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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM: FLYERS 6, ISLANDERS 4

General Manager Paul Holmgren explains the three-year extension for Steve Mason
Saturday, 01.18.2014 / 11:52 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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Flyers Inside Out
FROM THE LOCKER ROOM: FLYERS 6, ISLANDERS 4

PHILADELPHIA – The timing of Steve Mason’s contract extension with the way things went for him in his first game as a $12 million man couldn’t have been worse.

After all, Mason was the “victim,” as coach Craig Berube called him, of some shoddy play in front of him and had to be pulled from a game in which the Flyers eventually came back and won 6-4 over the New York Islanders.

Giving up four goals on 24 shots in just 34 minutes of work is not indicative of what $4.1 million a year goalies are paid to do.

However, despite a more up-and-down stretch of starts for Mason in the past few weeks, trying to pin the blame on him for any of the four goals allowed would be ludicrous.

“I don’t think that was his fault, all those goals,” said Andrej Meszaros. “It’s the coach’s decision but I think he played pretty good. We didn’t help him much the first two periods, then [Ray Emery] came in and we had a great third period.”

And that’s pretty much the case, yet many will use this game, plus a few others recently in which Mason has allowed a few goals more than in October and November, to try to besmirch the signing and the contract, once again trying to paint a bleak picture of the Flyers and their goaltending.

But the goalie has not been a real problem. He was superb the first two months of the season, and while in the past month he’s probably had a handful of goals total that he’d like to have a second shot at, most of the problems with allowing goals has been the result of mistakes in front of him.

Which is why this was a smart signing by the Flyers. Locking up a young goalie who has shown he can play at a high level, who is well-liked in the locker room and who is competitive as all get out at a palatable price for a short term is a low risk, high reward signing.

“I think if you look at this season in a nutshell, he was good when the team was real bad early in the year,” general manager Paul Holmgren said. “In the last little while as the team's gotten better, I think Steve's been up and down a little bit. We certainly expect him to get better over the next three-and-a-half years, or three-plus years, whatever this is, with the team and grow with the team. He's a good goalie and we believe he's going to get better. That's why we did what we did.

“When we acquired him last year from Columbus we viewed him as a good, young, goalie who lost his way. I think he's fit in on our team, he knows a number of our players - he's played with them in international competition on the World Junior level... it's just been a real nice fit. Steve's big, he's athletic, he's very competitive, he handles the puck very well which I think is important moving forward in this game. A new game. All of those factors weighed in to our reasoning to get this done."

For his part, Mason wasn’t particularly in the best mood to talk about his new deal after the game, and offered up just a brief comment.

It’s nice to have that in the rearview mirror now,” he said of the signing. “I’m just looking forward to being here for the foreseeable future.”

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NOTES: Meszaros’ two-goal game was his first since April, 2011 and the third of his career… With two assists, Giroux has 23 points (8 goals, 15 assists) in his last 18 games… The Flyers were dominant in the faceoff circle winning 67 percent of their draws (39-for-58). Adam Hall (of course) led the way winning nine-of-11 (85 percent)… The Flyers killed all three New York power plays and have now killed 36-of-39 over the last 11 games (92.3 percent)… The Flyers allowed just two shots in the third period. It was a season low for the third period and tied a season low for any period.

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 75 21 53 7 74
C. Giroux 74 22 46 1 68
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
M. Streit 75 9 36 -10 45
B. Schenn 75 14 25 -7 39
S. Couturier 75 13 17 1 30
M. Read 73 7 22 -7 29
M. Del Zotto 57 9 19 -5 28
M. Raffl 60 19 6 6 25
V. Lecavalier 51 7 11 -10 18
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 15 17 10 .926 2.25
R. Emery 10 10 6 .892 3.15
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