Posts Tagged ‘Steve Mason’

Oh how quickly things can change for a team when their mindset goes in the right direction. For The Columbus Blue Jackets, this change seemed to come when 32 year old goaltender Curtis Sanford took the reigns from Steve Mason 3 games ago, and going 2-0-1 with a dazzling 1.46 goals against average and .943 save percentage. I just wanted to take a deeper look at this change, so here we go:

For Steve Mason, the team in front of him has been playing at half speed, the defense, hasn’t done work, and has made bad choices in front of the net. Mason, while his defense hasn’t helped him, he hasn’t helped himself, often looking rattled, letting in a few weak goals that seemed to shatter his, and his team’s confidence. Mason has looked absolutely spectacular at times this season, but more often, we have seen the puck wind up in the net. This break in which Sanford is playing, means a lot for Mason (besides healing his new injury), he can work on his game, and hopefully, get back to the form we all saw a few years ago, building back trust with his defense, and teammates, so both can play at the top of their game. When Sanford falters, Mason will get his turn inbetween the pipes again, and can try to prove that he’s our guy.

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A Milli Vanilli song is oddly appropriate for the Jackets showing as masquerading as an NHL team against the Flyers on Saturday. Since there is a bit of frustration from the Blue Jackets fans via social networking sites during this horrible start to the season, I have noticed that everyone has their own person to blame.  Mason, Aaron Johnson, Nash, and of course Scott Arniel are among the more mentioned names. So I decided earlier today to review the NHL’s highlights of each goal the Blue Jackets have surrendered so far this season and attempting to find a direct reason for these goals.

There are several things worth noting in advance, call it a disclaimer if you will: Many of these file under the ‘Eye of the Beer Holder’ category. What I discern from watching the clips will not take into effect the nuances of Arniel’s system (which I do not know in any detail whatsoever) and the lack of playing any organized ice hockey in my life may cause my pinpointing of fault or blame to be inadvertently incorrect. Anytime I shared blame with more than one player half points where given. I am nothing more than a lifelong hockey fan who continues to learn on a daily basis.

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A classic line from the 1959 song “Charlie Brown” by The Coasters. And if there is someone who that line could describe, it’s Steve Mason. With an 0-3 start, the one who’s head is gonna be called for, it’s the goaltender. Before we all grab our pitch forks and torches in a rage to find somebody to tear apart, lets look at a couple things:

The first thing to look at is the defense, and right now, with the exceptions of maybe 1 or 2 players, has been downright awful. Turnovers, bad passes, many missed assignments, and just being out of place is killing this team. Against The Canucks, The Blue Jackets allowed them to crash the crease, no resistance whatsoever, allowing them to bang in any rebounds after Mason would make the first save. Normally, a team would be able to clear the crease in that situation. Also allowing teams to use their sticks to deflect pucks in without any resistance, they have to do a better job of battling, because they are losing on all fronts right now.

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Last season: 34-35-11 81pts, 5th Central, Did not make Playoffs

Additions: Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski, Curtis Sanford, Mark Dekanich, Radek Martinek, Ryan Russell, Cody Bass, Vaclav Prospal

Losses: Jakub Voracek, Anton Stralman, Sami Lepisto, Andrew Murray, Chris Clark, Craig Rivet, Ethan Moreau, Kyle Wilson, Jan Hejda, Mathieu Garon, Mike Commodore, Scottie Upshall, Mike Blunden

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Two of the unbeatens squared off at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, where Dan’s Flyers took on Jeremy’s Kings. The crowd was rocking pregame and it continued as Eric Lindros scored 26 seconds into the game. The Kings quieted the Philadelphia faithful with two goals less than two minutes apart, one by Wayne Gretzky and the other by Ian Laperriere. At the 13:41 mark of the second period, Kevin Stevens took a high sticking penalty, and the Flyers capitalized on the ensuing powerplay. Rod Brind’Amour knotted the game up at 2. The score remained the same heading into the third, but not for long. Six seconds into the final period, Eric Desjardins scored to give the Flyers the lead. Justin Williams added an empty net goal to seal the deal.

Andy’s Bruins hosted Joey’s Penguins at TD Garden in Boston.  The Penguins took an early penalty by John Cullen, leading to a Ray Bourque powerplay goal 45 seconds into the game.  Midway through the first, Ed Olczyk scored the Penguins’ first tournament goal to tie it at 1.  Mario Lemieux scored the only goal in the second period, giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead heading into the third.  The Bruins wouldn’t quit, and their persistence turned into a Joe Thornton goal with nine minutes remaining in regulation.  The teams battled through overtime, but with twelve seconds left, Mario Lemieux scored his second of the night to give Pittsburgh two points.  Both Tim Thomas and Tom Barrasso were on their games, as each team had over 50 shots. (more…)

There hasn’t been much to cheer about in Columbus the past two seasons, hopes of change at last years trade deadline in acquiring Scottie Upshall and Sami Lepisto, hoping for a playoff push that never came, and instead ended in another early summer with plenty of holes to fill and questions to answer. Same old Jackets…..

Scott Howson on the hot seat had to do something, the team needed a change, and in what seemed to be another ho hum free agent season with little activity, turned into one of the most active, and exciting offseasons in franchise history.

