23 Intently Staring Goalies
by lsefton on 12/31/11 at 11:32 PM ET
Chris Mason has a hairy problem. It was time to him to give his beard a trim, and he started winning. Four games later, he’s still winning, and the beard is still there.
In a column by Tim Campbell of the Winnipeg Free Press, Mason says he’s shaved the beard off in the past. That must happen with about the same frequency as a solar eclipse over Winnipeg, because I have photos going back to his days playing for the Milwaukee Admirals of the old IHL, and he always has a beard. That’s 13 years of furry photos….
If the Jets keep winning with Mason in goal, that beard is likely heading for ZZ Top territory:
CHRIS MASON has come to the first fork in his road as a member of the Winnipeg Jets.
Should he or shouldn’t he?
Chris Mason sports a beard that would get him aboard most any pirate ship.
Some might suggest he should play more.
It’s a good argument after his 1-0 overtime shutout win over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Mason has won four straight for the Jets and Thursday was his 22nd career shutout.
But the real question is what to do with that beard, which is already approaching playoff density.
"I was joking around (Thursday) with my wife," Mason said Friday morning. "I told her, ‘Honey, I’ll shave my beard tomorrow.’ My (five-year-old) daughter said, ‘No, no, no.’ I said, ‘Well, unless I get a shutout.’ I was just joking around. Got the shutout, so I guess I have to keep it a while longer."
One might deduce from that that Mason, the 35-year-old veteran from Red Deer, Alta., is superstitious. That would be nothing new for a man in a mask.
"I like having a beard as it is, so that’s a good reason to keep it," he said. "Is it (an early) playoff thing?
I did that one year in St. Louis (2009). Bunch of us on that team did it. We were a lot of points out and we ended up coming back and making the playoffs. I think sometimes guys won’t change their dress clothes and stuff like that. It’s all part of when you feel good, you keep things the same.
"I’m no different."
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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies
23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.
On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.
I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.
We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.
It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!