Recently amidst the good news of Steve Mason’s TSN Rookie of the Year Award, we posited that, “Also needed for Mason is a full-time goaltending coach. Clint Malarchuk took a leave of absence right before the start of the season after suffering an “accidental” self-inflicted gun shot wound. The team brought in an “interim” coach in Perry Elderbroom, who was most familiar with former backup Fredrik Norrena. The team had all but cut ties with him before the end of the season.”
One of the names rumored to be in the running was Mason’s former coach in juniors, David Rook. Well, it looks like the running is over, as the club has said it will make an announcement this week. It is believed that the job will go to Rook. “We’re still working out the details with David,” general manager Scott Howson said. “But he’s the only person we’re talking to now, and hopefully it’s only a matter of days before it’s done.”
As Aaron Portzline reports in the Puck-Rakers blog:
Rook goes back to junior hockey with Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason, and Mason has routinely names Rook as the coach to whom he owes the most. But Howson was emphatic that this hire was not done simply to appease Mason. He said the relationship between Rook and Mason did help Rook’s cause, but he had to fill the bill in other areas, too.
Porty also points out that current “coach” Clint Malarchuk is technically under contract until June 30th, and Rook can’t officially join the team until after the NHL Draft, which begins on June 26th. Given the proximity of those dates, I would guess there will be a seamless transfer in that range somewhere.
Rook’s job will include working with goaltenders both in Columbus and with their AHL-affiliate Syracuse Crunch. “We talked to people in St. Louis and London, and obviously we talked to Steve, and he came highly recommended,” Howson said. “The fact that he’s got a relationship with Steve … that’s a bonus that I won’t deny played into the decision. But this is not just Steve Mason’s goalie coach. He’s here to work with all of our goalies.”
And, as good as Mason was this past season, this move should in theory only help him to get better in the coming season(s). Kudos, Jackets, on making another smart decision!