Columbus said goodbye to Jakub Voracek and hello to Jeff Carter (PHOTOS:AP)

In a move that was pretty much denied by multiple beat writers, on June 23rd, The Columbus Blue Jackets traded Jakub Voracek and their 1st round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft to The Philadelphia Flyers for Jeff Carter. The position that has eluded The Blue Jackets for 10 years was finally filled, a number 1 center. Carter has, after all, scored 30+ goals and had 60+ points in his last three seasons.

And people have said “Carter and Nash on a line together won’t work” And these people see Carter as a shooter, the same as Nash, and you can almost see their point. However, when you look at it, both him and Nash have a pretty good record of assisting on goals as well as scoring them. And something that has also been mentioned, this move gives Columbus some breathing room offensively on the ice, instead of defenders focusing on Nash, they will have multiple targets to cover.

James Wisniewski brings his powerplay abilities to the team

On June 29th, The Blue Jackets made their 2nd big move, acquiring the negotiating rights to James Wisniewski from The Montreal Canadiens for a conditional 7th round pick.  On July 1st, he signed a 6 year, $44 million dollar contract with Columbus.  “Wiz” brings his offensive abilities to The Blue Jackets defense in hopes of turning on the scoring for The Blue Jackets powerplay. He will by all definition, be the powerplay quarterback for this team.

Some will say “The Blue Jackets really overpaid for a injury prone defenseman.” While there is some truth in there about the high salary, think about this for a minute, did anyone look at the slim defensive market? And was there anything better than him to add that satisfied the specific team needs? Or anyone remotely as interested as signing here as he was?  The answer is no. And yes, he has had some knee surgeries but, with any player you run the risk of injury, it is a gamble for any player in signing a big contract. But if you don’t take that risk, it’s a guarantee you can never reap the potential reward.

Mark Dekanich looks to take Steve Mason's #1 starting spot

And knowing Scott Howson, Columbus fans can always expect that “Who is that?” signing in the offseason, and that award easily goes to the new backup goaltender Mark Dekanich. Signed to a 1 year deal July 1st, Dekanich has only seen 1 NHL game. This signing seems like a sign that it is Steve Mason’s year to rise or fall with real competition on his tail. Dekanich has shined at the AHL level with Milwaukee, going 65-38-11 his last 3 seasons.

“Is going with an inexperienced backup a good idea?” This has to easily be the biggest gamble of the team. But if Dekanich comes into camp with the mindset of “That #1 spot is mine” and he competes hard, that can only mean good things for him, and Mason. Mason will be pushed harder, as will Dekanich, and we will find out who we can really rely on behind the new look team. The goaltending battle in Columbus should be interesting to watch this season, definitely something for any CBJ fan to keep an eye on.

Fans wanted change, Scott Howson delivered this offseason.

 Scott Howson knew this team needed a change, and he went out, knowing what he had to do, and he did it. For the first time since making their first playoff appearance, there is a real buzz about The Columbus Blue Jackets in town, and it is all thanks to him. They have the pieces they have longed for, the puzzle is nearing completion. It is clear The Blue Jackets have sounded their cannons to the rest of the NHL letting them know, this isn’t the same old Jackets.

CS Hockey’s Blue Jackets writer Cujo, and Flyers writer Realdeal, discuss the rumored trade between their teams.

Jeff Carter and Jakub Voracek could switch teams this offseason if rumors prove true.

Ah yes, the offseason, talk of the draft, free agent season, and with that come the trade rumors. This rumor we look at today involves the Philadelphia Flyers sending center Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets for their first round pick in the 2011 draft (8th overall), and right winger Jakub Voracek .

This rumor has spread like wildfire the past few weeks, even with people such as Anthony San Filippo, a beat writer for the Flyers, saying  members of the Flyers organization have denied a Carter to Columbus trade. But, if it did happen, what would it mean to the Blue Jackets, and the Flyers? And would it make sense for both teams?

From Cujo’s Perspective:

In my opinion, for the Blue Jackets, this trade would get them something they have always needed, a prime scoring center to play alongside captain Rick Nash. As for the 1st round pick, it seems as if Columbus has been trying to get rid of it the second they found out they were picking 8th. Columbus GM Scott Howson knows this team cannot afford to wait any longer, they need improvement, and they need it now, and this trade, would do that. It makes perfect sense for Columbus. The only issues are Carter’s contract length, and the depth hit at right wing for Columbus, but im sure this hasn’t been thought of by GM Scott Howson already, and he has a plan for more moves to fix any issue this potential trade would cause.

From Realdeal’s Perspective:

To me, a Carter trade doesn’t make sense. You have a team that is close to the Stanley Cup (went to the Finals last year) and they’d trade one of their core parts? That doesn’t make sense, regardless of making cap space to fit a goalie (Bryzgalov)  in. Carter finished 7th in the league in goals last year(36), and goal scorers don’t grow on trees. Voracek would clear a couple million in salary, and fill the likely departed Ville Leino’s spot on a wing. Acquiring the #8 pick could help restock the bare farm system the Flyers have. But the team will be losing alot of goals from last year just to stay under the salary cap.

Rumors Run Wild:

As stated earlier, this is just a rumor, even being denied by some in the Flyers organization. This rumor seemed to pick up steam when picked up by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch. There has even been rumors of multiplayer deals between the two teams, with names being thrown around like Carle, Leighton, heck, even Mason. But that is the beauty of these things, you can start a rumor involving anyone, and it can spread like a wildfire, but the trade may never happen. As for this rumor, I suppose the truth will come out at the NHL Draft, when this supposed trade is scheduled to go down. The guessing and speculating can end with the team announcing the 8th overall pick.