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The startling fall of Steve Mason

Steve Mason

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Steve Mason reacts after giving up a goal to Vancouver Canucks’ Rick Rypien during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. Mason was removed from the game in the second period. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)


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.


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.