Posts Tagged ‘mason

23
Dec
10

Game 34 – VANCOUVER CANUCKS

The Jackets try to prove that Tuesday night’s victory wasn’t a fluke, but will have much stiffer competition tonight from the Vancouver Canucks.

7:00pm EST, Nationwide Arena

Fox Sports Ohio, High Definition

Last week, Ohio State product Ryan Kesler decimated the Blue Jackets in a dominating effort by the near-American-hero.

The Jackets will aim to not only shutdown the bizarro Sedin twins, but find a way to neutralize Kesler this time around.

It’s projected for Roberto Luongo’s backup, Cory Schneider, to get the start tonight against the Jackets, and once again, the Jackets have to find a way to get wins against back-up netminders.

In other news, here’s a little news story that everyone is flipping out over today:

When the Vancouver Canucks get to Columbus Thursday they’ll almost certainly find Mathieu Garon in goal, as he was in their game last week.

Normally that spot would be filled by Steve Mason, but right now this kid’s career is in a precarious position.

Unless he finds some confidence and restores his technique to the level it was in his rookie season, he could easily be the next one year-wonder, Andrew Raycroft-style.

If he gets it back, of course, he could still be the one guy with a chance to break many of Marty Brodeur’s records — shutouts, at least, if not Stanley Cups.

……

‘‘I still feel I’m not far off getting it back and putting together a number of really good seasons in this league,’’ Mason said Wednesday.

“I don’t know about catching Marty, those records are amazing, they speak for themselves. But basically a lot has been made of my last two games lately which weren’t good, and I don’t think that’s right.’’

In a way, perhaps he’s still in denial a little bit. For him to think he’s still going well when he’s losing his job to Garon is perhaps his ego getting the better of him.

And after that first successful year, it’s pretty clear a knife and a fork weren’t his friends as he put on a lot of weight, estimates of up to 30 pounds, in the summer of 2009.

As a result of this, last year was a disaster which essentially cost Ken Hitchcock and his staff their jobs.

But, again, Mason claims weight gain had nothing to do with his poor season, rather just a simple lack of confidence born of high expectations.

But even before that weight gain 16 months back, there were signs Mason was getting a little too full of himself.

When then-goaltending consultant Perry Elderbroom, of Parksville, was his mentor, he had a system which worked. But Mason never fully accepted it.

He was convinced his old hockey guru Dave Rook back in Kitchener and himself were solely responsible for that first season’s mountain of success — and Elderbroom was window dressing.

In fact, in discussions with Mason on Wednesday, not even Rook was a factor.

‘‘It was just me, with the help of a few calls back to Dave, playing on adrenalin and playing in the moment, and that’s what I have to get back to.’’

When Elderbroom was there in the first year there were a couple of less-than-harmonious meetings with Mason, and the then- goalie consultant told GM Scott Howson he’d better get a grip on this kid and that, for lots of different reasons, he was choosing not to return to the Jackets.

The club brought in Rook last season, but obviously things didn’t go well.

The weight was a problem with a goalie who plays as much as Mason tries to, no matter what he says.

When he came back in much better shape it was felt he’d resume the path of stardom.

He has some tremendous natural skills to go with his size, but so far it’s just not happening.

Elderbroom is watching from afar and feels badly because he didn’t return after that one good season and feels he could have helped last year.

‘‘I didn’t teach Steve to play goal, Dave did, but I think I taught him to play his best,’’ said Elderbroom. ‘‘I look at a goalie at any level, size up his strengths and then try to design a system I think will work best for him, and that’s what I did with Steve. But a lot has changed since then.’’

You’d think the Jackets would be keen to get Elderbroom back but his phone hasn’t been ringing. Mason is the reason why.

‘‘I didn’t really work with Perry,’’ he said flatly, which is odd given the guy was the goaltending consultant for the team during his successful season.

Where this ends up remains to be seen.

…….

Yeah…. not sure what to say, except that none of what comes out of his mouth at this point is really a surprise.

Mason obviously has the talents to be an outstanding goaltender, but the mind is the worry. The ego that comes through there and through other media sources is a bit of a worry, it’s just finding the right buttons to push to get him seeing straight.

