You just have to wonder about Steve Mason. This is a young goalie that came in and set the league on fire in his rookie season. Calder Trophy, 33 wins and took his team into the playoffs, if only for a short time. That is where the good news ended, never again would Mason post a GAA below 3 and his save percentage has sat just a hair above .900 over the last two seasons.
Last night Leafs Nation was privy to a live performance of this struggling netminder that would have made the Monster look like an all-star. Right now Mason seems to be suffering what may become the Goaltender Calder Curse, as the previous goalie (Andrew Raycroft) to win the trophy put himself on the fast track out of the starting role in the NHL.
All it took was one weak goal and you could see the confidence slip away from Mason, making the next three goals almost inevitable. The Leafs were able to score at will (so long as they were not on a powerplay), but the Blue Jackets, to their credit, did not give up and kept fighting, putting nearly 40 shots on the rookie at the other end of the rink.
That is where caution should enter into any discussions revolving around the Leafs net. As good as Reimer was last year and as good as Scrivens was last night the reins cannot be completely handed over to either just yet. There is a lot of weight on the shoulders of these young goalies when they enter the game and they can easily burn out if the peaks are too high early on. These kids need to face some serious adversity and learn how to move past maintaining confidence and adapting their game to compensate. This seems like something Mason has been unable to do.
For Optimus Reim this will likely stem from his glove, which right now is more of a second blocker. Highlights from early games show just how bad that glove hand can be. A time will come when Reimer will feel as though his play and position as a starter are in trouble; how he deals with this will determine his long time success in the league.
We all hope he is able to overcome these tough times, work endlessly on improving his weak areas and maintain the confidence he has exuded thus far.
Above all we have to Beleaf.