Flyers Notes: Mason is recharged after chat with Parent

Posted: February 05, 2014

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Maybe it's a coincidence, but Steve Mason's game has gotten back on track ever since he had a conversation Sunday with the greatest goalie in Flyers history, Bernie Parent.

Mason talked with Parent at length while they were at the Flyers Wives Carnival. At the time, Mason was in the middle of his first slump since he was acquired from Columbus late last season: a 4.56 goals-against average and a .851 save percentage in a six-game stretch.

After that tailspin, Mason put together three straight strong efforts - all after he had a talk with Parent and goalie coach Jeff Reese. Entering Monday's start in San Jose, Mason had compiled a 1.33 goals-against average, a staggering .968 save percentage, and had two shutouts in his last three games.

Mason didn't want to get into specifics, "but Bernie gave me one of the best pieces of advice I've ever gotten," he said after Monday's morning skate. "It's something I just kind of took to heart and it simply helped. There are obviously ups and downs through the entire season, but it's a matter of how you come out of it. You just can't let a couple of negative things affect you."

The conversation with the gregarious Parent, Mason said, was "more philosophical than anything" and not about the technical aspects of goaltending.

In a telephone interview from New Jersey, Parent said he believes Mason is good enough to lead the Flyers to a Stanley Cup someday.

"What I said to him was simple. I looked him in the eyes and said I really believe in him," Parent said. "I told him, 'You're a good goalie, but there are going to be rough spots. . . . I had some tough times, too.' I told him, 'Don't judge yourself based on a couple rough games. Always look at the end goal, which is to win the Cup.' "

Parent said if you concentrate on the end goal, it "brings back the good feelings" and positive energy, "and you have a purpose. When you do that, you forget [your struggles] and learn from the goals scored against you."

He also told Mason that doubting yourself "brings you down," and that he should watch video of goals against him and make the corrections in practice.

"He has a very good goalie instructor," added Parent, referring to Reese, "and I ensured Steve he's on the right track. I told him that in the future, the Flyers will win a Cup with him."

Mason called Parent a "fun guy to talk to, but at the same time, he's extremely knowledgeable. And there was one thing that stuck in my mind, and Reeser and I actually talked about it after Bernie put his gear" at the carnival. "It's kind of funny. He was Reeser's idol growing up, and Reeser was helping Bernie get dressed [to play goalie Sunday], so it's kind of funny how things come around."

On Monday, Mason opposed the gifted Antti Niemi in San Jose.

"You always compare yourself against the best goalies in the league, and Antti's been doing it for the last four years, consistently," Mason said before the game. "You know what you're going to get" when Niemi is in the net, "and for myself, it's something you strive for."

Breakaways

Kimmo Timonen missed his second straight game with a bruised left foot. . . . The Flyers entered the night with a nine-game losing streak against the Sharks.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

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