Posts Tagged ‘Steve Mason’

2014 NHL playoffs preview: New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers

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Goalie Steve Mason of the Philadelphia Flyers vs. the New York Rangers

If it’s spring, there must be questions about the quality of the Flyers’ playoff goaltending. (Scott Levy/Getty Images)

By Sarah Kwak

Regular season recaps

Oct. 24: Flyers 2, Rangers 1

Jan. 12: Rangers 4. Flyers 1

March 1: Flyers 4, Rangers 2

March 26: Rangers 3, Flyers 1

Notable injuries

Rangers: D Ryan McDonagh (shoulder, day-to-day), LW Chris Kreider (hand, day-to-day)
Flyers: G Steve Mason (upper body, day-to-day)

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  • Published On Apr 15, 2014
  • NHL players with something to prove: mission accomplished?

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    By Allan Muir

    Prior to the season, the staff identified 19 players who had something on the line in 2013-14. These players faced pressures that went beyond what others had to deal with — from living up to either their hype or their fat paychecks (or both), to getting back to the qualities that made them noteworthy in the first place.

    Today, with the season in the home stretch, we went back to that original list to examine those expectations and see which players met them … and which fell short, sometimes miserably so.

    Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks

    Bryan Bickell of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Playoff hero Bryan Bickell (29) has had an up and down season for the defending champs. (Elise Amendola/AP)

    What we said then: Bickell emerged as a game-breaking power forward (nine goals, 17 points in 23 postseason games) during Chicago’s run to the Stanley Cup last year, exactly the sort of player that several teams were seeking in free agency. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman recognized how hot a commodity Bickell had become and signed him at full value (four years, $16 million), though he had to trade Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to create cap space. Even at 27, Bickell remains a work in progress. Stretches of inconsistency are inevitable, but he needs to translate that playoff magic into 25-plus regular season goals. We think he will.

    The verdict now: After getting off to a solid start with four goals in October, Bickell’s season has been defined by extended periods of ineffective play. He’s been limited by injuries — a lower-body ailment cost him 15 games in November and December, and he’s currently out with an upper-body issue — but it’s the inconsistency of his physical play that’s more troubling than his weak numbers (10 goals, two assists). Coach Joel Quenneville has cut Bickell’s minutes and has even benched him, but he hasn’t been able to ignite the passion or the offensive touch that was expected from the big winger. Anything short of another magical postseason for him and his new contract will veer towards bust.

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  • Published On Mar 27, 2014
  • Top Line: John Tortorella returns; Ryan Callahan trade watch; more links

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    Vancouver Canucks fans hold signs in support of coach John Tortorella

    Canucks fans will welcome their coach back tonight and hope he rescues their sliding team. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • John Tortorella can return to work this morning, but with the Canucks in a 2-4 tailspin since he was banished 15 days ago, he’s not expected to be in a good mood.

    • Plenty of teams are interested in the services of Ryan Callahan. The problem for the Rangers is that the club is working on an accelerated timetable. New York GM Glen Sather set the Olympic roster freeze as his deadline to make a deal … and by doing so, may have hamstrung himself. Waiting until the Rangers’ captain hits free agency works just fine for Callahan’s suitors, and it dilutes Sather’s bargaining power.

    • Dylan St. Cyr is viewed as one of the most promising American-born goaltenders in the game today. The kid comes by it naturally … considering who his mom happens to be.

    • With a spot yet to be filled on Sweden’s Olympic roster, Gustav Nyquist picked an ideal time to score his first career hat trick. His recent hot streak comes at a fortuitous time for the Red Wings as well, with Pavel Datsyuk not expected back in the lineup this week.

    • You know, it might not be such a bad thing if Detroit misses the playoffs after all.

    • Doesn’t matter whether you’re a vet like Daniel Alfredsson or a first-timer like Tomas Jurco. It’s impossible the hide the excitement with the Sochi games fast approaching.

    • Steve Mason has regained his mojo just in time for a Flyers team that’s in the midst of a harsh test out west.

    • Phil Kessel is on track to become the first Maple Leafs sniper since Mats Sundin to score 40 goals in a season, and he’s also on the verge of a new personal best in assists. Kessel may never be truly beloved in Toronto, but he’s emerged as the team’s best player … and he’s only getting better.

    • Ed Tait says the reports of the demise of the Jets appear to have been greatly exaggerated. With an 8-2 mark in their past 10 games, they’ve ripped off the toe tag and leapt back into the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. Amazing.

    • Dmitry Kulikov enjoyed his time in the KHL during the NHL lockout, but the pending free agent says he has no interest in returning to Russia. Is that denial a prelude to a new deal with the Panthers, or is it a well-placed hint to enhance his value ahead of the trade deadline?

