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Mason’s New Mask

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A few days ago goaltender for the Columbus Blue Jackets Steve Mason released pictures of his new mask for the upcoming season on twitter. He met with Adam Gretz to talk about his design.

“Adam Gretz: I guess the first thing I want to ask you about is your new mask. I saw some pictures of it last month and, man, that thing is crazy. Can you tell us a little bit about what all is going on there because it kind of scared the hell out of me.
Steve Mason: (laughs) Yeah that’s kind of the feeling I was going for. The past couple of years I’ve been with Columbus I’ve had kind of cartoony stuff on there and this year I wanted to go with a different look. Kind of realistic looking pictures and kind of a scary theme.”

It sure is terrifying, a raven alongside the Grim Reaper. That part seems cliché but next to that is a skeleton dressed as a Union soldier. In the background is the silhouette of another Union soldier on horseback bearing arms. Below that is the skull from the movie Evil Dead, which looks rather confused and curious. The scorn look of the soldier on Mason’s new mask is incredible.

Now if this Union soldier theme doesn’t make sense to you then you must not know what the hell a Blue Jacket is, let me explain. Why Columbus chose this team name was because Ohio contributed more of its population than any other state in the Union. It also is because that a large number of blue coats or “Blue Jackets” worn by the soldiers were actually manufactured in Columbus Ohio. I was happy with the selection of that name over a decade ago when I learned that it was between The Blue Jackets or Justice. Columbus Justice just doesn’t have that umf and sounds very lame. On second thought that may have fit.

Adam Gretz had the courage to ask our struggling goaltender what we’ve all been wondering, his thoughts.

“Gretz: Let’s talk some hockey. You’re only entering your fourth year but for some reason it feels like you’ve been around a lot longer than that. You came on the scene so fast your rookie season, and it seemed like that set expectations really high going forward. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that you’re still the youngest starting goaltender in the league, and if you look around the NHL, a lot of the guys that are starting weren’t even in the NHL at this age. It Just seems like that’s a position that takes plenty of time to develop and there’s going to be some bumps early on. Your thoughts on that?

Mason: Yeah, absolutely, my first year was everything I could have asked for and more. I think a lot of those things came to me easier than they should have. It was one of those years where pucks just seemed to hit you, and if a guy had an open net he might have missed it.

I think I was 19 or turning 20 that year, so by far I was the youngest starting goalie in the league other than maybe Carey Price. It’s something you have to relish and you can’t take it for granted because it can be taken away from you pretty quick. For myself I just have to have the confidence to get back to that level. Obviously this is a big year for us, we made some big changes in the offseason.”

So I guess it was luck that he received the Calder trophy. People were simply shooting the logo? It seemed to me that you were there before they even shot.  Not just with the blocker or the legs but with the trademark Mason glove save, sitting with his legs spread like a bored kid in gym class during his stretches. Even last year he passed the puck right to the stick of the opposing team; he then immediately dove backwards catching the puck that was shot into his glove. He needs to shake this low self esteem and realize his worth between the pipes. His rookie year was more talent than luck.

He goes on to tell you that he’s excited about Carter and “The Wiz” Wisniewski and also that he hopes Ken Hitchock finds a good job. Woot to Carter and Wiz being in Columbus but Steve is too nice here. I hope Ken never visits Ohio again and ends up driving a zamboni.

He comments on the people of Columbus

“Gretz: There has to be some excitement for the fans, as well, because the best, and really one of the only ways, to build a strong fan base is to win, and those are the type of additions that can help make that happen.

Mason: Yeah, the fans are in 100 percent there in the city and the surrounding area. When we made the playoffs my first year the city really rallied itself around the organization. I think the fans have been more than patient. It’s a fun spot to play and it’s one of the nicest rinks in the league, and when they’re filling up the building it’s a loud place, has a great atmosphere, and when the team puts together a winning streak there’s a definite buzz in the city, and we want to get in that spot more often than we’ve been.”

Damn right we’re patient; I learned patience because of the Jackets but now is the time to deliver. I hope Steve never wears that mask before the regular season starts, maybe it’ll spark something in him.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, Nicholas Lorenzi, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: art, blue+jackets, columbus, mask, mason, team+name

Comments

Doug Miller's avatar

I like the mask, as any Evil Dead reference is always welcome in my book!

Personally, I’d love to see Mason somehow find that talent again that landed him the Calder. As there is nothing more dangerous in the NHL than a hot goalie. Just ask Montreal, who rode a hot Halak all the way to the conference finals two seasons ago. Then again, there is a difference between hot and just plain amazing, like what Tim Thomas accomplished all of last season and throughout the playoffs… without whom Boston would have never gotten close to raising the Cup… and he’s very deserving of joint the list of elite goaltenders to have their name on the Conn Smythe.

I remember Mason’s first year, and watching him since… he’s got the Thomas-level talent somewhere in him…. he just needs to find it again, which I personally think is the team’s biggest X-factor as a key to having success.

Still, Columbus is in one hell of a tough division, and they are a better team than most people give them credit for. With the recent big off-season moves, I’m really interesting in seeing how the next few years play out for them, especially if Mason can finally return to his former level of play.

Good post sir, and good luck to your Blue Jackets this coming season. As you said, their fans have been more than patient despite the dry spell, and they deserve to be rewarded again at some point.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/24/11 at 10:20 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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