Flyers goaltender Mason rules himself out for Game 2

By The Philadelphia Inquirer  • 
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NEW YORK — After an encouraging one-hour workout on Friday, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Steve Mason had a setback yesterday and will miss Game 2 of a first-round playoff series against the New York Rangers today at Madison Square Garden.

Mason, a former Blue Jacket who has not played since suffering an upper-body injury April 12 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, indicated after Friday’s workout that he thought he would be ready to go.

But after participating in a full-team practice yesterday afternoon, he said he wasn’t ready.

“For the most part, I felt pretty solid and I am getting better every day, but I won’t play (today),” Mason said.

The Flyers trail the best-of-seven series 1-0 and have lost nine consecutive games to the Rangers in New York.

Toward the end of practice, Mason was laboring.

“Probably the last 10 minutes in practice, what was bothering me wasn’t feeling very good,” Mason said.

When asked what was bothering him, Mason said, “I can’t say that.”

Mason talked to coach Craig Berube and general manager Paul Holmgren, and it was decided that he wouldn’t play. As in Game 1, Mason also won’t be available to serve as the backup. Cal Heeter was the backup to Ray Emery in Game 1 and will do the same in Game 2.

Heeter was at Friday’s workout with Mason, before traveling to Hershey, Pa., where the minor-league Adirondack Phantoms played their final game yesterday.

The fact that Heeter returned to the Phantoms is an indication that the Flyers were optimistic after Friday’s workout that Mason would be able to play.

Now, Mason said his goal is to play in Game 3 on Tuesday night in Philadelphia.

“I will make that my goal and make sure I get as much rest as possible,” Mason said. “I want to make sure when I get back in I am ready to help the team out and not be a liability out there.”

Berube wouldn’t speculate on Mason’s availability for Game 3.

“It is a day-to-day thing,” he said. “We talked it over, and he is not ready.”

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