    • A little-known CBA stipulation means that the Sharks have to play back-up goalie Alex Stalock heavily down the stretch or risk losing him as an unrestricted free agent.

    • James Neal is mired in a scoring drought, but it’s not for lack of trying.

    • Marriage proposals, parody Twitter accounts, and spying your name on the back of fan jerseys are just part of the process when you’re growing up in the NHL.

    • No longer The International Man of Mystery, Carl Soderberg is revealing himself to be “a darn good hockey player” for the Bruins.

    • The Boston University Terriers have won a record 29 Beanpot championships and boast 26 title game appearances in the last 30 seasons. But the No. 2 ranked Boston College Eagles have won the last four titles and are on the verge of denying another BU senior class a chance to win college hockey’s most prestigious tournament. The two rivals meet today in the tourney semi-final.

    • Justin Schultz is learning the hard way how to become a quality NHL defenseman.

  • Published On Feb 03, 2014
  • Zombie Wayne Simmonds on Flyers goalie Steve Mason’s new mask

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    Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason's new zombie mask

    With his game back from the dead, Steve Mason is sporting a scary new lid. (Flyers Nation via Twitter)

    By Allan Muir

    Steve Mason's new goalie mask has Zombie Wayne Simmonds on it.

    (Adam Kimelman via Twitter)

    Steve Mason’s apparent zombie obsession makes perfect sense.

    More than simply a reflection of the current zeitgeist, the undead serve as the perfect metaphor for the career of the Flyers puckstopper — lifeless in Columbus, only to be revived unexpectedly this season in Philadelphia (although his game is starting to show signs of decay lately).

    But also: Zombies are awesome, which makes them an ideal theme for Mason’s new mask. His freshly painted bucket not only offers a parade of shambling walkers, it features a Zombie Wayne Simmonds.

    Let that sink in for a minute: Zombie Wayne Simmonds …

    And here’s a look at one of his new sticks, also painted with images of flesh-eating ghouls.

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  • Published On Jan 24, 2014
  • Top Line: Canucks, Flames wage old-fashioned line brawl; more links

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    Kellan Lain (left) was ejected two seconds into his NHL debut after his role in Saturday's line brawl. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty)

    Kellan Lain (left) was ejected two seconds into his NHL debut after his role in Saturday’s line brawl. (Jeff Vinnick/Getty)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • If you missed last night’s game between the Flames and Canucks, you missed a testosterone-fueled match-up that will go down as one of the most memorable of the season. In Vancouver, Tony Gallagher argues this was the real Heritage Classic, capturing old-time hockey at its best…or worst.

    • Jason Botchford has the scene from the hallway during the first intermission scuffle that earned John Tortorella a hearing on Monday with the league.

    • Here’s how the game started:

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  • Published On Jan 19, 2014
  • Top Line: Milan Lucic bar fight update; Antti Raanta “killed” ‘em; more links

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    Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins was involved in a bar fight in Vancouver.

    It turned out to be a rough and tumble Western swing for the Bruins’ Milan Lucic. (Steven Alkok/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • More details have emerged about the late-night incident involving Milan Lucic and an unnamed assailant. Looch looks better by the minute.

    • The Lucic incident is a reminder that players are always under scrutiny when they’re out in public and that any misstep is a potential YouTube nightmare.

    • Legal analyst Eric Macramella takes a look at the process and ramifications of Shawn Thornton’s decision to appeal his 15-game suspension.

    • What a lede: “On the day Blackhawks rookie goalie Antti Raanta got everybody killed, he had two rifles and a massive rocket launcher strapped to his back as he desperately clung to a motorcyclist driving upwards of 60 mph …”

    • Adam Oates found a way to get Alex Ovechkin’s offensive game back on track. Now, he’s trying to teach the star forward about the defensive side of the puck. If Oates can succeed at that, let’s not even bother voting on the Jack Adams Award, OK?

    • The Capitals are carrying three goalies right now, but that doesn’t mean they don’t believe in their No. 1 guy.

    • One veteran Olympian knows exactly what Steven Stamkos is going through. He made it back in time to represent his country, and believes the Team Canada hopeful will, too.

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  • Published On Dec 17, 2013
  • Top Line: Fighter rips ex-coach Bob Hartley; Alfie in Ottawa; more links

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    Bob Hartley, now coach of the Calgary Flames, was ripped by one of his former Avalanche players.