Can’t let this kind of thing get in the way of a gameday!

Go Jackets.

13
Oct
10

CBJ Blogger Roundtable: Part 3

The Columbus Blue Jackets Blogger Roundtable continues today here on The Jacketsblog. Please be sure to check out the previous installments of this week-long series over on The Cannon and The Dark Blue Jacket.
Today we discuss which player has more to prove, Mike Commodore or Steve Mason, and the overall leadership of the team.
QUESTION #5: Who has more to prove this year, Steve Mason or Mike Commodore?

Tom Felrath, The Dark Blue Jacket:  Probably Mason, as it appears that Mason’s issues were at least partly mental and Commodore’s were almost entirely physical.  With Commodore displaying that he’s fixed his conditioning issues, I think he’s full speed ahead.  Mason, on the other hand, still needs to work on his game (glove side high…) and keep his mind right throughout the season.

Dan Parker, Waiting for Next Year: Steve Mason, without a doubt, though Commodore definitely looks like he has a pretty big chip on his shoulder thus far. Commodore has done it in this league, has a Cup, and while he’ll never live up to his contract, generally owned up to his play last year. Mason, however, is the franchise goalie, just got a new extension, and at times while struggling last year seemed stand-off-ish and annoyed having to be asked about his struggles. He appears to have been humbled, and he also appears to be in a better place mentally without Ken Hitchcock around to crush his spirits.

Mike Maclean, The Cannon: Without question- Steve Mason. A team can’t win without goaltending, and Mason is being relied on to propel the team back to the playoffs. Commodore is an important player for Columbus, but it all starts between the pipes.

Lee Auer, The Jacketsblog: Without a doubt Steve Mason. Look, Mike Commodore was a known commodity when he signed here. Everyone across the NHL said the Jackets overpaid to bring in Commie, and he certainly used that as motivation to have as good a year as he did in 2008-09. Certainly 09-10 as a step back for both Mason and Commodore, but now both are motivated and for the future of the organization, Steve Mason must prove that he wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan.

TopShelf, Jackets Required: I’ll go with Mason on this one.  Dude obviously has all the tools to be a premier goalie in this league: size, reflexes, recovery, & decision making.  He was the #1 reason the team made the playoffs two years ago.  If they want to make the playoffs this year, Mason will have to return to his rookie form.  With the struggles our defense is bound to have this season adopting a new philosophy/system, Mason will have to be physically and psychologically at the top of his game in order to be successful.

Andy Newman, The Cannon: Steve Mason is the one with more to prove, and certainly the one with more weight on his shoulders, to put it lightly. Really, the fate of the franchise rests largely on Mason’s performance. Not simply due to the contract extension, because as we saw with Pascal Leclaire, a hefty new contract can be traded in the right situation. But the bigger issue is that we don’t have the next Steve Mason in the pipeline yet. While we have some solid goalies on down the line, none are true standouts that could carry this team or take over in the next season or two, if needed.

Meanwhile, Mason caught a lot of attention his rookie year, and rightly so. That means a lot of people are watching him, and either want to be validated for their loyal support, or on the flip side, are ready to write him off as the new Andrew Raycroft.

Red Dog, Red Dog Rambling: They are the big two in that category, eh? I think Mason is needed more. Commodore has had up years and down years in the past. I EXPECT him to step it up. Mason has less of an NHL past to fall back on for confidence. While Commie’s big money contract may add some pressure in the eyes of many fans, there are others waiting in the wings to fill in should he falter. If Mason repeats least years disappointment, there’s no one in Springfield who strikes me as NHL ready and able to take over between the pipes. For what it’s worth, I think they’re both going to be fine this year, though they may also both hit some bumps in the road along the way.

Jeff Little, The Hockey Writers: Commodore, and he is doing it.  Mason is still a kid, and people throw a lot of focus on the goaltender — too much so.   Commodore isn’t that much of a veteran in terms of years in the league, but he has enough seniority to be a leader on the team, and his issues last year rippled through the defense — and made Mason look worse than he was.  The difference between best and worst goalie in save percentage last year with over 50 starts was from .930 to .900.  That means out of 100 shots, the best goalie will surrender 3 fewer goals than the worst.  The real key is shots allowed, which is a function of your defensive corps.  I rest my case.

