Bill Meltzer: Meltzer’s Musings: Mason Steals a Point, Flyers Alumni Remember Quinn

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MASON STEALS A POINT IN SHUTOUT ‘LOSS’

Win or lose, shootouts are a farcical way to decide hockey games. The stupidity of the skills competition is never more obvious than when both opposing goaltenders get credited for shutouts yet one goaltender gets a loss on his record because of the shootout.

Last night on Long Island, Flyers goaltender Steve Mason turned in a spectacular 46-save performance to singlehandedly steal a point for the Flyers.

Islanders counterpart Jaroslav Halak was not nearly as busy but denied a Sean Couturier shorthanded breakaway early in the game and went on to deny Scott Laughton and Claude Giroux (via an outstanding arm save) in the shootout. Halak made 21 saves in regulation and overtime.

The Flyers did not deserve even one point from this game but Mason was their big equalizer. The Islanders outshot Philly in all three periods — 12-6 in the first period, 15-10 in the second period, a whopping 16-4 in the third period and 3-1 in overtime.

Apart from the Islanders’ game-long territorial domination, this game underscored another one of the Flyers’ issues this season: If the top line of Jakub Voracek, Giroux and Brayden Schenn is held off the scoreboard, the team as a whole is shut down offensively. This game marked the third time in the season the Flyers have been shut out. In all other games, Voracek has registered at least one point. The supporting cast offense is all but non-existent.

It is easy to make excuses. The Flyers were playing for the fourth time in six nights, which often contributes to dead legs. However, the Islanders were playing for the third time in four nights, so the tiredness excuse doesn’t hold water. New York simply took it to Philly and only Mason’s goaltending heroics kept the game scoreless.

The Islanders went 0-for-3 on the power play. The Flyers went 0-for-2.

Heading into the game, Flyers coach Craig Berube seemed to be leaning toward using six defensemen rather than the seven he used in Saturday’s 4-2 home win over Columbus. When all was said and done, however, the Flyers used seven defensemen on the Island. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo and forward Jason Akeson were the healthy scratches.

************* FLYERS ALUMNI REMEMBER PAT QUINN

The entire hockey world was saddened yesterday to learn of the passing of former NHL player, coach and general manager Pat Quinn at the age of 71. Quinn is said to have passed away from hospital-borne infection contracted during a routine medical procedure.

Yesterday, several Flyers alumni shared their memories of Quinn, who coached the team to a record 35-game unbeaten streak and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals during the 1979-80 season. Flyers club president Paul Holmgren, who thrived as a member of the Rat Patrol line as a player on Quinn’s 1979-80 team, related a heartfelt recollection of an off-ice meeting with Quinn and his family.

I was riding my bike through Newtown Sq. Pa in the summer of ‘83. I stopped at Pat’s house to say hi,” said Holmgren.” Pat was fired as coach earlier that spring and had already enrolled in law school. It was about 10 am and he never let me leave.

“I spent the whole day with him and his family. Sandra kept bringing food. Pat’s daughters, Valerie and Kallie were youngsters, in and out of the pool and listening like I was to Pat talk about everything under the sun. What a great family he has! I’m sure it was close to midnight before I got a ride home, I had to go back the next day to get my bike. What a day with a great man.”

For more, read the article at the Flyers Alumni official site.

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