BOSTON (AP) - Seeking to improve their goaltending and defence, the Boston Bruins introduced veteran goalie Manny Fernandez on Friday as the team took to the ice for the first official day of training camp.
Fernandez, who shared the Jennings Trophy with Niklas Backstrom for allowing the fewest goals in the league last season, was acquired from Minnesota in a July trade for Petr Kalus and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick. He played six seasons with Minnesota and parts of five seasons with the Dallas Stars. Last season he played in 44 games with a 22-16-1 record and a 2.55 goals against average.
This season it is expected that he will share the goal-tending duties with Tim Thomas. Thomas appeared in 66 games for the Bruins last season and had a 30-29-4 record with a 2.99 goals-against average.
"There aren't too many teams in the league that have two proven goal tenders like we do," said Boston's head coach Claude Julien. "We plan on taking full advantage of that luxury."
For Fernandez, coming to one of the Original Six teams is a dream fulfilled.
"Growing up in Montreal, the Bruins were a team that we kept track of," said Fernandez. "Just to look around this dressing room and realize the history of this organization is something special."
What might not be so easy to come by is accepting a role where he won't be the No. 1 goalie. Julien refuses to discuss how he will use his two veterans or who will be the starting goalie opening night in Dallas.
"The competition will make us a better team and we have a great duo," said Julien.
As to how Fernandez plans on handling the situation all he will commit to is "it's easier on the goalie and easier on the team knowing from night to night who the starter will be." On the other hand he looks at the situation from a positive perspective "when you go out there for one game it allows you empty the tank and that can be an advantage."
The Bruins didn't have a reliable one-two punch in the net last season and that was a situation that many of the veteran players saw as a disadvantage.
"Manny is a confident veteran who works very hard," said Glenn Murray. "With both Tim Thomas and Manny back in the net we'll all feel more confident and that should make for a fun year."
Murray is one of the veteran players who reported to camp early this season and can't wait to put last year behind him.
"We need to find a way to win, no matter what, right from the start to get the bad taste of last season out of our mouths," Murray said. "You can be the best bike rider in the world but if you don't get on the bike it doesn't matter. We need to get out on the ice and prove ourselves."
This season Murray is looking for more team unity where last season he felt that Zdeno Chara tried to take to much on his own shoulders.
"He's a great player and he came into a situation where he was the new captain on a new team to him. No player in this league can carry a team by himself. I think in a positive way he tried to do that and it took its toll on him. This season it will be more of a team effort,"
Julien has also noticed a new attitude on this year's team.
"Everybody came in in great shape and they showed on the first day of camp that they are willing to put in the effort to turn things around. From the first minute of practice everybody hustled and worked hard."
But Julien also said it will take more than just a change in attitude to get the Bruins back into the playoffs.
"We need to cut down on our penalties and improve our offence. That comes from better positioning and getting the puck out of our end quicker. Those are two areas we'll be putting a lot of work in during the camp."