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A blast to the mask has put veteran goalie Steve Mason on the shelf -- and opened the door for prospect Eric Comrie to get another taste of life in the National Hockey League.

Mason has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion during Saturday night's game in San Jose. The veteran took a hard Jannik Hansen shot off his head but finished the first period, giving up two goals on 13 shots. He did not return to action in a game the Jets went on to lose 4-0.

Kyle Robertson / Columbus Dispatch Files</p><p>Eric Comrie played one game in net for the Jets last season, helping Winnipeg beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on April 6, 2017.</p></p>

Kyle Robertson / Columbus Dispatch Files

Eric Comrie played one game in net for the Jets last season, helping Winnipeg beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-4 on April 6, 2017.

"He's got a concussion, we think based on the hit on the shot he took," Jets head coach Paul Maurice said Monday. "He felt fine right after. For the two timeouts, felt good. By the time he got to the locker-room he was starting to feel off. So we just pulled him then. I felt at the time it was really precautionary. He got tested yesterday. I can't tell you it's a mild one, but they certainly weren't strong symptoms. But we'll see over the next couple of days how it settles down."

The injury comes at a terrible time for Mason, who seemed to be rounding into form after a tough start. But it also means an opportunity for Comrie, who was recalled from the AHL's Manitoba Moose to serve as Connor Hellebuyck's backup.

Comrie was 8-4-1 with a 2.30 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage in 13 appearances with the Moose. He was coming off a 30-save shutout on Saturday night in Milwaukee. Comrie has one career NHL game under his belt -- a 5-4 victory in Columbus during a late-season callup last year in which he stopped 35 of 39 shots.

"I'm just really excited to be here," Comrie said following Monday's morning skate. "I’m just going to take it day by day and be here as long as I can really...I literally just got here this morning. We got out for a quick skate. I really haven’t talked to many people yet. I’m sure my role will be discussed more later."

Maurice couldn't project how Comrie might be used. Hellebuyck was between the pipes on Monday night against the Minnesota Wild.

"We'll get a feel for where we think Steve is," said Maurice. "It's difficult with these kind of injuries, because you don't know one day to the next. I had Steve originally going in in Colorado (on Wednesday). And then'll just adjust from there. Eric's going to have to play. We play every second night. If Steve's out for any extended time, Eric's going to get into a game."

Maurice said it was a tough call between Comrie and former Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson, who is also off to a strong start with the Moose this year. In fact, Hutchinson's numbers are even better than Comrie's (6-1-1 in eight starts with a 2.13 GAA and .939 SV%).

Monday's move reunited Comrie with Hellebuyck. The pair shared the net with the Moose for most of the 2015-16 season.

"We’ve always been really good friends and really close to each other," said Comrie. "I’m just happy to be back with him and share with his success."

Comrie has been thrilled to watch Hellebuyck's emergence as an elite level goaltender in 2017-18.

"He’s been special," said Comrie. "Every game he’s played he’s been lights out. It’s exciting to watch him and I’m just really happy to be here to cheer him on."

The Moose have recalled Jamie Phillips from ECHL Jacksonville to replace Comrie.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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