Mason to get call against Hurricanes

Winnipeg Jets goalie #50 Chris Mason on the ice at The MTS Centre in Winnipeg during team practice...

Winnipeg Jets goalie #50 Chris Mason on the ice at The MTS Centre in Winnipeg during team practice in Winnipeg. (CHRIS PROCAYLO/QMI Agency)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:45 AM ET

WINNIPEG - When youve seen as little rubber as Chris Mason has recently, getting word that youre going to finally see game action is genuine cause for celebration.

A combination of a groin injury that had him on the shelf for four weeks and the superb play of Ondrej Pavelec, Mason has started only one of the past 20 games but hell be back between the pipes when the Jets face the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7:35 p.m., TSN Jets, TSN 1290).

For me, Im just excited to get back in there, said Mason, who is 2-2 with a 2.26 goals against average and .906 save percentage in five games this season. Having not played a lot the past few weeks here, practices are my games. I know its not a game, but we try to simulate a lot of game situations and try to get something out of it that will help me in the games.

Masons last start was against the Hurricanes on Nov. 25 and he showed no signs of rust, turning aside 20 shots in a 3-1 victory

That was really important for me and I felt good right away, said Mason, who also earned a win in relief against the Hurricanes back on Oct. 22 after Pavelec gave up two goals on five shots in just over seven minutes of action. I didnt have that awkward time where youre trying to find your game and your position. Last game I was fortunate not to have to go through that, but its different every time. I feel good in practice and Im going to try to carry that over into the game.

Mason is also eager to experience a start inside MTS Centre for the first time since Oct. 24, when he faced the New York Rangers.

Its been a long time, said Mason. Its going to be awesome. I love playing here. With how loud it got last game (against the Boston Bruins), that was unbelievable. Having that fan support helps make this building tough (for the opposition) to play in.

Jets head coach Claude Noel explained the decision to go with Mason against the Hurricanes this way.

Hes deserved it, he knew it was coming around the corner, said Noel. Theres different factors. What do you want to do, throw him in the (hornets) nest in Detroit (Saturday)? It would be like throwing him to the dogs. Theres a respect factor you have to have with players. Lets try to help the players, thats what were trying to do.

As great as Pavelec has been lately, keeping Mason sharp will be a key for the Jets as the season progresses.

You have confidence in him when hes playing in net. Even though hes our backup, we dont see him like that, said Jets centre Bryan Little. (Pavelec) has been playing great, but every time (Mason) has played, hes played great too. Hes one of those guys, everyone respects so much. Hes a leader and hes probably one of our hardest workers. Hes just as intense in practice as he is in games.

Hes typical of a veteran thats been able to stay in the league, he does it through hard work and accountability, added Jets forward Kyle Wellwood. Hes been a starter in the NHL and he takes the backup role seriously. You get everything you can ask for from him.


Videos

Photos