Since being named the new Flyers coach, Craig Berube has started implementing a defensive-oriented system, one that Steve Mason hopes will benefit him and his goalie partner, Ray Emery.
“That’s the ultimate goal,” Mason said after Thursday’s high-paced practice in Voorhees. “We’re trying to clean things up and make sure our in-zone plays are more calm and less scrambly than in the first few games and obviously in preseason. I think everybody felt that we were running around, and when you’re doing that, things become a lot more difficult.”
Mason, 25, said the coaching change doesn’t affect the goalies as much because they still report to Jeff Reese, the goalie coach.
“We have our own individual coach, and Chief obviously makes the final decision on who plays the game,” said Mason, referring to Berube by his nickname. “Other than that, we don’t deal with the head coach that often.”
Mason is off to an impressive start, a 2.02 goals-against average and .935 save percentage; it is a carryover from his strong seven-game stint after the Flyers acquired him late last season from Columbus.
“I feel really confident with my game. It was nice to come in here at the end of last season and start building a foundation,” he said. “It was something to build off of, and that carried through the summer with a positive mindset and into training camp.”
Mason said he takes each game “TV timeout by TV timeout, so it’s roughly seven minutes (before a break), and that’s how I break down my game. I find it’s more manageable that way. You kind of have your seven minutes of focus, and then you go to the bench and get your drink and then refocus after that.”
On Friday, Mason is expected to get the start against the visiting Coyotes, whom Mason calls a “meat and potatoes” team. “They try to grind it down as much as possible, and through their hard work, that’s how they create their chances.”
Phoenix was in Detroit on Thursday and will be playing its second game in as many nights.
Breakaways. New assistant coach Ian Laperriere says one of his projects is trying to work speedy winger Zac Rinaldo onto the PK unit......Entering Thursday’s action, defenseman Nick Grossmann led the NHL with 15 blocked shots, and Zac Rinaldo had a league-high 24 hits…The Flyers are 27th n the 30-team league with a 10.5 (2 for 19) percent success rate on the power play....Berube on Claude Giroux, who is pointless in four games: “That kid works hard and demands a lot. G needs to slow his mind down a little bit and play a little looser."...Philly-based Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, was hired to manage Jobings.com Arena, home of the Coyotes.
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