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Duffer's Digest: Mason, Turek separated at birth?

Thursday, 10.08.2009 / 1:07 PM / NHL Network

By Brian Duff - NHL Network

A new season brings about a new game. Let's call it "How you Remind Me."

I'll go first.

Steve Mason and Roman Turek.

I'm serious.

For the second-straight season I find myself watching Mason, and all of a sudden, I'm thinking about Turek, who began his NHL career as a backup in Dallas and, subsequently, became the No. 1 man in St. Louis, and eventually Calgary, about a decade ago.

Now before you call for my head at NHL Network as someone who has completely lost it and is incapable of watching the game and drawing logical conclusions, let me build a bit of a case.

Let's begin from a visual standpoint.

Mason and Turek both are 6-foot-4 and about 220 pounds, catch with their right hand, and wear No. 1 on their jersey.

For me, though, it's mannerisms. There are simple, subtle movements that Mason makes in the crease that remind me of Turek, now 39 and still active and playing well in the Czech Republic.

Columbus GM Scott Howson sees his star a little differently, however, comparing him with Tony Esposito and Tom Barrasso.

"Both catch with the right hand and both look big in the net," Howson said.

But there also is someone that can back up my thesis, as well. NHL Network analyst Craig Button served as director of player personnel in Dallas and won a Stanley Cup with Turek on the roster. After becoming GM in Calgary, Button acquired Turek to be his No. 1 goalie.

"Mason is long and lean and has an easy manner in the net and while moving. There is not a lot of wasted activity or a blur of scrambling when you see him move," said Button, who returns to NHL On the Fly next week. "When they are down in the butterfly, they use the length of their upper body to stay big in the net.

"Steve reads the play very well and reacts to it quickly, which is what Roman did, and they are able to get into prime position to make a shooter see little, if any, net. Roman was competitive, but he kept his emotions in check, which is exactly what I see from Mason."

The strange part of this unlikely comparison is how similar their statistics are. In Mason's first season he posted a record of 33-20-7, a 2.29 goals-against average, .916 save percentage, and a League-leading 10 shutouts. In Turek's first season as a starter with the Blues in 1999-2000, he went 42-15-9 with a 1.95 GAA, a .912 save percentage, and a League-high seven shutouts.

Mason and Turek were named Second Team All-stars for their efforts.

And while Mason won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, Turek was capturing the William Jennings Trophy for the lowest team goals-against average. Turek remains the only goalie to win that award in back-to-back years with two different teams, having won the previous season as a backup with Ed Belfour in Dallas.

Also, both had playoffs to forget in their first foray into the postseason dance, as both were eliminated in the first round.

Ultimately, Turek never found Stanley Cup success as a starter, leaving the NHL for good in 2005 after 159 wins in 328 regular-season games, along with a dozen more in 22 playoff appearances.

Mason, though, is playing right now as though there will be no comparison to those numbers by the time his career is all said and done.

Brian Duff is the host of NHL On The Fly on the NHL Network.

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