Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/12/13 at 11:45 AM ET
from Craig Custance of ESPN The Magazine,
It wasn't until around 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving, when the Flyers arrived home from a Florida trip in which the they were swept by the Lightning and Panthers. The team was given the holiday off by coach Craig Berube and if there was a player who deserved a day to kick back, watch some football and relax, it was Steve Mason.
November was a good month for the Flyers goaltender. He finished it with a 6-2-2 record, 1.94 goals-against average and, most, impressively a .938 save percentage. You have to go back to December 2008 to find a month in which he started at least 10 games and had a save percentage that high. That was his breakout rookie season in Columbus, the year that, in retrospect, might have not have been the best way for a 20-year-old goalie to break into the NHL.
At 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving, Mason passed on the day off and was on the ice in Philadelphia with a few shooters, getting ready for a game the following day that came with an 11:30 a.m. start. And he was nearly perfect against the Jets that following day, stopping 25 of 26 shots to squash a losing streak before it could get started.
Those who know him well questioned if Mason would have been willing to put in that work a few years prior with his ego still inflated from one of the most impressive rookie seasons any goalie has completed in recent memory. Later in his tenure in Columbus, when overconfidence wasn't an issue, the loss of trust and confidence between him and his former team made it hard to dig deep and put in extra effort. Those excuses are gone. Still just 25 years old, Mason is learning an important lesson with his second organization -- talent alone won't cut it.
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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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