Blue Jackets goaltender Steve Mason spent his offseason deconstructing his game under new position coach Ian Clarke.

Now, after a brutal start to the season, Mason is trying to decompress.

Curtis Sanford, one of the few uplifting stories to emerge this season, made his ninth consecutive start last night against the Oilers.

"You can look at it two ways," Mason said. "Nobody wants to sit on the bench. That's pretty obvious.

"But this is time I'm taking to work on some things, and just sitting back and kind of letting all the negative feelings that have transpired during the early portion of the season, with all the losing, just kind of dwindle away. I'm just focusing on coming back fresh and being supportive (of Sanford) right now."

There's a burning question within the Blue Jackets these days, and Mason is at the heart of it. The Blue Jackets have played dramatically better since tweaking their system after a 9-2 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 5. By keeping a third forward high in the zone and in the middle of the ice, the Jackets have significantly cut down on odd-man rushes.

Shortly thereafter, Sanford recovered from a groin injury and took over for Mason.