WINNIPEG - Goaltenders have always been known to have their own little quirks.
On Friday, Jets goalies Steve Mason and Michael Hutchinson shared a couple of theirs when it comes to their pre-game warmup rituals.
"For games that I'm playing in, I'll get out there probably 15 or 20 minutes early for warmup, which involves a little skating," Mason explained. "Simple shots to the hand and body. Hendo (Jets forward Matt Hendricks) was out with me for the last preseason game. It's not really for the players, it's for the goaltenders. You've got to find a guy who is good with it. When I was with Philly, I had Pierre-Edouard Bellemare shooting for me and he was great. Hendo seemed more than willing, too. You've got to get a guy who has an accurate and crisp shot."
Even though Mason is entering his 10th NHL season, it hasn't always been easy to find the right 'warm-up' guy. It's similar to a golfer matching up with the perfect caddie. Mason plans to try and make sure Hendricks keeps it in his job description with the Jets.
While Mason likes to lean on one guy for the whole year, Hutchinson likes a variety of shooters during his pre-game warmup.
"I like to switch it up," Hutchinson said. "I think if you have the same guy shoot on you all year, you get used to his release and you can kind of get a little stagnant on how you pick up the puck. If you switch it up (to a) righty, lefty, different curves and stuff and it always keeps it fresh and on your toes."
NHL players know when it's time to take it easy and when to let loose, but Hutchinson did recall a former teammate who wasn't always reliable in that department.
"Anthony Peluso was my warm-up shot guy a while there. He was a guy who you really had to lean on to make sure he realized that he's warming you up, not trying to score goals," Hutchinson joked. "He was great at his job but he always needed that little reminder."
Surprisingly, neither goaltender has sustained a serious injury from an errant warmup shot from a teammate in either the pros, junior or minor hockey.
"Knock on wood," Mason said.
"I've taken a couple of good ones right off the head and that's about it," Hutchinson said. "In junior, I was kind of a stupid kid and didn't wear much collarbone protection. I remember taking a couple off the collarbone in warmup, too. It makes it tough to really have to battle though the rest of game to block out the pain while it's throbbing in your shoulders."