Chris Mason Brings His Funny Interviews, Cool Pads Back To Nashville

WINNIPEG, CANADA - DECEMBER 22: Chris Mason #50 of the Winnipeg Jets wears his new pads during warmup before a game against the Montreal Canadiens in NHL action at the MTS Centre on December 22, 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

It looks like the Predators are bringing Chris Mason back to be Pekka Rinne's backup -- a move sure to be loved by fans and coaches in Nashville alike. He'll make $1.25 million for one season, plus bonuses.

Fittingly, Mase began his career with the Preds, as a backup goalie. During the inaugural 1998-1999, Mason appeared in three games in relief. Then, after a few dominant season in Milwaukee, Mason became Tomas Vokoun's understudy in 2005. And after Vokoun contracted a rare blood condition in 2006, Mason was thrust into the starting job, performing admirably with a .925 SV% and 5 shutouts in 38 starts. He also became the ninth goalie to ever score a goal that season, as some poor fool on the Coyotes shot it in his own net, and Mason got credit.

In 2007, Mason started the season as the Preds' #1 goalie, after Vokoun's offseason departure in the fire sale, but ultimately lost his job to his own backup Dan Ellis, beginning that weird cycle of backups overtaking starters in Nashville.

Mase had two solid seasons as the Blues starter after that, before becoming Ondrej Pavelec's backup in Atlanta, then Winnipeg.

With a .910 career SV%, I've always considered Mason a criminally underrated goalie, and am happy to have him back in a diminished role. He's a nice veteran to have around, yes, but he's also actually good enough to start, if needed, which is no small thing.

You may remember donning a bald cap or shaving your head during the 2006 season in solidarity with Mason. Or, if you're a more recent fan, you may know of Mason's cool pads in Winnipeg (pictured above). Either way, Mason's creative equipment and pithy from-the-bench interviews give all Preds fans something more to look forward to this season.

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