Remember a couple of weeks ago when Steve Mason’s new equipment was being credited for his improved play?
For those that need to refresh their memories, an excerpt from The Columbus Dispatch’s story:
“We totally redesigned his equipment,” goaltending coach Ian Clark said. “He was playing undersized relative to league limits.”
So Mason got a makeover last month. He changed every piece of his equipment, save for his helmet, donned looser pants and went between the pipes for a game at Minnesota on Feb. 11.
The results were immediate.
Mason stopped 34 of 35 shots and won a game for the first time since December. It was the first victory in his resurgence, during which he has gone 7-3-1 with a 2.67 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. He had won only five of his previous 22 games, when his stats were somewhere south of dismal.
Long story short, his stats have re-migrated south of dismal. Mason was yanked for the second straight game last night in Detroit. Since the story broke about his new pads, he’s allowed 22 goals on 188 shots (.882 save percentage.)
Mason has, however, had a couple of excellent performances mixed in with the miserable ones. Friday versus Carolina, he stopped 39 of 40 shots in the Jackets’ 5-1 win. March 18 in Calgary, he was named first star in a 2-1 shootout win over the Flames.
So what’s GM Scott Howson to do this summer? Assuming he keeps his job, that is, does he pursue a young goalie like Cory Schneider or Jonathan Bernier and officially give up on Mason, or does he bring in a veteran stopgap and give the former Calder Trophy recipient another shot?
If it were me, I’d go with the first option. But it’s not me, and I’ve stopped trying to predict what the Jackets are going to do.