Anderson mask has special meaning

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

NEWARK, N.J. — This mask was close to John Pepe’s heart.

The designer of the new helmet Sens’ goalie Craig Anderson unveiled Tuesday at the Prudential Center says this one is always going to have extra meaning because of a special touch just above the right eye. Tucked away on the helmet is the breast cancer logo and the initials “L.P.”, which stands for Lisa Paradis, the sister of Detroit-based artist Pepe who passed away in December after a bout with the disease.

“This one meant a lot to me. Getting this mask to Craig was important for me,” said Pepe, from his Detroit home. “(Lisa) was a big Senators fan and I really wanted to get this one done.

“Everybody in her family are Senators’ fans. My nephew, Erik, 14, even called the family dog ‘Senator’ ... I talked to Craig about putting the initials there and he had no problem with it at all.”

While Pepe usually takes about 10 days to finish a paint job, he was able to turn it around in about 36 hours after discussing the design with Anderson.

The goalie doesn’t make any demands, he just wants a Corvette somewhere.

“Craig is really easy to work with and he likes to have fun. So that’s great for me,” said Pepe, a Montreal native, who has been painting masks for 16 years

Anderson didn’t waste any time putting on the new shield.

“Helmets are usually the easiest thing to throw on and go,” said Anderson Tuesday. “They all fit pretty much the same, with a few adjustments, so it doesn’t take much to get used to them.”

The mask is similar to some Anderson has used in the past. On the left side, it features a stylized Senators’ character coming out of a Corvette.

“The Corvette has pretty much been my logo for the last little while,” said Anderson. “Some people like to paint their nation’s flag or have their heritage. Corvette is an American sports car and I’m American. It’s one of my favourite cars.”

On the left side, the club’s logo is featured with the writing “Ottawa Senators.” The back has a bat with the words “Andy” and his No. 41. Of course, the maple leaf is also prominent all over the helmet.

“It’s finally good to see it. It’s been well worth the wait. There’s some terrific art on there,” said Anderson.

Steckel says sorry

Devils’ C David Steckel is aware he’s taking plenty of flak for his collision with Pittsburgh Penguins’ superstar Sidney Crosby on New Year’s Day.

Dealt to the Devils by Washington on deadline day, Steckel said the hit was accidental. He reached out to apologize to Crosby, but Sid the Kid hasn’t returned the call yet.

“It’s an unfortunate situation,” said Steckel. “I’ve had concussions in the past and I know what it feels like.”

New kid

The Senators signed free-agent C Wacey Hamilton from the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers on Monday. He was passed up in the NHL draft and will report to Binghamton when the Tigers end their season.

“We’re very pleased to get this kid signed. He’s a character kid and he’s been captain of Medicine Hat for the last two years,” said assistant GM Tim Murray. “He’s a top two-way player. He’s gritty, he’s tough and he’s willing to drop the gloves. He’s just a good hockey player. He’s kind of gone the same route as Zack Smith, so that’s the guy we went after.”

Hamilton has 20 goals and 72 points in 65 games in the WHL this season.

C'est what?

“I’m sleeping just fine. My wife (Irina) is finding it tough.” — Former Senators’ D Anton Volchenkov, who is the new father of two-week old twins (a boy Milan and girl Milana). There’s also seven-year-old Anton Jr. in the family.

Things I think I think

These look like the same old Devils to me under Jacques Lemaire. Tight-checking and few scoring chances. Asked if he’s changed on his mind on coaching next year, Lemaire indicated he’ll decide at the end of the season: “We’ll see after ... How many games left?” ... The Devils have cheerleaders? What is this world coming too? ... Fourth-liner Francis Lessard, who played his 100th NHL game Tuesday, won’t be in the AHL playoffs. He wasn’t included on Binghamton’s 22-man “clear day” roster and isn’t eligible for the post-season ... One of the biggest attributes Anderson has brought to the table: The ability to stop the puck behind the net. That has never been a speciality for any Ottawa goalie ... C Ryan Shannon did some great work getting the puck on the opening goal by Eric Condra at 4:45 of the second. Shannon won a race for the puck against Henrik Tallinder.


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