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Monday, February 2, 2009

Steve Mason - With and Without Mono

Last Thursday, Blue Jackets wunderkind goalie Steve Mason was diagnosed with mononucleosis. Furthermore, it was revealed that he's most likely had the infection for 3-4 weeks. Counting back four weeks from last Thursday, we can estimate that the kid dubbed "Stevie Franchise" by his teammates has been playing with mono since around 1 January. Is the illness reflected in his stats? You bet:

5 NOV - 31 DEC: 12-7-1, 1.68 GAA, .938 sv%, 5 Shutouts.

1 JAN - 31 JAN: 7-4-1, 2.67 GAA, .904 sv%, 2 Shutouts.

While Mason's "mono" stats aren't great, several goalies (and coaches) around the league would gladly take them. In fact, his "mono" Goals Against Average of 2.67 is better than the season-long GAA's of Jose Theodore, Miikka Kiprusoff, Ilya Bryzgalov and Marc-Andre Fleury. These stats are made more impressive by the fact that Mason played on back-to-back nights FOUR times in January, and was only pulled once in those games. It may be a bit early to refer to him as "Calder Trophy Winner Steve Mason", but it's safe to say that the trophy is his to lose.

Much has been written about Mason carrying the Blue Jackets while they had so many key players out with injuries. The drama was perhaps even more apparent here at On Goal Analysis, as we watched Columbus dance along the knife-edge of playoff elimination. In spite of illness, in spite of multiple injuries, the Jackets are now In The Curve and fully engaged in a battle for one of the two remaining playoff spots in the West. Get well soon, Stevie Franchise - your team needs you healthy for the final push to secure the first playoff berth in franchise history.

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