N CINEMATOGRAPHY, there is a well-known camera trick known as the "Hitchcock Effect," in deference to the man who made it famous: legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. It is an effect, which you've probably seen often but didn't know what to call it, that visually distorts perception for the viewer by zooming in on a subject while the camera is physically moving away. For NHL goaltenders, there should be an alternate definition of the "Hitchcock Effect," in deference to the man who makes them both rich and famous: coach Ken Hitchcock. It is one that new Flyers goaltender Steve Mason knows well, since he enjoyed his Calder Trophy season in 2008-09 in Columbus under the auspices of Hitchcock. "Hitch," the former Flyers coach, was fired halfway through the next season - and Mason has never been the same. Mason, 24, acquired from the Blue Jackets on Wednesday afternoon in exchange for Michael Leighton and a third-round pick, could make his first start as a Flyer on Saturday in Winnipeg. The Flyers are searching for their season-high fifth straight win against the reeling Jets. Hitchcock is gone from Philadelphia, fired in 2007, but Mason is hoping that he can get back to the success he enjoyed under the big, jolly man with Peter Laviolette. Goaltending in hockey is tough to judge statistically. Yes, the numbers indicate success or failure, but it's usually impossible to figure the impact from playing in front of both a solid (or weak) defense corps and an impressive (or not) coach. Hitchcock is known for his rigid, defense-first system, which limits scoring chances with the use of a trap. The benefits for his goaltenders are clear. Analyzing the eight starters under Hitchcock in his four stops (Dallas, Philadelphia, Columbus, St. Louis) and they average a .918 save percentage under him vs. an average save percentage of .902 under other coaches. During his season-and-a-half under Hitchcock, Mason stopped 91.4 percent of shots faced. He stopped only 89.6 percent of shots under Claude Noel, Scott Arniel and Todd Richards in the remaining 3 1/2 seasons of his tenure with the Jackets.
Mason needs to rediscover Hitch magic
Philly.com | Apr 6