If clothes make the man, does equipment make the goaltender?
Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason, mired in a funk since his trophy-winning rookie season, believes that bigger equipment could pave his return to glory.
On Feb. 11, Mason changed every bit of equipment except his helmet. His pads got bigger, his glove got bigger ... his pants even were expanded for a looser more comfortable fit.
"We totally redesigned his equipment," Blue Jackets goaltending coach Ian Clark told The Columbus Dispatch. "He was playing undersized, relative to the league limits."
Mason didn't only get bigger. He was looking for more protection.
"There were times with the old stuff when I was getting hit in the ribs and was full of bruises," Mason said. "You almost become scared of getting hit with the puck, so you're turning your body away, and that's not the right way to play.
"With the new stuff, you have confidence that pucks aren't going to hurt you, and because it's larger, some pucks that might have squeaked through before are now hitting a piece of equipment."
Mason had won only five of his 22 previous starts before the switch. Afterward, he went 7-3-1 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage heading into Saturday's 4-3 loss to Vancouver in Roger Centre.
The Blue Jackets travel next to Calgary on Sunday to battle the Flames.
NOTES, QUOTESRichards makes changes to struggling power play
--Mired in an 0-for-29 power-play slump, Blue Jackets interim coach Todd Richards put center Derick Brassard back on the point as a means to spark the struggling unit. The slump coincides with the loss of defenseman Fedor Tyutin (broken hand), and Richards was looking for a shooter to man the point. Rookie Cam Atkinson took Brassard's power-play spot on the half-wall.
--The Blue Jackets may be cruising toward the No. 1 or 2 overall pick in this summer's NHL entry draft, but the players don't give a hoot about the draft. Captain Rick Nash hinted earlier this week that players are offended by management's approach to the final month of the season.
"Finishing last is something we (players) don't want to do," Nash said. "Perhaps management and other levels of the organization have different obligations, but, for us, there's no chance that we want (to) finish in the basement."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was a tough situation in Columbus. Nothing was fun for anyone in there." -- Former Blue Jackets C Sammy Pahlsson, who faced Columbus on Saturday for the first time since he was traded to Vancouver at the NHL trade deadline.
ROSTER REPORTPLAYER NOTES:
--D Jack Johnson has been a revelation since he was acquired near the trade deadline -- along with a first-round pick -- for C Jeff Carter. Johnson has three goals, three assists and a plus-4 rating in 10 games with Columbus.
--RW Derek Dorsett, out the previous four games with an undisclosed illness, returned on Saturday in Vancouver. He had four shots, blocked three, and had three hits while playing on the fourth line.
--G Steve Mason stopped 34 of 38 shots on Saturday in Vancouver, but suffered a 4-3 loss to the Canucks in Rogers Centre. Mason had won four straight games, matching his career high, before Saturday's loss.
--D Fedor Tyutin (broken hand) is out for the season.
--C Derek MacKenzie (concussion) is out indefinitely.
--LW Kristian Huselius (lower body) is out indefinitely.
--D Radek Martinek (concussion) is out for the season.
--D Marc Methot (broken jaw) is out for the season.