Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 01/02/09 at 06:02 PM ET
NEW YORK (Jan. 2, 2009)—Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason, who posted a 7-5-0 record with a 1.41 goals-against average, .950 save percentage and three shutouts in 12 games, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for December. It marks the second consecutive month that Mason has earned top rookie honors and the third consecutive month a Blue Jackets player has done so, following Derick Brassard in October.
Mason edged St. Louis Blues center Patrik Berglund (6-7—13 in 15 games), Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan (4-8—12 in 13 games), Boston Bruins left wing Blake Wheeler (5-6—11 in 13 games), Florida Panthers center Michael Frolik (4-7—11 in 14 games) and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (3-6—9 in 11 games) for the award.
Mason allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 12 games, including a career-high 47 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks Dec. 17 and a franchise-record three consecutive shutouts to close the month. Mason improved his season record to 12-7-1 with 1.69 goals-against average, .938 save percentage and five shutouts in 20 games. He leads the NHL in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts (tied with Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo).
Mason was Columbus’ second pick, 69th overall, in the 2006 Entry Draft. In 2007-08, the 20-year-old Oakville, Ontario native posted a 32-7-3 record with the London Knights and Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League and backstopped Canada to the gold medal at the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship by going 5-0-0 with a 1.19 goals-against average and .951 save percentage, earning tournament MVP honors. Earlier this season, Mason underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in September and was sidelined a month before making his professional debut with Syracuse Oct. 29.
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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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