Steve Mason

It’s time for the Steve Mason experience to end in Columbus


It seems like forever ago that Steve Mason posted 10 shutouts in a season and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. That was just the 2008-2009 season though and since then it’s been a slow decline for Mason in Columbus.

Going from a rookie year that saw him put up a goals against average of 2.25 to becoming a guy with a GAA over 3.00 is a terrifying change of pace for the Blue Jackets and with the team doing miserably once again, it’s time for the Blue Jackets to start looking around for alternatives for their starting goalie.

Yes, the Blue Jackets foolishly gave Mason a huge contract after his big year and it’s a contract that’s got one more year left on it after this one at $2.9 million. That doesn’t mean the Jackets have to stop snooping around, however. A major issue for Columbus now is they have no one to challenge Mason.

Backup goalie Mark Dekanich has been hurt since preseason and top AHL option Curtis Sanford is also banged up leaving fresh out of college rookie Allen York, formerly at RPI, to be the backup. Banking on your fourth stringer to help be your safety net is dangerous living.

Without anyone to seriously push Mason or even take the job away from him for the time being, Columbus is stuck in a bad way. If they’re unable to do anything about it, it’s an issue that could linger through til next season whether coach Scott Arniel or GM Scott Howson are there to see it through or not. Figuring things out in goal could go a long way to fixing things in Ohio.

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.