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The startling fall of Steve Mason

Mar 9, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

Steve Mason.jpg

After seeing the Los Angeles Kings score four goals on 13 shots against Steve Mason before the sophomore goalie was pulled, it seems reasonable to ask some questions. The most notable question is probably: what happened to Steve Mason? Isn’t this the guy who stormed onto the scene last season, winning the Calder trophy and gaining plenty of Vezina trophy buzz? Where’s that guy?

As it turns out, though, Mason seemed to generate most of his hype from an amazing month of December 2008. In that month, Mason managed an amazing 95% save percentage, 3 shutouts and a 1.41 GAA in 12 games. Since then, however, Brodeur is a Fraud points out that Mason’s month-to-month save percentages have mostly been bad-to-medicore.

.904
.901
.914
.883
.881
.902
.898
.875

His numbers for the 09-10 season are particularly wretched. He’s gone 16-21-7 with a 3.15 GAA and an 89.7% save percentage. There’s no other way to classify those numbers other than “failure.”


I can’t help but wonder if Mason’s precipitous fall from being the league’s hottest new goalie to one of its worst ultimately cost Ken Hitchcock his job. Yesterday, I compared Mason to Jim Carey, a goalie who started his career in a spectacular way only to find himself completely out of the league a few years later.

Saying that Mason is done might be a little hasty, though. But it makes you wonder if the goalie got a big head from a great start, one of those “too much too soon” type situations. Perhaps the Blue Jackets should let him find his game again in the minors for the rest of the season, especially since this seems like a lost one for the franchise anyway. They’re expected to start Mathieu Garon tonight for what it’s worth.

A fall from grace can really damage a goalie’s psyche. Just ask Jim Carey.

  1. The Royal Half - Mar 9, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    That’s the thing about young goaltenders in the NHL. I think it’s easier to come in and be successful… because as a rookie you haven’t faced all that many teams. But once you’ve made your way around the league and opposing teams get a “book” on you… then the true test of whether or not you are an elite goalie happens. I think this is what has happened to Mason and what happened to Carey… the league just figured out his weakspots and he hasn’t responded.
    By the way… my spam catcher words were “cycle” and “reportedly.” Coincidence? I think not.

  2. James O'Brien - Mar 9, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Heh, well, one of my words is “cheesier.” So these are clearly judgmental captcha’s.
    I agree on your points, BTW. It does seem like (especially in the over-analysis through video era) a goalie can be exposed much more easily these days. That might explain why Varlamov was so hot last playoffs, although he still might figure it out again at some point.

  3. Derek LaPointe - Mar 9, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    I watched Steve Mason play Junior in London.When he was hot he was very hot and within the same game seem to lose his focus.
    He has the talent, he’s just got to find his focus again like in his rookie year.
    That team also boasted Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner and Sergei with Montreal.What ahell of ateam to watch.

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