All-Blogs.net directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Mase-lovin

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mase-lovin

We turn from Foote back to Masonwide (credit to poster on HF for coming up with that beauty!!) -- lots of pub going around about the stellar play of this youngster.

NHL.com gave out its mid-season awards and unlike the All-star game, no snub for Mase from these guys:

CALDER TROPHY
Awarded to the top rookie as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
Predicted winner: Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets

If you scan below, you'll also see Mason's name as one of the predicted runner-ups for the Vezina Trophy, which is amazing considering he wasn't even on the NHL roster in October. Yes, the Oakville, Ont., native has been that good since being called up to the big club in early November.

Mason finished the first half of the season tops in the NHL with a .938 save percentage, 1.75 goals-against average and six shutouts. He has carried the Blue Jackets into playoff contention as they sat third in the Central Division and ninth in the Western Conference with 44 points.


They even gave him runner-up for the Vezina to the Bruins Tim Thomas:

Predicted runners-up: Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota and Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets
The Wild would not have been in the playoffs at the 41-game mark, but it's not Backstrom's fault. He has been excellent for the West's most offensively challenged team. Mason has been one of the best stories of the first half.

Kevin Allen of USA Today fame has Steve Mason ranked as the 2nd best goaltender in their rankings:

In USA TODAY's NHL Power Rankings, Thomas is the top goalie, although hot Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Steve Mason has jumped to second place.

Fernandez and Thomas have similar statistics, but it was Thomas who received the All-Star berth and probably is receiving more attention, maybe because he has been one of the league's favorite underdogs since he worked way back from Europe to become a full-time NHL goalie for the first time.


Rank Player (first-place votes) Team Stats (through games of Jan. 11) Points

1. Tim Thomas (6) Boston Bruins 17-4-3, 2.08 GAA, .933 save pct. 48
2. Steve Mason (4) Columbus Blue Jackets 15-9-1, 1.75 GAA, .938 save pct. 28
3. Niklas Backstrom (1) Minnesota Wild 19-13-2, 2.17 GAA, .927 save pct. 26
4. Miikka Kiprusoff Calgary Flames 25-11-3, 2.83 GAA, .902 save pct. 19
5. Evgeni Nabokov San Jose Sharks 22-4-4, 2.49 GAA, .908 save pct. 11

Here is a new article on Mase from The Hockey News.

Hitchcock credits Mason's mental gifts as much as the physical ones.

"When you have hockey sense, the learning curve is always accelerated - and he has goalie sense," he said. "He has a great read of the game in front of him."

Mason's rise has fuelled talk of the Blue Jackets, who are a point out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, making their post-season debut. Suddenly, vendors are hawking "Stonewall Mason" T-shirts before games and hockey has replaced Ohio State football as the talk of Columbus.

Mason tries not to get starry-eyed as he sees Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom, San Jose's Joe Thornton, Calgary's Jarome Iginla or others coming at him.

"Every time you're playing a team there's probably going to be one player on that team that you grew up looking up to," he said. "It's kind of neat to see them on the other team. But at the same time, you can't really look at it that way."


NHL.com takes a look at 2nd half stories and had this nugget on Mase:

On the opposite end of the spectrum, can young goalie Steve Mason keep up his miracle show in Columbus? In his first season, Mason reached the mid-way point of the campaign leading the League in shutouts, goals-against average and save percentage. Could he be the second coming of Hall of Famer Patrick Roy?

Great pub for Mase and the Jackets. I think I can speak for him, the Jackets and its fans when I say lets hope he keeps this thing rollin!

-LTL

4 comments:

Rick said...

Like I said before, LTL, Calder & Vezina. He's shown too much "goalie sense" in net to have a slump.

BZArcher said...

He looked human tonight, but on the other hand, the team stood up and wouldn't let tonight go to waste. Great effort by the team tonight.

Rick said...

Yes, he looked human. But, like Hitch said during the press conference, it was time for the team to help him out.

Dan said...

I know he looked "human" last night, but other than that knuckler/wrister from 40 that went off his glove, he didn't have a bad effort. That first goal was the kind that most NHL goalies give up once or twice a game, and there wasn't much he could do on the third. He's done better in terms of controlling rebounds, but this was still not a below average effort relative to other NHL goalies. Great game from Huselius tonight, credit to Hitch for changing lines on the fly to get him more ice time tonight