If Steve Mason's improved play lately had caused the Blue Jackets' brass to consider the goaltender an integral piece in the team's reconfiguration, games like yesterday's 6-3 loss to Edmonton make that seem like a foolish proposition.

Mason surrendered five second-period goals and was replaced by rookie Allen York for the third period. The loss assured Columbus of finishing with the worst record in the NHL this season.

Not all of the goals should be blamed on Mason. A couple came on deflections on which he had little chance. Shoddy play in front of him also contributed.

But a couple of goals on routine shots were undeniably soft. Chris VandeVelde got his first NHL goal on a wrist shot from the high slot to tie the score at 2 with 8:20 left in the second. The Oilers then took the lead on a slap shot by Ladislav Smid from just inside the blue line less than three minutes later.