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Mason, Nash Honored at NHL Awards

In his first year in the NHL, Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Steve Mason took the league by storm, and Thursday night in Vegas he was recognized for it. Mason took home the 2009 Calder Memorial Trophy as the league’s top rookie beating out Chicago’s Kris Versteeg and Anehiem’s Bobby Ryan.

In only his first year, the rookie phenom lead the league with ten shutouts, was second in goals against at 2.29, and compiled a team record 33 wins while playing in 61 games.

Mason’s ten shutouts set a team record and were also the most shutouts recorded by a rookie since Chicago’s Tony Esposito posted 15 goose eggs back in 1969-’70. Mason recorded three straight shutouts between December 27th and the 31st when he consecutively blanked Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Anaheim respectively. Mason also set a franchise record for consecutive shutout minutes at 199:19.

Mason started the year in the minors with the Syracuse Crunch, but was quickly called up when then starting goaltender Pascal LeClaire and back up Fredrick Norrena both experienced injuries early in the season.

Mason is the first Blue Jacket to ever receive this honor, and joins team captain Rick Nash as the only Jacket to ever receive a season award. In 2004, Nash received the Rocket Richard Trophy as the leagues top goal scorer.

Steve Mason was also a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given to the league’s top goaltender, but was beaten out by deserving Boston goalie Tim Thomas.

Rick Nash joined his fellow Blue Jacket in the award category Thursday night when he was honored as the 2008-2009 recipient of the National Hockey League Foundation Player Award, presented annually to a player “in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community,” as per bluejackets.com. In his honor, the NHL will give $25,000 to the charity of Nash’s choice.

Nash beat out Montreal Canadien’s forward Alex Kovalev and Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Brown for the award. Previous recipients of the award include Trevor Linden, Vincent Lecavalier , Joe Sakic , Marty Turco and Jarome Iginla.

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