Nov 29, 2011, 3:03 PM EDT
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason has been cleared to return to action after missing three games with a head injury.
Now the question is what to do with him.
Curtis Sanford, the 32-year-old journeyman that last played in the NHL in 2009, has stepped in and provided Columbus with its most solid goaltending of the year. He’s 3-1-2 with a 1.38 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.
“He’s not all over the place,” said Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel (in what was either praise for Sanford or condemnation of Mason — you decide!) “He’s compact. He faces the shooter and prepares himself for the next rebound and that next chance. He’s not a guy who expends a ton of energy by flying all over the place.”
Another positive for Sanford is the Jackets seemingly play better in front of him than Mason. Inexplicable, but the numbers confirm — Columbus earned its only winning-streak of the year with Sanford in goal and secured at least a point in all but one of his games played.
So, consider the situation. Mason’s been very bad, Sanford’s been very good. Arniel’s job has been on the line for weeks, the BJs are desperate for wins and throughout the league, teams are riding their backups with great success (see: Cory Schneider in Vancouver, Brian Elliott in St. Louis and Josh Harding in Minnesota.)
What would you do?
- Video: ‘It’s not the ideal situation,’ says OT hero Vermette of being a healthy scratch 3
- From healthy scratch to hero: Vermette scores OT winner for Blackhawks 25
- Video: Ducks score three goals in 37 seconds to take third-period lead 7
- WATCH LIVE: Ducks at Blackhawks, Western Conference Final Game 4 0
- Cooper on replacing Bishop: ‘That is asinine to me’ 25
- Vermette, Teravainen return for Blackhawks in Game 4 15
- Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4 24
- Fetisov wants to restrict young Russians from playing in the NHL 53
- All eyes on Lundqvist 11
- Quenneville opted for ‘fresh legs’ by inserting Nordstrom, Versteeg into lineup 12
- Reports: Sabres thought they had a deal with Babcock, aren’t happy (174)
- Leafs land Babcock with reported 8-year deal, estimated at $50 million (130)
- Russia to be punished for ‘completely out of order’ actions after Worlds final loss to Canada (91)
- Report: Sabres negotiating with Babcock (82)
- What’s wrong with Lundqvist? (70)