November 20, 2011

Mental Monday (11/21/11)

As of today, I'm a contributor at The Dark Blue Jacket. I'm honored, thrilled and excited to join the staff of what I believe to be one of the best fan blogs in the NHL. I'm also a little torn. This blog has become an extension of me and my love/hate fanship of the Blue Jackets. I can't see folding it up completely. So I'll try to keep it going for as long as I am able. My first commitment will be to DBJ, so the content here might be sporadic. But there are still plenty of reasons to keep visiting Full Mental Jackets, like the sidebar, which has fresh links to great CBJ content 24/7, and FMJvision, your one-stop Blue Jackets Youtube page. And if you are a fledgling smart alec/CBJ fan/blogger wannabe who wants to start contributing here on this blog, hit me up.

Curtis saves.
There's been an ongoing debate among what I like to call dying hard Blue Jackets fans that is essentially the old chicken/egg conundrum. What comes first, good goaltending or good defense? There are still a surprising number of people standing and fighting behind Steve Mason. They claim that he is the victim of extremely poor defense and that he faces far too many "quality shots." On the other side is a growing legion of fans who believe that, while the defense has been far from pretty, the real problem is Mason and that the defense would be better if the team had any confidence in the goaltending.  After this past week, during which the Blue Jackets earned five points out of a possible eight, including a huge win at Nashville on Saturday night, expect the latter group to start in with a heavy dose of "I told you so".

On the year Steve Mason has a .875 save percentage (49th out of 49 qualifying goalies) and a 3.63 goals-against average. In the last two games, Curtis Sanford is at .930 and 2.00. Before being "rested" for Sanford, Mason was actually coming off of a decent two game stretch where he went a combined .932 and 2.00. So in the Jackets last four games, Jackets' goalies posted a save percentage of .931 and a goals-against average of 2.00. Compare that to the median numbers among the top 30 qualified NHL goalies, .923 and 2.39 respectively, and it is not to difficult to see how the Jackets went 2-1-1 in those four games.

To be fair, the Blue Jackets defense has also played much better during this stretch. But that just begs the question. Are they playing better because of the lift they have gotten in net, or have they started to figure out how to make life for their netminders a little less stressful. In the end, who cares? All Jackets fans will all be a lot happier if both sides to this debate can claim victory by the end of the season.

UPDATE: Now comes word that Steve Mason was injured today during the morning skate when he took one in the noggin off the stick of Rick Nash. Sanford had already been declared the starter for tonight's game vs. Calgary. No word yet on how long Mason might be incapacitated, but when asked Arniel said, "He's not good." And so I'm assuming the follow up question was something like, "We know, but how's his head?"

1 comment:

  1. Knocking Mason out is perhaps the biggest contribution Nash has made all year.