Philadelphia Flyers' Steve Mason cannot block a goal by Columbus Blue Jackets' Cam Atkinson during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Mason insists recent struggles haven’t sapped confidence


The Philadelphia Flyers offense seems to have woken up just in time for goaltender Steve Mason to go cold. He’s allowed 10 goals in his last three starts and has a 3.23 GAA and .890 save percentage in eight contests this month.

“Last month I had an extremely sharp game and it hasn’t been sharp in recent games and we’ve gone over a lot of video and (goalie coach Jeff Reeese) has reinforced it’s still a very simple game,” Mason told CSN Philly.

It’s not unusual for a good goaltender to have a bad month, but with Mason every rough patch is a source of dread. Although he’s been great with the Philadelphia Flyers, he’s still not that far removed from his years of struggles with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mason insists his confidence hasn’t suffered and he’s still gotten at least a point out of each of his last five starts.

“There’s no panic going on,” Reeese said. “We want to get him back to being consistent. That’s what we are looking for.”

Ray Emery will play between the pipes against the Blue Jackets tonight while Mason is expected to start on Monday versus Minnesota.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.