‘Underappreciated’ Flyers goalie Steve Mason Helping High School Students with SATs

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason just finished a stretch run that essentially carried the Flyers into the playoffs, though his playoff run was short-lived. Interestingly enough, Mason is also lending a helping hand to students nationwide to prepare for their future.

As high school juniors and seniors embark on the road to college planning, they are faced with the fear of SAT standardized tests. These tests are essential to acceptance at many colleges and universities.

Mason is featured in a practice question on comma usage in the new edition of The Princeton Review: Cracking the New SAT Premium 2016 Edition.

On page 95 of the practice book that many students around the United States are utilizing for test preparation, the following question is examined:

“Try to figure out whether the word or idea in italics is necessary to the meaning of the sentence, and whether or not commas need to surround the italics.

v. Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason is an underappreciated player.

Answer:  v. NECESSARY to the meaning of the sentence. If you removed the italicized part, the sentence is no longer complete.”

Hence correct comma usage: Philadelphia Flyers goalie, Steve Mason, is an underappreciated player.

The authors of this book seem to think so, but as Philadelphia hockey fans reflect on the past season, they can form their own opinion. Is "Steve Mason an underappreciated goalie?"

On the optimistic end of his performance this season, he made big saves when needed, he carried the team in the last month of the season when Michal Neuvirth was hurt, and he played well in the playoffs despite the embarrassing goal against from center ice in Game 2 and allowing six goals in Game 3. But Mason didn’t dominant like he many thought he should have. When Mason had confidence, he could be depended on and was often as good as any goalie in the NHL.

On the adverse side, Mason had an inconsistent season. His positioning could get poor at many times and he let in many weak goals. He also struggled with a lack of focus early in the season due to a "family matter." He only truly showed endurance over the last month of the season.

In shootouts and breakaways there is no self-assurance. It can be argued that he let in too many weak goals in the skills competition to be considered an elite NHL goalie.

Despite the pros and cons, his statistics speak for themselves. He was the best 5-on-5 goalie in the NHL through 54 games with a .937 save percentage and a 1.96 GAA. He posted a .918 save percentage and 2.51 GAA in the regular season. In the regular season his record was 23-19-10 with four shutouts. In the three playoff games he was 0-3 with a .852 save percentage and a 4.09 GAA in playoffs.

So, can Philadelphia fans agree with The Princeton Review on Steve Mason being a valued goalie in the league? They have the right to make the appeal. Maybe the question can be constructed to an opinion essay on next year’s standardized SAT test.

Robinson, Adam, John Katzman, and the Staff of the Princeton Review.  (2015) The Princeton Review: Cracking the New SAT Premium 2016 Edition. New York: Penguin Random House LLC. 95.

Denise Mroz is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow her on Twitter @denisemroz10.

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