WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Michael Hutchinson wasn’t going to let a high-speed, on-ice collision get in the way of him getting in between the posts at development camp.
On Thursday, the goaltender was preparing to stop a puck, not Jared Knight, when the Providence center crashed into Hutchinson as he was trying to get a shot off. Shaken, Hutchinson left the ice - but came back to the ice on Friday ready to continue on as if nothing had happened.
“I’m feeling a lot better. Yesterday was just a precaution, they told me there was only two minutes left in practice, just take it easy,” Hutchinson explained. “This morning I woke up, I felt fine, I was able to go on the ice and I was seeing the puck well, which is the biggest thing.”
Hutchinson’s attitude provides insight into his main goal at development camp: staying focused. The goalie knows that the skills of the surrounding players create a challenging atmosphere, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Right now, you really have to focus and make sure you’re watching the puck, because these guys can all really shoot the puck,” Hutchinson said.
“And I hate getting scored on, so it makes it a little bit more challenging.”
Hutchison was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the third round (77th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and spent the 2010-11 season playing for the Providence Bruins and the Reading Royals (ECHL). At Reading, Hutchinson played 18 games, earning a goals-against average of 2.86.
Heading back to the Royals, Hutchinson said, was valuable experience as he continues to develop and rework his game.
“I got play every single game,” Hutchinson said, “and I just got back to having fun playing hockey while I was down there.”
For Providence, the goaltender was in net for 28 games, posting a win-loss-OT record of 13-10-1 and a 3.13 goals-against average and was selected as Providence’s Player of the Month in November 2010 when he won five consecutive games. While with Reading, Hutchinson had a 30-save shutout against Abbotsford on February 25.
The 6-foot-3, 192-pound Hutchinson, a Barrie, ON native, found that playing in Providence met standing behind players who were more positionally sound, allowing the expansion of his skills in net.
Providence Head Coach Bruce Cassidy, who draws style comparisons between Hutchinson and Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, agreed that the quality of Hutch’s play improved throughout the season. It’s a growth that Cassidy says he’ll be looking for again between the pipes next year.
“Pretty focused guy, hard worker, it’s just a matter of that big body and developing his technique and his athleticism to the level that it needs to be,” Cassidy said. “I would assume he’s going to have a good year for us, just because of what I saw last year, because he’s a mature guy, he’ll get better.
“I don’t think you’ll see him go backwards. I think he’s, like I said, a pretty focused guy.”
Something that’s helping with Hutchinson’s focus? Watching as the Boston Bruins lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time in 39 years. The goaltender can’t help but dream of his own future as he considers the Boston championship.
“It’s really exciting and a huge motivational factor,” Hutchinson said. “When you’re working out and you’re trying to do the little extra work after, seeing Boston win the Cup just gives you that added motivation to do the extra work.”