    Flames coach Bob Hartley is not remembered fondly by one his former players. (Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • This piece by Mike Chambers and Adrian Dater of The Denver Post tackles the ongoing fighting/concussion debate with a solemn thoroughness. But what makes it a must-read are the damning comments that former Colorado enforcer Scott Parker directs toward his ex-coach, Bob Hartley. This isn’t quite the smoking gun that the concussion lawsuit lawyers need, but it paints a vivid picture of institutional neglect that the NHL’s attorneys should fear. Parker also makes Hartley, now coach of the Calgary Flames, look like a pretty sorry human being.

    • In a companion piece, Chambers illustrates the impact that outlawing fighting has had in American college hockey. It’s not pretty.

    • Dater doesn’t like the chances of the concussion lawsuit succeeding, or Patrick Roy’s behavior in the aftermath of Colorado’s loss to St. Louis last week.

    • Another former enforcer, Darren McCarty, has a new book out just in time for Christmas gift giving. To give you a taste of what’s inside, here’s an excerpt that details his memories of his legendary beatdown of Claude Lemieux.

    • Daniel Alfredsson was overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection from Ottawa fans prior to Sunday’s game…and then was booed whenever he touched the puck. Nice to see Sens fans know when it’s time to get down to business.

    • In case you missed it, here’s the Alfredsson pre-game tribute video. Nicely done, although I think it’s probably safe to retire “Beautiful Day” by now, don’t you?

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  • Published On Dec 02, 2013
  • Top Line: Jaromir Jagr’s record — not; Isles GM covers caboose; more links

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    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Jaromir Jagr thought he set a new record with his game-winning goal last night. So did the NHL. But then, as he usually does in these matters, Gordie Howe had something to say . . .

    • Some interesting details have emerged that (slightly) change the complexion of Sunday’s blockbuster deal between the Isles and Sabres. It still looks like a rout for Buffalo, but Isles GM Garth Snow managed to protect his backside a bit better than it originally seemed.

    • The TSN Insiders panel touched on the deal, along with the possible return of Rick DiPietro, Dion Phaneuf’s contract, and a Team Canada roster dilemma ahead of the World Juniors.

    • Thomas Vanek’s debut with the Islanders did not go well.

    • The Sabres need to do more than rebuild, say some fans. They need to reform. Hey, if they’re not willing to go that far, the NHL may take care of that for them.

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  • Published On Oct 30, 2013
  • Top Line: Lucic, Price and Gaborik must step up; so does Seguin; more links

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    Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins

    Milan Lucic had an awful 2013 regular season, but redeemed himself in the playoffs. (Charles Krupa/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Patrick King offers a list of 10 Eastern Conference players who must step it up this season, including Milan Lucic, Marian Gaborik and Carey Price. The most intriguing to me might be Carolina’s Jeff Skinner, whose new contract kicks in this year. Does he really have more to give, or have injuries taken such a toll that we’ve already seen his best?

    • Mike Heika has spent the past few days profiling players on the Dallas Stars, but today he gets around to the one who hockey fans in Texas can’t wait to see for themselves: Tyler Seguin. Unique talent and opportunity offer the potential for a great season, Helka says, and it’s tough not to agree.

    • Luke Fox writes that vacation time is over for Steve Mason and Philly’s new goalie is ready to get back to work. It’s time to prove that his hot finish wasn’t just a streak, but evidence that he’s ready and able to carry the load for this team.

    • The St. Louis Blues get the 30-in-30 treatment today on GM Doug Armstrong offers some insight into the team’s changing culture and what that means for the top prospects.

    • While you’re at, check out John Kreiser’s piece on the league’s top players in the over-35 division.

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  • Published On Aug 13, 2013
  • Top Line: Pierre McGuire story finds new life; Patrick Kane gets smart; more links

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    Pierre McGuire coached the Hartford Whalers in 1993-94.

    Pierre McGuire guided the Hartford Whalers to a 23-37-7 record in 1993-94. (Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s short list of must-read hockey stories:

    • Someone on Twitter pulled up an old column written about the firing of Pierre McGuire by the Hartford Whalers and it is amazing. Apparently some people didn’t like him much back then, either. Not sure I can recall the last time a coach was ripped quite like this on his way out the door.

    • Missed this one the other day, but it’s still worth a read: Patrick Kane is trying to mix good judgment in with his good times during this summer of celebration.

    • Bryan Bickell was part of the 2010 champion Blackhawks, but didn’t play a large enough role to get his name on the Cup. He says missing out on that honor provided all the motivation he needed heading into this season’s playoffs.

    • OK, so he played fairly well down the stretch after being acquired from Columbus. But are the expectations of fans in Philadelphia setting Steve Mason up for failure next season?

    • Here’s a look at some of Philly’s top prospects, including first-rounder Scott Laughton and Nick Cousins.

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  • Published On Jul 29, 2013