in college with the freedom to grow and find out who you really are as a person. Hebert was the goalie the Mighty Ducks grew up and reached many of their first milestones with, yet it was with Giguere between the pipes that the franchise really began to find itself as a legitimate competitor in the Western Conference. How appropriate then that the final Mighty Ducks mask worn by each goalie meets in round one as we continue the inaugural Tournament of Greatness to determine the best Ducks goalie mask design of all time.
#3 Guy Hebert 1999-2000
The first player selected by the Mighty Ducks in the 1993 Expansion Draft, Guy Hebert is rightfully synonymous with the early years of the Anaheim franchise. Thought Ron Tugnutt recorded the first win in club history, Hebert recorded the first shutout in a 38-save performance at Maple Leaf Gardens December 15, 1993 to make Tim Sweeney's lone score stand up. Hebert would go on to lead the team in wins each of his eight seasons in Anaheim, only once being equalled by Mikhail Shtalenkov (13 wins apiece) in the 97-98 season. All the while save for a stretch of games in the 95-96 season, as well as the 96-97 season, Hebert sported the same classic mask design. With a white area enclosed by the cage, the Mighty Ducks logo on the forehead, jade wings with white and yellow trim fanning up the sides, and his number 31 in parchment on the chin, it was a look that only saw proportions change for the elements as he got new masks.
Hebert shouldered the second heaviest workload of his career in 99-00, starting 68 times (fifth most in the league) and finishing with a league ninth best 28 wins but suffering an NHL-leading 31 losses. The Mighty Ducks finished in the basement of the Pacific Division with a 34-33-12 record and 83 points but were just four points back of the eighth seed San Jose. Turning 33 years old during the season, 99-00 marked the beginning of Hebert's downturn as a starter, as his .908 save percentage was a 14-point drop off from the previous season despite facing over 300 fewer shots. The following season Anaheim waived him after 41 games with a .897 SV%, allowing the Troy, New York born netminder to finish his career with the New York Rangers.
#6 Jean Sebastien Giguere 2005-06
Much like Hebert, Giguere had kept his colorful Wizard Ducks design fairly constant with slight alterations to the shade and quantity of the feathers and where and how much color was in the background over the course of his first four seasons with in Anaheim. That changed for the 05-06 season as he sported a much darker looking, radically different design that kept essentially all the colors within the Ducks uniform pallet but differing shades. To a certain extent it borrowed an aspect of Hebert's classic design, with wings fanning up the sides, but featured plenty of unique twists of its own including a front-on look at the Wild Wing mask on the crown with wings spreading from either side of it. His number 35 in jade with a lurking Wild Wing mask between it is another nice touch.
Giguere put up his second highest win total as a Mighty Duck in 05-06, backstopping 30 victories while also taking 11 games in to overtime before losing, both a league season high and career high. The 15 losses in his 60 starts for the year was his lowest with the Mighty Ducks as well. Those numbers camouflage a .911 save percentage and 2.66 goals against average, each which were the highest of his time as a starter while wearing eggplant and jade. He got hot down the stretch, helping the Ducks surge in to the playoffs thanks to going 14-6-0 over his final 20 starts of the season that included six 30+ save performances, a six-game win streak and a stretch with eight wins in nine starts. Giguere got injured in the first round, opening the door for Ilya Bryzgalov to get hot and help the Mighty Ducks make the Western Conference Final, where Giguere returned to the nets in game four to stave off the sweep but fell at home in game five despite stopping 23 of 25 shots.
It's Voting Time
Which mask design is better? Vote in the poll below, share your thoughts in the comments, and remember if you comment about it on Twitter with #ACmaskTOG your chosen mask will get another point added to the total. The poll is open until noon on August 18, so be sure to cast your vote and share with as many Ducks fans as you know!
Historical game information and stats in this article taken from www.hockey-reference.com