There’s some slightly surprising news out of Columbus today: the Blue Jackets extended goalie Steve Mason’s contract for two years. The deal will be worth $2.6 million in 2011-12 and $3.2 million in 2012-13 for an annual cap hit of $2.9 million, according to TSN’s Bob MacKenzie. This allows both sides to avoid restricted free agency until 2013, if at all.
After bursting on to the hockey scene with a Calder Trophy winning campaign that also nabbed him a Vezina Trophy nomination in 08-09, Mason’s production plummeted to earth in an Andrew Raycroftian way the next year. In his rookie season, he sported a 33-20-7 record with a 91.6 save percentage, 2.29 goals against average and a whopping 10 shutouts. Then, not unlike other former Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire, things fell apart in 09-10. He went 20-26-9 with a 90.1 save percentage, 3.06 GAA and five shutouts.
Many stats bloggers will point out that his 08-09 year was inflated quite a bit by a quick start and the often-misleading shutouts, but there’s little doubt that Mason regressed across the board.
So what does this mean? Well, it’s a nice gesture from Columbus, as it basically gives Mason a big vote of confidence. It’s as if the Blue Jackets are treating their young netminder the same way as the Montreal Canadiens are treating Carey Price. Both goalies have plenty of hype and pedigree, but after some struggling substantially, you must wonder if either team is making the right move.
Either way, it looks like Mason will be the Blue Jackets’ goalie for the next three seasons.
Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart
The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.
After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.
On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.
“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”
The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby
As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.
“There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”
Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.
#Pens Crosby on Dubinsky hit: I'm OK. I'm not surprised. If I was going to get one of those shots, it was going to be from him -SK