Credit to Steve Mason

COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 13: Steve Mason #1 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrates a first star award during the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Nationwide Arena on December 13, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. The Blue Jackets defeated the Canucks 2-1. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

He's not done yet.

I (among many others) have been critical of Steve Mason for awhile now. I still believe most, if not all, of the criticism has been fully deserved. But Mason battled last night and he deserves some credit.

When Mason got injured, the team had won 3 games. Curtis Sanford came in and rescued at least some respectability. Many had seen enough and wanted Mason traded. I couldn't disagree.

While last night's shootout win against the Vancouver Canucks may not prove to be a turning point, it was encouraging to see Mason fight so hard.

He left in the third period with severe cramping. He could have stayed out of the game. No one would have blamed him. But he came back, even though he was surely still feeling the aches from the cramps, and closed out the game. Not only did he close out the game, he out dueled Roberto Luongo - in the shootout! - and secured a 2-1 victory.

Did I mention this was all after sitting out for a month?

Yeah, good on you, Mase.

I won't pretend like this is the start of a new day and that suddenly the Jackets are going to be playoff contenders. But I've been critical of players like Mason all season, and today, he gets the credit he deserves for last night.

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