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Interview with NHL-goaltender Steve Mason: "The Calder Memorial Throphy was a great honor"
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Interview with NHL-goaltender Steve Mason: "The Calder Memorial Throphy was a great honor"

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Autor: Christoph Walter
Bericht: Interview mit NHL-Goalie Steve Mason: "Der Gewinn der Calder Memorial Throphy war eine große Ehre für mich"

The Canadian ice-hockey goaltender Steve Mason came last season to his first NHL-game and then he surprised all, because he did his job very well and replaced the official No.1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pascal Leclaire. The 21-year old Mason had already in his first NHL-season one of the best Save Percentages (SV%) and reached with the Blue Jackets for the first time in history the Play-Offs. With Live-Wintersport he talks about the last season and his aims for the new season and for the Olympic Games in his own country.

Interview auf Deutsch | Interview in English

Last season you were awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy. Were you surprised? How did you feel to receive the award?

It was a great honor. There was a lot of hard work that was put into it, from my position all the way up to the guys who played in front of me. Anytime a play wins a personal award it’s not really personal its kind of a team thing.

Last november you played your first NHL game. Can you tell a little bit about how it felt before, during and after the game? How you experienced the atmosphere in the crowd?

I found out after the pre-game skate that I was going to be starting. Fredrik Norrena was supposed to but he had an injury and as a result I didn’t really have a lot of time to think about it. The nerves weren’t really there and we were fortunate to win and it was a great experience to get the first one out of the way. Hopefully it started a long career.

You were excellent in your first few matches, and so you replaced Pascal Leclaire. And now he changed to Ottawa. Was he angry and how was your relationship afterwards?

Before my first NHL-game I played for our Farmteam, the Syracuse Crunch, in the AHL, so that I didn`t have much contact to the other players of our team. When I played my first time in the NHL, Pascal Leclaire was ill, so that he wasn`t angry to me and later we also respect each other. And our Headcoach Ken Hitchcock clarified that always the best goalie in training will play in the next NHL-game.

You have already achieved one of then best SV% in your first NHL season. Could you explain that and how do you motivate yourself before each game?

Anytime you have a goaltender succeed its part of a team reflection. During my first year the guys really made my job easy, blocking shots and taking second chances away. A lot of that is a reflection of how the team played in front of me.

Can you tell us what a typical day of training looks like for you?

During the season we practice every morning. Depending on our game schedule, we’ll go out and have a workout afterwards. Those usually run anywhere from 25-30 minutes. After that we’re usually done by the rink on non game days by 12:30. It’s nice to get everything out of the way early.

When did you start to play hockey? Why hockey?

I was probably four years old. Growing up in Canada, everybody’s doing it. My buddies and I who lived on my street just got started at a young age and it took off from there.

Last season the Jackets made the playoffs for the first time, and you were an important part of that. Can you go into a little bit about how the team felt after they clinched?

It was nice. It was a shootout win against Chicago and it was a great step for this organization who has had a lot of tough times. Hopefully that was the first of many consecutive playoff births.

Sadly, the elimination of the Blue jackets came in the first play-off round against the Red Wings. 4 matches and 4 defeats, it was a very clear business. What was missing to win against the Red Wings and other Top-Teams?

It was a big success to reach the play-offs and so the retirement in the first round was in the first moment very painful, but later we realized that it was no break-up, because the Red Wings were a big team with a lot of excellent players like Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen, Kronwall and Lidström and they also reached the Stanley Cup Final.

What are the Jackets aims for this season?

Obviously just to build off of what we did last year. We want to be consistent, be at the top of the division for the entire season, and eventually go on a long playoff run. But we have a lot of work to do and I think everyone is prepared to put it in.

You are U20-World Champion and you are also the Rookie of the year 2009. In February 2010 the Olympical Games will start in your home country. Do you think that you will be part of the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team? Which other goalies are your competitors?

In Canada we have a lot of Top-players so that it will be hard for our director Steve Yzerman to nominate the team. To play in the Olympia Team of Canada is a big dream, but only three goalies get the opportunity to go for Gold, and with Marc-Andre Fleury, Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Ray Emery, Marty Turco, Dwayne Roloson and so on, we have a lot of Top-goalies.

Do you think that Canada will win the Gold medal?
And could you explain the atmosphere in Canada in anticipation for the Olympics?

I think since it’s on Canada’s home soil they’re expecting the win. I know Steve Yzerman is going to put the best players out there for Team Canada and anytime you play in a Canadian arena it’s always electric.

Live-Wintersport wants to thank Steve Mason for his time to get us an interview. And we hope that he will reach all his aims and will be nominated by Steve Yzerman in the Canadian Olympic Squad.

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Interview with NHL-goaltender Steve Mason: "The Calder Memorial Throphy was a great honor"

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