Recent revelations that the Philadelphia Flyers initially offered Mike Richards and Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2011 are truly incredible. But, that stirring news serves only as background chatter considering the pre-Christmas work that Paul Holmgren's roster currently faces.
Craig Berube's .500 squad (15-15-4) can't face former friend (and alumni goaltender) Sergei Bobrovsky because he's injured. But, they will square off against his Blue Jacket teammates on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia today.
Steve Mason has provided steady crease work since being acquired last April from Columbus for Michael Leighton and Philadelphia's 2015 third round draft choice.
Mason's .924 save percentage and 2.34 Goals Against Average clearly reflect a player whose mind is focused on the task at hand. While Ilya Bryzgalov possessed sharp physical talent, his off-beat personality and inconsistent on-ice demeanor served to create a dysfunctional dynamic. Thus, 'Bryz' was understandably bought out in the off-season.
In 'Flyerland' the goalie gold standard was and is Bernie Parent. Back-to-back Stanley Cups (1973-74, 1974-75) happened with number 1's full involvement. Who knows if either silver chalice would have been won without that Hall of Famer.
The silver standard was and is Ron Hextall. Hexy's passion carried his team to the seventh game of the 1987 Stanley Cup Final against the Edmonton Oilers, who were one of the best offensive teams in history.
At 25, Mason has years to prove his worth. But, this still-young man's first real orange and black test could arrive in the spring if the Flyers are able to make the playoffs.
As for Bobrovsky, he joined Parent and Hextall, as a Vezina Trophy winner last season. The passage of this and future seasons will determine whether Holmgren's multiple goaltender decisions were spot on.