The two parts of the Philadelphia Flyers' goaltending tandem started training camp on equal footing in the quest for playing time, and it's a situation both should be used to.
Last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mason started the season battling Sergei Bobrovsky for playing time. It was a battle Bobrovsky eventually won, which led to Mason's arrival in Philadelphia at the trade deadline.
At the same time Mason was competing with Bobrovsky, Emery was doing the same with Chicago Blackhawks teammate Corey Crawford for time in net. That situation was a bit different as Emery pushed Crawford all season, and Crawford only emerged as the No. 1 option when Emery was sidelined late in the regular season and at the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a lower-body injury.
So while their surroundings might be a bit new, their personal situations are familiar.
"I've been through it once and learned a lot of things," Mason said. "At the same time it's a fresh opportunity, a fresh season, and you want to start on the right foot."
That start includes not just solid play on the ice, but crafting a nice relationship with his new goaltending partner off of it. Flyers captain Claude Giroux told NHL.com that the day Emery signed with the Flyers as a free agent, he received text messages nearly simultaneously from Mason and Emery asking for the other's phone number in an attempt to start building that bond.
"I've known him the last four years on a professional basis, skating at the same summertime skate and getting to know him a little bit over those years kind of helped with this new relationship that we're going to have full-time now," Mason said.
Emery said he's looking forward to getting to know Mason better this season, with the hope that it creates the same kind of productive working environment he and Crawford were able to create in Chicago. He said one of the things he learned last season is that a solid working relationship among the goaltenders not only benefits both goalies, but the team as a whole.
"I was really rooting for him when he was in the net [and] I had a sense he was rooting for me when I was in the net," Emery said. "It was a good feeling. Kind of a contagious thing across the team; guys want to do well for each other.
"It's a healthy competition. … Both guys want to play as much as they can, but I think the team benefits when it’s a situation where guys are helping each other out as well and really kind of feeding of each other more than competing against each other. I look forward to just winning games as a team. Whether it's Steve or I in there, everyone is going to benefit if the team does well and puts victories up there."