Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wild Pondcast talks to Bob Mason, Wild Goalie Coach (from 12/5/10)

Bob Mason, the Wild Goalie Coach, was a guest on This Week In Hockey on 12/5/10. I started writing up a post at that time, but then José got more starts, and I've been busy keeping up with those posts. But I wanted to revisit this, especially with what's been happening with the Théo/Backstrom situation.

I think we all know what the situation is. Backstrom is their #1 guy. They pay him $6 million, more than any other player on the team. They are not going to have a $6 mill guy sitting on the bench unless something extreme happens. That's the reality, and it's one of the reasons I wish that José could've been signed elsewhere. But the free agency market was not kind this summer to veteran goalies.

Anyway, this interview is almost 2 weeks old, but I think the coaches of the Wild still feel the same way. They think José is good, and they are glad to have him to backup Backstrom, but they still look at Backstrom as their main guy, and I don't see that changing no matter what José does. Especially when the team in front of the goalies can't score to save their lives, and therefore the team can't post wins. Goalies can't score for them, they can only do their part. It's up to the other guys to step up and help the team win. So, that's how I see it. I really wish that José could end up somewhere that he could be the #1 guy and show everyone that he's still got the skill-level it takes to be the #1 guy. There is no way, in my humble opinion, that Backstrom is a better goalie than José. Period. But Backstrom has a no-trade clause in his contract, they pay him lots of money, and they are not going to let him sit for long. Ok, opinion piece over. Now to the interview. (If they do trade José I hope to God it's after Feb. 11th, since I have tickets to their game in St. Louis that night. I will be so disappointed if he's not with the team at that point.)

Mason's bit on the show begins at about the 4:00 mark of this broadcast. If you don't have time to listen, here are the parts where he discussed José.

Q: How do you work with these guys when they hit a rough patch? Is it get back to basics? Do you try to build these guys up and keep it positive at all times?

Mason: Sure, you gotta do that. You know we gotta certainly watch the tape and go over certain situations and maybe see what they can do a little bit better. It's just really telling these guys they're here because they are good goaltenders. And they gotta really believe in themselves and continue to do that, and I'm there to reinforce that with them. Of course there are a lot of drills you can do on the ice, a lot of foot drills, a lot of traffic drills, you know working on different areas where they might be struggling. Or not even...just do a couple drills that might benefit certain situations where they might be getting into trouble in a game. Rap that out a little bit, and hopefully they clean it up, and if they do that in a game, and all of a sudden it's working, then that's one part that's back in order.

Q: So Nicklas Backstrom sits out 3 of the last 4 games, while José Theodore comes in and fortunate do you feel to have a guy like that now to be able to step in and replace Josh Harding who is pretty much lost for the better part of the season. To have a guy like that, an experienced veteran guy who can come in and pick up the reins when called upon.

Mason: Well, it's great for the team. To get a veteran guy like that, he's been through some ups and downs. He's been through some very good highs and you know 30 wins last year with Washington. He was 30-7-7. He's just pretty much a calming force. And I think the team's got a lot of confidence in him. You know, we were looking at goaltenders when Josh went down. There were a lot of younger guys out there, but I think Chuck made the right choice in grabbing a veteran, and I think the room is very comfortable with him and he's played great for us when he's been in and we're back to kind of a little tandem here. Back to the Roloson/Fernandez tandem where, boy, we rotated those guys for 2-3 years straight. And it worked great for the Wild.

Then a bit later..."Certainly Nik's been our top guy and he still is our top guy. We're certainly trying to get his game trending back in the right order, and that's going to be a little bit from him and a little bit from the team."

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