This week brought shutout scores of 3-0: a loss and a win. Both games were against good teams, Detroit and Washington. While the Jackets scored enough against the capitals, it was clear that Mason won the game. Facing 45 shots from the talented Capitals' squad, the rookie fought off back pain that nearly kept him out of the game. Talk about whether it is the system or the goalie (see Puck Daddy's article on this argument) cannot ignore that the rookie's skills are high, as are those of the injured Leclaire.
Hindered by injuries all season, the Jackets are in a tough spot. They need to give Leclaire reps to get his game back on track and increase his possible value. They also need to pursue every victory possible as the playoffs seems to be in reach. I think Howson sees that making the playoffs is not optional at this point. In a down market the long-suffering Columbus faithful need a shot in the arm.
Shame on the NHL for ignoring the cross-check to Huselius' face and subsequent concussion. Reviewing the hit, the player took strides and raised his stick. Not a hockey move, the play had the intent to injure. One can only wonder why the league punishes comments about girlfriends with suspensions and then allow head shots to go unpunished. A horrible precedent to set that leaves one wondering what the reaction would have been if the victim had been a star (i.e. Ovechkin). Count me as one who feels the talk of banning fighting should be far lower on the long list of the things the NHL should focus on. Players using the stick to inflict head injuries should be at the top. Sorry, perhaps third on the list behind punishing free speech and propping up franchises in non-hockey markets.