InGoal Roundup: Mason guts out injury for win in purple pads
… But Carey Price no longer tickled pink by charity equipment. Plus Kings give sizzling Quick night off; Luongo feeling heat after Schneider’s sensational save; and more in the Oct. 26 InGoal update.
It would have been easy for embattled Columbus goalie Steve Mason to stay in the locker room.
Winless through eight games of a season that has quickly gone sideways for all involved, banged up after a collision in the crease, and having already given up a questionable sharp-angle goal in a game against a Detroit team that had owned his Blue Jackets, Mason instead only missed 2:33 with an apparent shoulder injury. He insisted on coming back in for rookie Allen York, a fourth stringer pressed into duty because of previous injuries to backup Mark Dekanich and No.3 Curtis Sanford, stopped 30 of the next 31 shots, and was named the first star in desperately needed 4-1 win over the rival Red Wings.
“It was something that was causing me a lot of pain for a little bit,” Mason said of what he’d only call an “upper-body” injury. “I came back (to the locker room), gave it a little bit of time and figured I’d get back out there.”
Through the tough times – and they’re going on three years now – it appears Mason has not lost his sense of humour. According to Columbus Dispatch reporter Aaron Portzline, the 23-year-old joked after the game that the new purple Vaughn pads he wore in Tuesday’s game “are no longer up for auction” as part of his initiative to raise money for Hockey Fights Cancer.
Price not longer pretty in pink
Mason may have been kidding, but Carey Price may not be when it came to ditching his charity inspired equipment.
Price pointed out he is now 0-6 since switching over to the pink-trimmed Reebok pads that debuted here at InGoal Magazine as part of an effort to raise money for both Hockey Fights Cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Both the equipment and Price’s pink mask are being auctioned off for those charities, with bidding for the David Arrigo-painted lid already over $12,000 but the Reebok Premier 4 pads, which aren’t even available to the public yet, priced below retail at just $1,000 as of Wednesday morning.
“Game-time decision,” he joked with Montreal about wearing them against Philadelphia Wednesday. “I’m one loss away from wearing a garter belt, Bull Durham style.”
Quick rests on three-straight shutouts
Kings’ No.1 Jonathan Quick got a rare – and in the eyes of many, surprising – night off Tuesday despite coming off a three-straight shutouts and a franchise record goalless run. But as Los Angeles coach Terry Murray explained, it had to happen sooner rather than later, regardless of how well he was playing, in order to keep his starter rested.
“Quick can’t play 82 games,” Murray said. “We’ve got 17 games here in front of us until the end of [November]. Fifteen are conference games. So what do you do? Am I going to wait until December, when we have five Eastern Conference games, and get him in then? [Backup Jonathan Bernier has] got to play. He’s a good goalie and he played great for us in the second half of the year last year. We’ve got a lot of big games right in front of us now, so it’s time to start putting him into some games. The decision was made Saturday morning. It’s not like it was after Quick’s third shutout. It was before, to give him a heads up. It was fair to give him an opportunity to think about it over the weekend, the day off on Sunday, and come in to work hard yesterday in practice. There’s no second-guessing this one for me. It’s just time for him to get playing again.”
As for Quick, he’s taking everything in stride and saying all the right things after a stretch that includes 1-0 wins over both Pacific Division rivals Phoenix and Dallas, and a 5-0 blanking of St. Louis. His shutout streak, which remains intact despite the Kings’ 3-0 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday, sits at 188 minutes and 10 seconds, just surpassing the previous Kings record of 185:55, set by Rogie Vachon during the 1975-76 season. But as Quick told the Los Angeles Times for a piece on the team’s goaltending, it’s not like the streak comes as the result of any big changes:
“There’s nothing different about my game or, I feel, anybody’s game that would be the reason for anything like this to happen,” said Quick, who was named the NHL’s top star last week, and leads the league with a 0.81 goals-against average and .972 save percentage. “I do feel good, but just in getting one shutout, so much goes into it. You need your team playing so well in front of you and you need to catch bounces and get lucky. The fact we were fortunate enough to get three in a row just talks about how great the whole team is playing together and how the bounces are just going your way right now.”
Luongo’s life not an easier after spectacular Schneider save
Roberto Luongo was already under fire in Vancouver for what has become an annual slow start. Giving up three goals on four shots in the second period (and 14 shots in total) of a 3-2 loss in Edmonton Tuesday night won’t ease the criticism despite a long track record of October struggles and excellence the rest of the season. And the calls for backup Cory Schneider to play more, including Wednesday against St. Louis, won’t get any quieter after this sensational save in relief Tuesday:
Even if Schneider himself was one of many to come to Luongo’s defense after yet another game where he wasn’t alone making glaring mistakes (the second goal, after a puckhandling gaffe, was the only one that can be hung largely on the goalie).
“I’m sure Lui doesn’t want your pity, but as a goalie sometimes you go through these phases where you just can’t catch a break,” Schneider told the Vancouver Sun after the game. “It’s something you have to fight through and he’ll start getting the bounces and get back on track. You know he’s frustrated. He doesn’t want to be subjected to this. He wants to help the team win and like he said he looked great and played great in the first period, but five sloppy minutes of hockey by the team and that’s it.”
It doesn’t help Luongo, who smashed his stick into pieces on the bench after being pulled, when veteran Nikolai Khabibulin is making saves like this one at the other end, echoing the 4-0 loss to the Rangers in which Henrik Lundqvist was sensational and outplayed Luongo, who ended up being booed by the home fans in Vancouver:
One-timers from around the goaltending world (wide web):
~ Speaking of great saves, this one by sizzling Dallas starter Kari Lehtonen was a lot less technically sound (note the quickness of the backside recovery push by Khabibulin to get across on Sami Salo), but no less spectacular:
~ Tampa Bay veteran Mathieu Garon delivered a clinic on patience Tuesday night, not so much against shooters as with his own game. After giving up two goals on the first three shots, Garon said he took a step back, refocused and watched his team come back for a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. “You have to forget about the goals because if you give up another one it’s probably over,” Garon said after 36 saves. “You just have to worry about the next shot and battle through.”
~ Washington backup Michal Neuvirth, sidelined with a bruised right foot since Oct. 8, may be ready to return Thursday against the Oilers, according to a report in the Washington Post. The problem is the Capitals only play twice in seven days and No.1 Tomas Vokoun has gotten on a serious role while Neuvirth was out, winning six straight games to raise his save percentage to .944 and earn third star honours from the NHL.
Vokoun talked about his recent play with the NHL Network: