What a past couple of weeks it has been for Steve Mason. First, Jeff Reese, his biggest supporter and mentor mutually agrees to part ways with the club as the goaltending coach. Then his two best defensemen in Kimmo Timonen and Braydon Coburn are dealt away at the trade deadline. Then the season completely unravels and the Flyers find themselves dead and buried in the Eastern Conference standings. However, Mason is not at fault for the team’s recent losing skid, as he has been nothing short of spectacular over the stretch.
With a defensive corps in front of him that is wearing thin due to trades and injury and a lack of offensive output, what else can Mason do? He can’t make saves AND score all by himself (well, unless he’s Ron Hextall that is.) His stats are top-tier starting goaltender numbers. With a GAA of 2.26 and .925 save%, he is the fifth best goalie in the NHL. Any team with a top five goalie is usually in playoff contention.
Following a very lackluster effort in a 2-1 loss to the Stars, in a game where the Flyers playoff chances were on life support and a sense of urgency was very much needed, Steve Mason voiced his frustration. He was “embarrassed” and said that the rest of the team should be embarrassed too.
After wasting one of Mason’s best performances all season at a time where every point in the playoffs race is critical, they should be embarrassed. There is no excuse for a team with multiple 20-plus goal scorers and NHL point leaders on its roster to go out and barely be able to muster up 25 shots a game. They need to find some consistency and, and head coach Craig Berube needs to put lines together that will mesh. These are professional hockey players we are talking about. They need to be able to play wherever they are asked to play. In the four straights games the Flyers have lost, they have only scored five goals. It is very hard to win only scoring an average of a goal per game.
Thursday night’s 1-0 loss to the Blues in the shootout was a microcosm of the season. The desperation that was much-needed before was brought too little too late, and they still failed to score while Mason did all he could to give them the chance to win. They went down right in a row in the shootout, which has not been kind to them since its inception.
It has been sad to see the season go down in flames, but at least there is a glimmer of hope. If the 26-year-old stays with the organization for the foreseeable future , they might have finally found an answer to their revolving door of goalies which has been an issue for the past decade.