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New Faces in Goal Show Promise, Poise

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
Wilmington, MA -- Bruins fans can expect to see some new faces in the goal this preseason with a lot of talent to supplement the B's stellar puckstopping duo Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask. Rookies Adam Courchaine, Matt Dalton, Mike Hutchinson and veteran Nolan Schaefer will all be working to solidify their  roster spots this September.

Dalton Enjoying the Journey
Clinton, Ontario native Matt Dalton brought his college team, 16th seeded Bemidji State, to the Frozen Four in 2009 and helped them become the lowest seeded team to ever reach the famed NCAA tournament.

Since then Dalton's personal odyssey has taken him to Reading and Providence as he works his way through the B's minor league system.

During this week's informal practices, Dalton reported that he is feeling good and is excited to gain some more experience at next week’s camp.

“I feel a lot more comfortable compared to last year," he said. "I know what to expect, and a year of experience goes a long way.”

Only 24-years old, Dalton has a good mindset going into the rookies reporting day on Sunday.

“I expect [a lot] out of myself," he said. "I’m just going to play as hard as I can and work hard and let it shake down the way it shakes down.“

Hutch Looks to Make Much of His Opportunity
Barrie, Ontario native Mike Hutchinson, 20, is also looking to to score himself a spot in the pros and has been working closely with Bruins goaltending Coach Essensa.

Earlier this week, afer a session of his goalie camp, Essensa said he hopes to help Hutchinson get a better grip on reading the plays in front of him and his depth in the net.

“[Those are] things that I’m going to address this season," said Hutchinson. "It all starts this week.”

Hutchinson, who was drafted by the Bruins during the third round in 2008 (77th overall), was traded from junior hockey's  Barrie  to London last year.

“Getting traded to London was the best thing that could have happened to me," said Mike.  "I got to play a lot [there] and we had great coaches and a great organization, so I learned a lot.”

The netminder also boasted about the effectiveness of Boston Bruins Development Camp this past summer.

“[During The Program at] development camp…you learn a lot about yourself and your body language," he said. "It definitely made me push myself that extra mile this summer.”

Courchaine Hopes to Catch On
Twenty-one year old Kanata, Ontario native Adam Courchaine is also vying for a spot on the organization's depth chart.

“Being back here is a special feeling," said Courchaine. "Boston is an amazing place and the organization is top notch, first class all the way.”

Courchaine says that this week's informal practices have been very helpful in getting back up to speed.

“Coming down here, you have all these guys with great shots, and Bob [Essensa] runs a lot of great drills out there [during goalie camp] so you’re tired at the end of every day, but it’s getting us ready for the next camp,” said Courchaine.

Having the opportunity to learn from Tuuka and Tim Thomas is also extremely beneficial for any young Black & Gold netminder.

“It’s sometimes [intimidating], but they’re great guys and help you out with whatever they can," said Courchaine. "Just watching them you learn so much.”

Courchaine said that Rask and Thomas' attitude reflected the demeanor of all the veterains at camp.

“They’re all great guys," he said. "It’s not like it’s a scary thing. 

"To be able to come into camp comfortable, know everybody, know the system, know how it’s going to work -- it makes it a lot easier.”

The rookie has realistic, but hopeful expectations for the upcoming season.

“Work as hard as I can, and every time I get the chance to play, play well and try to win,” said Courchaine.

Schaefer's Next Stop: New England
Nolan Schaefer, a 30-year old veteran, has higher expectations for the 2010-2011 Bruins season. 

“I’d like to see myself as the number three guy and try to push the competition," said Schaefer at the beginning of goalie camp.  "But I see these guys around here and they’re definitely great prospects.”

Schaefer, the younger brother of former Bruins forward Peter Schaefer, brings a lot of experience to the team. The well-traveled backstop has been through Providence College, Fresno, Cleveland, San Jose, Worcester, Hershey, Wilkes-Barre, Houston and spent last season playing in Russia. 

“It was interesting," said Schaefer of his time with CSKA Moscow. "But I’m more than excited to be here.”

Having spent last year playing overseas, Schaefer hopes to integrate some Russian techniques with his traditional North American style. 

Some have deemed him a “Russian netminder,” but Shaefer disagrees. 

“I learned a lot of great things from the different style," said Schaefer. "It’s a different game over there, but I would consider myself a classic North American goaltender.”

Nearly a decade senior to the other new goalies (and with much more experience), it’s easy to see why he may be viewed as a mentor.

“When I play with these guys, they’re the young guys, they’re coming up in a game that’s constantly changing," said Schaefer. "I try to take stuff and learn from them, but try to show them some of my experience and rouse them a little bit, too.”

---Taylor Walker
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