Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pondering the Goal Tending

As we watch this season fade from view, and prepare to grasp these last few games to our breast in preparation for a long summer without hockey, I think on the goal tending these last few games.  What is our situation?  Mason has proved inconsistent.  Stellar at times, leaky at others.  This is the calling card of youth, so should not be a surprise.  Matty Garon has been the best backup in CBJ history, no holds barred.  However, when the chips were down, Mason was on a slide, he was unable to provide stability, and the desperately needed wins. 

So what must change?  In the absence of a real NHL goal tender in the pipeline, you either keep Mason, or trade him for a bona fide goal tender.  Keeping him is probably the best deal you will get.  Rook must go.  A nice experiment, but if he can't get his pupil to play confidently, then its not working any more.  It was a grasp at the past, when he did good work with Mason.  So its time for some 'tough love' for Mason.  A new goal tender coach who will not coddle him, and another goal tender in the off season who will push him aside with their play, if he falters, and seize the number one job.  Think Jaroslav Halak and Carey Price.

As I said, Matty is the best back up we've ever had.  His chance to remain backup evaporated in this last losing streak, with everything on the line, when we needed him to come in and stabilze the situation.  That didn't happen, season lost.  Its ridiculous how few points it would have taken to keep this thing alive.  And Matty was the guy we needed it from, and it didn't happen.

Don't get me wrong.  This losing streak is not about the goal tending.  If you had to name one factor I would say it was Brassard's injury.  But the goal tending was a contributing factor.  I wanted us to strongly consider re-signing Matty.  I no longer think that.  Its time for some tough love Mason. 



  1. It's sad. Every time I think Mase is on the rebound for good, he takes another back-slide. Granted, in his defense, many of the goals in the last few outings have been fluky enough to be out of his control, but his body language is clearly showing that he feels otherwise. He looked like an utterly beaten man after the final goal last night. That scares me.

  2. I hedge all over the place on the goaltending. Mason has frustrated beyond belief, and Garon is a good backup on his best day - but not a starter.

    At the same time, I honestly can't tell how much blame/credit I can throw on their shoulders for this season. The defense, as pointed out ad nauseum this season, has largely been a bunch of square pegs in round holes...a bunch of Hitchcock bruisers asked to be puck-movers and shooters. As such, everyone's re-learning - and some just aren't getting it like they should. Then, with those who DO get it, you have other issues...largely size and speed.

    I'm guessing the 2011 offseason will be Howson's Great Blueline Makeover if he has anything to say about it. If he gets a deal for Mase and arrives at a decent deal to keep Garon around without breaking the bank, so be it. But I'm inclined to give Mason another year and pray that he finally pulls a Carey Price.


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