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The battle is on for Columbus’ starting job

Jan 15, 2013, 9:38 PM EDT

Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

Time will tell if this is a feisty competition or a battle of lesser evils, but Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards indicates that the No. 1 goalie job is up for grabs between Sergei Bobrovsky and Steve Mason.

“Right now, I don’t see much separation,” Richards said. “I think Bobrovsky having come in and played games (in the KHL), I expected a smoother transition and that’s exactly what we’ve got. With Steve, I wasn’t sure and to be quite honest with you I’m extremely pleased with what I’ve seen. He’s working very hard, and based on what we saw in the scrimmage today, I think both goaltenders played well.”

While Bobrovsky holds the advantage of more recent game experience, Mason reportedly came into training camp ready to fight for his job – and really, his career, since he’s in a contract year. Richards said Mason is about 15 lbs. lighter than his normal weight.

(Hopefully his pads are as big as they can legally be, though.)

It could be an interesting situation to watch, unless many critics are correct about the quality of one or both netminders. If that is indeed the case, this will be closer to a tragic comedy.

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