A National Hockey League team has suffered an important loss in practice, and now we have confirmation that is may in fact be significant.
Earlier today multiple sources reported that veteran goaltender Steve Mason had left the Winnipeg Jets morning skate with an apparent injury, a troubling sign considering just how many injuries the 29-year-old netminder has suffered during the course of the last two seasons. There was hope that it would only be a minor inconvenience but those hopes have officially been dashed.
According to a breaking news report from TSN insider Darren Dreger, the Winnipeg Jets have now been forced to make an emergency call up, inserting goaltender Michael Hutchinson of the Manitoba Moose into their line up, as a result of the injury that was suffered by Mason earlier this morning. This means that Mason will not be available to the Jets this evening.
Thankfully for the Jets Mason is currently only their backup goaltender, thanks in large part to the excellent season that was had by number one goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, however should Hellebuyck go down at any point in the playoffs this could be a major catastrophe. Hutchinson has had an excellent season at the American Hockey League level but on in the three games that he was called upon to play for the Jets this season his performance suffered.
That's not to say that he isn't a serviceable back up, he in fact posted numbers similar to those of Mason this season, but if we're being perfectly honest here there is a good reason that the Jets have kept the 28-year-old in the minor leagues. Likely it's the same reason that made them go out and get a veteran backup like Mason to play behind Hellebuyck in the first place.
Unless Hellebuyck himself is injured during the course of this series we do not expect that the Jets will be too heavily impacted by the absence of Mason against the Wild. The Jets are already in firm control of this series and the Wild have lost both star forward Zach Parise and star defenseman Ryan Sutter for at least the duration this series, and many have already counted them out as a result.