Matt Wagner, The Cannon: Commodore, simply because Steve Mason got paid this offseason, and even if he struggles again, more than a few NHL teams are happy to take a chance at “rehabilitating” a struggling goaltender (see: Justin Pogge), while Commodore could easily find himself getting squeezed out of an NHL job if he doesn’t prove he’s still got his game. While I am sure the team would not wish to bury 3.75 million dollars in the minors, guys like Wayne Redden, Sheldon Souray, and Cristobal Huet certainly show it’s possible.


QUESTION #6: Do you see the “leadership” problem in the locker room being fixed this year, or will it continue to be a series of patchwork fixes imposed by the front office?

DBJ:  Every team is different every season.  It will help to have Ethan Moreau around, to be sure, but the onus for the long term is on Rick Nash to be The Man in the locker room as well as on the ice.  We won’t know that he has until the team pulls itself out of a (hopefully minor) tailspin without an injection of help from Howson & Co.

DP:  I don’t see it being as big a problem this year, especially if the team can perform better. When they were in the midst of the losing-21-of-24 stretch last year, I don’t think anyone had any answers, and the team just kind of imploded. Adding a guy like Ethan Moreau–who looks to be able to pull some weight on the ice in addition to speaking up off it–for the full year should be a big step. I also think RJ Umberger becomes the veteran voice on this team, if he’s not already. If guys like Moreau, Umberger, and Commodore are all playing like they’re capable–and have been in the dressing room since day 1 of the season–the young guys will listen.

MM: It was unfair to Chris Clark to throw him into a new room and almost “force” him to provide leadership mid-way through last season. Now that he knows the players and is able to start right from camp, he will be an important voice in the locker room. Summer acquisition Ethan Moreau was the captain in Edmonton last year and will wear a letter in Columbus this season. Those two, along with veterans like Umberger, Klesla and Commodore will ensure that the young guys are pushed in the right direction. Of course captain Rick Nash, a lead-by-example type, provides his own style of leadership as well.

Lee: I want to hold judgement on this. I think that Ethan Moreau will be the fix we have needed when it comes to being a cranky “old” guy to bash some heads when necessary. It’s challenging to tell just from watching games and reading reports on the team what the locker room is like.

TS: For the life of me I cannot come to terms with the idea that professional hockey players need “leaders” in the locker room to find success.  Clearly I am wrong.  We don’t get to see or hear what transpires in the room, especially when it comes to the kinds of frank and honest discussions/speeches a “leader” would give in order to inspire the team or an individual player.  All indications are that newly acquired Ethan Moreau is a specialist in this regard.  Umberger is regarded as someone who will not shy away from holding teammates accountable as well.  Any wonder why Arniel named them as the Alternate Captains for this season?

RD: I think we’ll see some leadership by committee, and I think things will be fine. Nash will continue to grow into the captain’s role. Umberger will take even more ownership of the room. Others (Juice, Vermette, Moreau, and others) will speak out when it is called for — as long as Arniel fosters that kind of setting (an I believe he will).

JL: I disagree with the “imposed by the front office” statement.  It would have been tough to picture the demise of last year ahead of time.  Mike Priest and Howson have both said they want the players to take control of the locker room, and another year of maturity and the inclusion of Moreau will help.  It will also be an enormous help that the entire staff has big NHL experience, and that the coach wants the players to take control, without him micromanaging.  We are a young team by design, but they aren’t 12.  They are old enough to sort out any issues they have within the room, without having to run to daddy, and I believe that is what they want to do.

MW: The team has seemed to lack a clear veteran voice in the locker room at times, and it’s felt like some of the previous decisions about assistant captains were as much about a player’s tenure or salary than actual leadership. I think the decision to settle on a “slimmer” group of alternate captains is a good one, but what we really need is for the room itself to stand up and handle themselves rather than looking to guys who have had letters sewn to their jerseys.




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