DENVER, CO - MARCH 22: Goalie Steve Mason #1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets looks on during a break in the action against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on March 22, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Mason collect the loss as the Avalanche defeated the Blue Jackets 5-4 in an overtime shootout. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
I don't often say this, but I was wrong. I was wrong as a man could possibly be, and now I know that. Throughout the 2011-12 season, I've repeated the line "Cam Barker is the worst player in the NHL", but now it's apparent that my frame-of-reference wasn't big enough. I still believe Barker is the worst skater in the NHL, but he's not longer the worst player. That honor belongs to Steve Mason, a goalie who shouldn't be in the NHL, let alone have a job as a starter in the NHL, let alone have a $2,900,000 cap hit.
Scott Howson built a decent team this summer, but left it in the hands of Mason - a flawed approach if there every was one. Mason seems to have shoulder issues, as in, he doesn't move them when an opponent shoots at him, and seems to have reaction issues, as in, he doesn't have any.
It's a shame Howson employed such dirty tactics to steal away the first overall pick.
The number bad goals let in by Mason's frame-by-frame goaltending outnumbered the number of decent shots that managed to hit Mason.
Jonathan Willis saw the game much the same as I, but took it easier on Mason:
Edmonton Oilers 6, Columbus Blue Jackets 3: Steve Mason Gives The Oilers A Free One - Cult of Hockey
The Edmonton Oilers did not play a particularly good hockey game. They were at times sloppy, poorly disciplined, defensively inept and as a whole did not play all that well. Sometimes, though, the opposition goalie is just so bad that none of that matters. That was the case against the Blue Jackets.
On the other hand, maybe Mason just wasn't on his game:
Jackets Fall to Oilers in Battle for First Overall Pick - The Cannon
The Jackets led after one period, but turnovers and poor goaltending killed any chances of coming away with a win. The team defense was doing starter Steve Mason no favors, but Mason was far from sharp himself.