Cross Checks: Chris Mason
- The Red Wings are close to signing Kyle Quincey and hope to avoid arbitration with the free agent defenseman, GM Ken Holland told The Detroit News. Negotiations are also going well with Justin Abdelkader, which is why he did not file for arbitration, according to the Detroit Free Press.
- Coyotes GM Don Maloney said it might be weeks before Shane Doan makes a decision on where to sign but the team does not mind waiting, according to The Arizona Republic. Maloney also told the paper the team has "regular communication" with Doan and is confident they can re-sign him.
- The Red Wings made "a hell of an offer" to the Blue Jackets for Rick Nash, but Columbus appears to have no interest in trading their star forward to Detroit, according to mlive.com.
- Predators GM David Poile said he talked to Shea Weber's agents on Monday about the team's future and hopes to talk to them again this week, according to The Tennessean.
- The Jets are working on a long-term deal with Evander Kane that could lock up the forward for up to six years, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.
- The city of Edmonton is looking for ways to reduce the cost of building a new arena, but Mayor Stephen Mandel wants to make sure that quality isn't sacrificed, according to the Edmonton Journal. “We have heard time and again from citizens they don’t want us to build something for crap ... I think it’s important for council to make a decision for 30 years, not 35 minutes,” Mandel told the paper.
- Chris Mason decided to sign with the Predators because he wanted to be on a winning team instead of one that was rebuilding, and he said Ryan Suter's departure hasn't made him regret his decision, according to The (Nashville) City Paper.
Call this the anti-Vezina list.
Next week, we at ESPN.com will hand out our midseason awards. Today, we bring you what we believe are the five most disappointing goaltenders at the halfway point given their pedigree and expectations. In no particular order:
It seems like years ago when he put up 33 wins and a 2.29 goals-against average and won the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. Well, it was just two seasons ago. Since then, the sophomore slump has extended into a Year 3 malaise. As of Thursday morning, his 3.20 GAA was 40th among NHL goalies, and his .902 save percentage was 32nd. He's played better of late, which is good, because the Jackets need him to turn things around. He's only 22, so I suspect everything will be fine. It had better be after the Jackets extended his contract, a two-year, $5.8 million deal that kicks in next season.
When the Thrashers signed him to a two-year, $3.7 million deal this past summer, it was with the idea that he would be their starter or at least compete with young Ondrej Pavelec for starts. Neither has happened. His .896 save percentage is 39th in the league, and his 3.66 GAA is dead last in the NHL. Luckily for the Thrashers, it hasn't mattered because Pavelec is having a Vezina-worthy season.
No wonder Lightning GM Steve Yzerman felt compelled to bring in Dwayne Roloson via trade. Smith's .883 save percentage is second-to-last in the NHL, and his 3.20 GAA is 41st. Dan Ellis hasn't been much better, but Smith is the guy long viewed as a possible starter after his trade from Dallas. The consistency has never come. He'll be an unrestricted free agent July 1 and won't be in Tampa next season.
How the mighty have fallen. Nominated for the Vezina last season after a sensational campaign, Anderson has the 38th-ranked GAA (3.13) and 33rd-ranked save percentage (.901) in the NHL. Granted, the Avs' blue line isn't Detroit's, so there's plenty of rubber coming his way, but it was the same when he stood on his head last season. Talk about bad timing, especially with Anderson set to be a UFA on July 1. There is plenty of time to turn things around, but if he doesn't, it will be a costly season for him.
It's safe to say we never thought the day would come when we would put his name on this list. We tremble just doing it. But the numbers don't lie -- a .882 save percentage (44th and dead last among all goalies) and 3.15 GAA (39th). Nothing from this season will take anything away from what is arguably the greatest goaltending career in NHL history. And to be fair, it's not as though the team in front of him has been any help. (Still, a bit surprising to see the Devils actually ranked first in the NHL in fewest shots allowed per game as of Thursday morning.) Brodeur has one more year left on his deal at $5.2 million. Let's hope next season is a bounce-back one and he can go out in style.
... Because three just wasn't enough.
- Tim Thomas made 33 saves in his seventh straight win, and Marchand and Michael Ryder had a goal and assist each to lift the Bruins over the Ryan Miller-less Sabres. Bruins 5, Sabres 2 »
- After the Capitals gave up a big lead, Semin tied the game near the end of regulation and sealed the win with the final goal in the shootout. Capitals 5, Maple Leafs 4 (SO) »
- Carolina finally figured out how to score at home after being shut out twice and set a season high with seven goals. Hurricanes 7, Islanders 2 »
- Mason made 52 saves and Niclas Bergfors scored the game winner to give the Thrashers a win despite the Panthers' franchise-record 55 shots. Thrashers 4, Panthers 3 »
- Rookie Bradley Mills scored his first NHL goal with 3:51 left in the third period to snap a tie, and the Devils survived after goalie Martin Brodeur left with a bruised elbow. Devils 5, Blackhawks 3 »
- Loui Eriksson scored twice -- including a penalty-shot goal -- Kari Lehtonen made 21 saves, and the Stars earned a fight-filled victory over Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. Stars 5, Penguins 2 »
- Mike Modano and Justin Abdelkader scored in the second period to propel the Red Wings to their fifth win in six games. Red Wings 2, Flames 1 »
- Ed Jovanovski had the first three-goal game of his 15-year career and the Coyotes overcame some early defensive miscues to win. Coyotes 4, Predators 3 »
- Kyle Palmieri scored the tying goal late in regulation of his first NHL game and Ryan Getzlaf netted the winner 2:53 into overtime to complete the Ducks' rally. Ducks 3, Lightning 2 (OT) »