On the Ice with Isaac: Playing the Hot Hand, Rangers Defense, Black Aces
PHILADELPHIA – In his first year as head coach, Craig Berube still is establishing his own way of doing things.
As the book on Berube grows, another chapter can be written regarding his treatment of goalies in the playoffs.
He likes to go with the hot hand.
After Tuesday’s morning skate, the coach sat down with Steve Mason and goalie coach Jeff Reese to discuss how close Mason is to making a return.
“He feels better and he’s ready and he feels like he wants to get in and be the backup,” Berube said before Game 3, “so we talked and made the decision that he’s gonna back up (Tuesday).”
What’s interesting in the case of Mason is that it appears as though the player has more of a voice than injured players usually do. The team made it sound like it was Mason’s call to not dress as a backup in Game 2.
When Mason voiced his interest in returning, he got medical clearance and dressed Tuesday night.
“It’s always part of the player’s call,” Berube said. “It has to be.”
The coach is comfortable with Mason between the pipes if for some reason Emery got pulled from the game. He isn’t dressing a player that’s still hurt.
“Yeah, that’s why he’s backing up,” Berube said. “I would never do that to a player.”
Mason proved to be healthy because he relieved Emery with 7:15 left in the game.
Before the game, Berube didn’t say that he’s going game-to-game with his decision on goaltender or that Emery would get the whole series against the New York Rangers.
It’s still unclear exactly what ailed the now-healthy Mason. He hit his head on the ice in an April 12 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the team and player both would not confirm a concussion. Berube said he doesn’t know anything about a baseline test for Mason.
“I don’t think this was a difficult decision,” Berube said.