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Spreading the Joy

by Bob McElligott / Columbus Blue Jackets

February 12

One week after the Blue Jackets changed their head coach, things couldn't be better. Interim Head Coach Claude Noel has the team playing at a high level, and more importantly, spreading joy throughout the dressing room. Claude is very fond of talking about having joy in one's life. This isn't just a line that he uses, but a philosophy he lives by every day. It's been refreshing to see so many smiles, on a daily basis and on the faces of the players. Of course, winning helps those smiles stay in place.

No one has been more affected by the change than goaltender Steve Mason. You'd think the goalie would be the last person directly affected by the replacement of a head coach. Goaltenders have a coach for their position and are normally somewhat detached from the rest of the group. That's not a bad thing. It's just that their personality is somewhat different. Not very many people are willing to jump in front of a 100 mph shot, repeatedly. Mason has looked more relaxed and more like the man who won the Calder Trophy as the Rookie of the Year, last season.

There's no doubt some of that has to do with the way his teammates are playing in front of him. The forwards seem to keep the puck in the other team's end a little longer. The defensemen look like their playing a tighter game too. Those things combined make the job much easier on Mason. On top of that, he is making the big saves when there is a breakdown (something that can't be said about the early part of his season) and controlling the majority of his rebounds.

If this team is to have success this year and beyond, Steve Mason has to have success. It's good to see him looking like his old self once again.

*Throughout the season, AAA will bring you the Broadcaster's Blogs - "Bobby Mac", "Davidge Dishes" and "Rimer Ramblings." The Columbus Blue Jackets radio and television analysts will try to keep you updated on all the season action through their blogs, especially when the Blue Jackets are on the road.

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