Earlier this week, I marveled at Steve Mason’s save percentage, which was all the way down to an appalling .877. He’s actually put together two caveat-free excellent performances since then, which prompted the struggling goalie to share some rare words of optimism.
“I’m feeling really good right now,” Mason said. “That time when (Curtis Sanford) was getting the consecutive starts really gave me an opportunity to work on some things, and I feel good about my game and things are going well.”
Mason stopped 36 out of 37 shots against the Dallas Stars in a 4-1 win last night and only allowed one goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Amusingly enough, making 61 out of his last 63 saves pushed his 2011-12 save percentage to .887. That still qualifies as the numbers of a mediocre backup, but it’s a significant upgrade from what I called “bad for the ’80s.”
The struggling should-be franchise goalie might just have a point about the value of stepping back, though.
His Calder Trophy campaign created a lot of excitement, but it’s not crazy to think that it rushed along his development by a stage or two. In all honesty, the 23 year old netminder might have even benefited from a confidence-building tour of the AHL during the last couple years. Instead, the Blue Jackets brass essentially crossed their fingers and hoped that he’d “figure it out.”
Two strong games won’t overturn a lot of worrisome evidence, but maybe he can take baby steps on his way back to being a credible NHL goaltender.