Thursday, November 4, 2010

Garon steps back into the breach

Mathieu Garon, in a bit of a surprise, gets his second straight start for the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, this time against the Atlanta Thrashers.  It shouldn't be a surprise, seeing as Garon is coming off a shutout performance against the Montreal Canadiens.

Mason is the long-term answer at goal
and needs to be back in between the pipes.
(Flickr photo by Dylan Moody)
Steve Mason, however, sits as a result.  Mase has actually been playing well - perhaps close to his Calder Trophy level - but how do you bench a guy who just got a shutout?  Would that be fair?

In the short run, this is the right move.  In the long run, and considering that Mason is under contract through the end of 2012-2013 and Garon's contract is up at the end of this season, the Blue Jackets need to get him out on the ice as soon as possible.  Garon may be the hot goalie in the short term, but Mason needs to be the hot goalie over the longer haul.

Simply put, the Jackets can't afford for Mase to develop deep-rooted confidence issues like Montreal's Carey Price appears to have.  Garon is a good goalie and a tremendous backup, but Steve Mason has shown that he has the capacity to be among the best in the National Hockey League.  Isn't that worth making happen?


  1. Something went through my mind as I watched the game the other night, and I need to look at it closer. But it seemed to me and they guys behind me as well, that the team played 'different' when Garon is in there. Its almost like they have more confidence in him. I could be totally off base there, but it is something to look at in the next few weeks.

    I agree that Mason's the guy. A lot of the goals he has given up this year can be attributed to the poor play in front of him. I think that not only his confidence level, but the teams, needs to improve.

    All the rumblings that you hear and see from the general public, the ones not buying tickets right now, are wondering why Garon is not starting. I mean, if you hadn't watched a game and saw those numbers, you'd think the same thing too. Those are the folks you have to woo to get them back in the stands. NOTE: I am not saying that this is done to sell seats at home, but you get the idea.

    Bottom line, I like the move. Go with the hot hand. Get the two points.

  2. You're definitely onto something, Mark. I won't deny that Garon appeared to calm/inspire his teammates. And, yes, putting fans back in the stands needs to be of paramount importance.

    After Saturday's game against Minnesota, the CBJ will be entering a rough stretch against a series of pretty tough opponents. Regardless of who gets the starts over the balance of November's games, it will be interesting to see how the team plays...and whether the defense can hold up under the pressure that they're sure to face.

  3. Yes its good to go with the hot hand, and Garon has earned the start. That says, he came in to be a back up, and I think he supports Mason in that way, verbally and psychologically. Its better for Mason to be pushed. If you want the pipes, the currency is shut outs. Go pitch a few, and you get the pipes. I don't think Mase has an issue with that. So point being, if a goal tender is struggling, yet still getting the pipes, and that goal tender is Garon, then I think we'll have an issue with Mason. Until you see that, then its a long season, we have an excellent back up (for once!) and so you play him when he's hot, then you go back to the young stud. There is not a problem here.


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