Gilles Gilbert, Fred Brathwaite, Jeff Reese, Peter Ing, Pat Riggin, and – most recently – Adam Dennis (BUF). The list of quality goaltenders whose route to the NHL has taken them through London, Ontario is notable in its length and quality. But it’s safe to say that few have had as bumpy a ride as current London Knights starter – and Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick – Steve Mason.
Although Mason’s currently enjoying the lion’s share of the netminding duties for the Knights, it’s a role that he earned by enduring a year of frustration, turmoil, and hard work – although most of that occurred away from the glare of the lights at the John Labatt Centre in the less-spectacular confines of the Knights’ practice facility.
Mason served as the backup for Dennis last season. It was a season that saw Dennis play in 57 games – including an unfathomable 45-straight contests, en route to breaking the OHL’s record for single-season victories with 44. In fact, last season started off particularly auspiciously for Mason last year as he was shellacked in the early going as Dennis and a trio of other key players remained at NHL training camps. In the end, while the wins came, Mason saw action in just 12 games, compiling a 5-3 record with a 2.66 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Oh, what a difference a year makes. This year, Mason has suited up for 29 games already and while his GAA has increased to 3.18 playing behind the run-and-gun Knights with their suspect defense, his .918 save percentage and the general accolades that he’s received f Read more»