Getty ImagesWith the passage of time comes wisdom, or at least it should.
The rumors that the Philadelphia Flyers would extend goaltender Steve Mason for a number of years have been swirling for a while now, culminating in Saturday's announcement of a three-year deal that would carry a cap hit of $4.1 million per. These rumors were all but confirmed long ago by Flyers owner Ed Snider, who couldn't stop using superlatives when talking about Mason's play. In addition, he was asked if he thought the organization had any hesitance about a big-money deal for a goaltender following the Ilya Bryzgalov disaster.
"No," he said facetiously. "We never learn from our mistakes."
Snider only thought he was joking.
The interview in which he said that took place on Dec. 10, at which time Mason had played 29 games for the Flyers over last season and this one. In those 29 games, he had a save percentage of .931, despite having conceded 11 goals in his previous three games. This was a goaltender compared in the Philadelphia press as soon as seven games into his tenure as a Flyer to Bernie Parent, which is a ludicrous and almost blasphemous thing to do. You couldn't, though, argue that .931 wasn't the best Flyers save percentage in a long, long time.
Of course, what that ignored — or painted over several times, at the very least — is that Mason had been an horrifically bad goaltender for pretty much his entire career, save for the first 27 games of his rookie season. Of the 33 goaltenders with at least 150 games played between 2008-09 and the end of last season, Mason's save percentage is 31st at .905, ahead of only Marty Turco (by that point a greybeard playing out the string) and Mathieu Garon (a career backup who is terrible).
While it's one thing to think a change of scenery might do any player a little bit of good, since it's happened before, it's another to simply ignore the history screaming out that this kind of success wouldn't last. Especially in a place like Philadelphia, who goalies go to have their careers euthanized and ground up into sausage to be laughed over league-wide.
That thing Snider laughed over, about never learning from mistakes, is the equivalent of having your car stolen 12 times because you park it in a bad neighborhood, with the doors open, the keys in the ignition, and a sign that says “Please steal me” in the window. Oops, it happened again!
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