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In honor of Cheevers and Plante, an ode to the mask

Updated: November 3, 2009, 2:47 PM ET
By John Buccigross | ESPN.com

I grew up in small-town America, living and loving just about every athletic contest. I watched, listened, played, read, illustrated (horribly) and daydreamed about most of them. This includes the "Battle of the Network Stars" and "The Superstars" competition, which I took just as seriously as the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup finals. Gabe Kaplan was part of my childhood hero roster.

I didn't realize it during my youth, but I was, and still am, enraptured by the marrow ...

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