Flyers

Flyers

BOX SCORE

Steve Mason notched his 200th career win Saturday afternoon with a 4-2 effort against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The irony there is, this was likely his last game in a Flyers sweater.

He senses it. The Flyers know it.

Did he soak any of that in during play?

"Definitely well aware of it," Mason said. "Moving forward, I have no indication of what is going to be happening. Obviously, one game left in the season and I become a free agent. Leading into summertime, it will be uneasy and exciting and stressful time, for sure."

This was a rare occasion where the Flyers enjoyed an early lead on Sergei Bobrovsky while scoring their most goals this season against him, as well (see Instant Replay).

Mason termed the milestone "special." He has played 231 games here with a Flyers record of 104-78-36.

"I remember my first year, it was Michael Peca who said to me, to enjoy it because it goes by quickly," Mason said. "I was 20 years old. He was right.

"It goes by quick. I've fortunate to play with a lot of teammates I consider friends. Two hundred wins is a team stat. The goaltender is the one who has that on his record."

Mason had 20 saves in the victory, the first one in four tries against Bobrovsky this season. Anthony Stolarz is expected to play in Sunday's season finale against Carolina.

 

Mason has been here four full seasons plus seven games. Biggest regret if he leaves?

"Never experiencing a playoff beyond the first round," Mason said. "We came so close my first full year here and I really believe had we gotten past the Rangers in the first round, which we were so close to doing, then we had a team that was confident, scoring goals … it was something that would have been better to have."

He said he hoped there would be opportunities this offseason for further employment.

"I'll be stressed out if there won't," he said with a laugh. "The ball is my court, which is a little different feeling than the trade deadline, where my fate was in the organization's hands."

While his play has not been consistent, his outspoken candor after games has. It's something that endeared him with the media -- blunt, objective post-game critique -- but didn't endear himself to some teammates.

Saturday, he was voted the Yanick Dupre Class Guy Memorial Award by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

This award is presented annually to the Flyer who best illustrates character, dignity and respect for the sport both on and off the ice and is cooperative with the media.

Mason admitted his outspokenness might not have gone over well with everyone during his time here.

"When I speak after games, it's never anything personal," he said. "I hold myself accountable for everything. From my personal standpoint, I believe I step up and take the blame sometimes …

"Maybe sometimes I should choose my words more clearly, but it is never anything personal with the guys. I think they understand that. It's just that I care and want to have success with this organization."

Some players have grumbled on the side. Some feel that's the role of the team captain or select skaters in the leadership group -- not the goaltender.

Ron Hextall was blunt after games, too, but he was here a very long time, enjoyed a lot of success and earned the right to air his opinions.

"Nobody has ever said anything to me in terms of that," Mason said. "Hopefully, it hasn't rubbed guys the wrong way. It's holding guys to high standards, which I think is important.

"Maybe it's better I chose my words more carefully so not to offend anyone, but at the end of the day, guys in the room understand I speak out of caring."

Wayne Simmonds has been vocal -- on and off the ice. He often does the arguing on the ice with the officials instead of captain Claude Giroux.

Simmonds seldom holds back after games, too.

"I don't think it's a problem," Simmonds said in regards to Mason. "For myself, I am going to say what I feel like saying. If I mean it, and say it, I mean it. I guess you can classify Mase the same way. If he had something to say, he said it and wasn't shy about it.

 

"I don't have too big a problem with Mase. It is what it is. Guys are allowed to voice their opinions. If you feel something, it's going to come off your chest sooner or later."

Simmonds first played with Mason on Team Canada at age 19.

"I don't know if it's Mase's last game … it's been 3 1/2 or four years now and I have nothing but good memories," Simmonds said. "That's what I have to say."

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol had a brief response when asked about his goaltender's opinions.

"My teams, my experience, you always put the team first and speak from that experience," Hakstol said.

"No matter what position that you play. For our group, team-first mentality is absolute and it's very important."