Over the past five days, Blue Jackets equipment manager Tim LeRoy has suited up as a goaltender for more practices than the club's No.1 goalie, Steve Mason.

That's a worrisome sign for a club in the heat of a postseason race.

Mason did not practice yesterday after being diagnosed with bronchitis and a touch of the flu on Monday. But coach Scott Arniel said it's still possible Mason will play tonight against the Los Angeles Kings in Nationwide Arena.

"He came in (yesterday) and was feeling a lot better, and I'm sure he'll be good for (tonight)," Arniel said.

General manager Scott Howson said the team had no plans to recall a goaltender from minor-league Springfield. That would seem to signal that Mason will be able, at minimum, to back up Mathieu Garon.

Still, it was a peculiar sight to see LeRoy, the club's longtime equipment manager and a former rec-league goaltender, on the opposite end of the ice from Garon. LeRoy said he parted with his gear, except for his custom-made stick, a few years ago when he stopped playing pickup games.

So he was decked out yesterday in gear left behind by former Blue Jackets goaltenders: Ron Tugnutt's pads, Pascal Leclaire's helmet, Fredrik Norrena's blocker, Marc Denis' glove and Karl Goehring's arm and chest pads.

It marked the second time in the past five days that LeRoy has practiced in place of Mason, although Mason's absence yesterday seemed less curious. On Friday, as the Blue Jackets prepared to face the Colorado Avalanche, LeRoy was called upon because Mason did not take part in the morning skate.

Arniel said he was giving Mason a maintenance day, noting that he'd made the previous eight starts for the Blue Jackets before Garon started against the Avalanche.

But it's highly unusual for a healthy goaltender to miss a morning skate, especially if he is being used in a backup role that night. Further, Garon said he was not notified that he was going to start until Friday afternoon, a day later than normal.