Mono Watch — The hockey media are having equal measures of fun and concern with the disclosure that Steve Mason is suffering from mono. The following from Charlie Teljeur at THN:
Although he’s been cleared by doctors (obviously Columbus season ticket holders) to keep playing, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason is battling mononucleosis. I’d actually like to see him play through this entire crisis, get the team into the playoffs and lead the Blue Jackets to the Stanley Cup. Then, as payback, Mason should be the first to drink champagne out of the cherished mug. I can hear his teammates now: “No, it’s OK, I’m really not that thirsty.”
60% Rule — With all of the calculating and figuring and hand-wringing and general carrying on about playoff prospects (including my own), one simple way to look at it is the 60% rule. As of the All Star Break, the CBJ had 35 games left, and had 22 wins, plus 5 OTL. Look at the remaining games as 7 groups of 5 games. Win 3 of 5 in each group, and you have no worries. That would add 21 wins for 43 wins and 91 points, assuming we had straight losses in every other game. That will make the playoffs in the West. Right now, we have won 2 of the first three in the first group of 5, so just need to split between St. Louis and Pittsburg to be on target. See, simple isn’t it?
Ottawa — With the Senators jettisoning their coach this week, what impact will that have on trade prospects? The Canadian media are circling like sharks, with the majority opining that GM Bryan Murray should have been axed before Craig Hartsburg. The Senators are a salary cap mess, public opinion already says to trash the season and rebuild, and ownership pressure on the GM has to be building. Sounds like the recipe for some bargains, and Howson is one of the best bargain shoppers around. Stay tuned.
St. Louis preview coming shortly.