Anderson knows he needs to get down to business in Colorado if he wants to prove he's a true number one.
10. Is Craig Anderson ready for prime time? He showed he could be the go-to guy when Tomas Vokun was hurt last year in Florida and now he gets the chance to prove it in Colorado. But Peter Budaj is ready to show he can still be the guy if Anderson falters. Continue reading
Steve Yzerman recently attended the World Championships in Switzerland to scout for the 2010 Olympics. With that in mind, and after some surprise performances in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the time has come to begin the goalie watch for the Games. The Canadian home ice advantage, the use of an NHL-sized ice surface and the league’s unwillingness to commit to the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia are laying the groundwork for what could be the best hockey tournament of all time. So it’s only fitting to expect the best display of goaltending. Most countries will hold summer camps and then evaluate the first half of next season before will making their final decisions but we say let the armchair quarterbacking begin! The top contenders for the gold medal will each need to make some potentially difficult decisions so Tenders Lounge will dedicate separate posts to the medal contenders. First up, the home team Canadians.
Not only are does Team Canada face the pressure of being the host country but they also need to remove the bitter taste from a 7th place finish at the 2006 Torino games.
Luongo and Brodeur were expected to reprise their roles from Torino. Will anyone push them out of the picture?
Two years ago Canada beat Patrick Kane and the USA in the gold medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship in a dramatic shootout. The game winning save was made by Carey Price. Three years ago Steve Mason led Canada to the gold. In 1999 Roberto Luogno carried the Canadian team on his back (sign of things to come?) but fell just short of the gold. In 2002 Henrik Lundqvist carried a weak Swedish team. Was there a Luongo, Lundqvist, Price or Mason in this year’s tournament?
Dustin Tokarski and Jacob Markstrom, top two goalies of this year's tournament
The two choices to potentially appear on the distinguished alumni list one day appear to be Canadian Dustin Tovarski and Swede Jacob Markstrom. Tovarski won MVP in the finals and Markstrom won MVG for the tournament.
UPDATE: Mason had a successful NHL debut last night, making 22 saves and getting the win in a 5-4 victory over the Oilers. He needs to buy Manny Malhotra a beer for knocking in the game-winner with 69 seconds left in the third and allowing Mason to avoid going to OT in his first NHL game. All I can make out in Mason’s mask is the “Mase” nickname on the chin… will have to wait for more photos to see the look he’s bringing to the NHL. He’s wearing #1 now rather than the #35 he wore as an emergency call-up last year.
2008 has been quite a year for 20yr old Steve Mason. He started the year by backstopping the Canadian junior team to a gold medal while winning MVP and Top Goalie honours (after being traded from London to Kitchener mid-tournament), answering an emergency call-up to the Blue Jackets, having knee surgery and then winning the OHL championship (but missing the Memorial Cup because of the injury).
How does the year get better? By making his first NHL start tonight against the Edmonton Oilers, of course. Great news for Mason but is this really good news for the Jackets? Pascal Leclaire’s injured ankle has him in the press box for another week (at least) and Ken Hitchcock apparently feels that Frederik Norrena and Dan LaCosta just aren’t getting the job done. Regardless of who’s filling the backup role, Columbus just isn’t going to make its first playoff appearance this year without another career season from Leclaire because when he’s injured they simply don’t have the same type of lineup the Devils have without Brodeur.
Thanks to @BethanyM85 for her Twitter tip that Mason was getting the nod tonight.