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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.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

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 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 61 38 17 6 192 152 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 63 19 46 5 65
C. Giroux 62 18 41 2 59
W. Simmonds 63 25 18 -1 43
M. Streit 63 8 32 -4 40
B. Schenn 63 12 23 -5 35
S. Couturier 63 12 16 1 28
M. Del Zotto 51 8 17 -5 25
M. Read 63 6 18 -9 24
M. Raffl 48 14 4 6 18
V. Lecavalier 45 7 10 -8 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 13 7 .926 2.25
R. Emery 10 10 4 .893 3.15
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