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IOC tells Team USA's goalies to cover up their masks [Updated]

February 16, 2010 | 11:52 am

Miller It appears the International Olympic Committee isn't a big fan of individual expression -- at least when it comes to hockey.

Each of Team USA's three goalies, including Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, has been told by Olympic officials to cover messages on their masks.

Quick has been told to cover up the message "Support our Troops" on his patriotic-themed mask since the IOC considers it political propaganda.

Goalie Ryan Miller, who will start Tuesday in Team USA's Olympic opener against Switzerland, has been told to cover up his "Miller Time" slogan since the IOC said it was too close to advertising. In addition, the IOC told Miller to cover up the words "Matt Man" on his helmet, which is a tribute to his cousin who died of cancer in 2007.

Miller says he will contest the IOC's decision to make him remove the tribute to his cousin.

[UPDATED, 5:03 p.m. Tuesday: The IOC has allowed Miller to keep the phrase "Matt Man" on his helmet.]

And finally, Tim Thomas has been asked to cover up the initials of his three children painted on his helmet.

Curiously, the IOC didn't feel the depiction of a buffed-out Uncle Sam on Miller's mask was propaganda.

Olympic officials did inform the teams beforehand of its mask standards, but they should just make all the goalies wear Dominik Hasek-style cage masks if they're going to snuff out all the creativity. Personalized hockey masks are just as much a part of hockey as sequins are to figure skating.

But what do you think?

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: Ryan Miller. Credit: Matt Slocum / Associated Press