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Flyers' Mason develops rapport with new goalie coach

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com

PINE HILL, N.J. -- Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason credits former Flyers goaltending coach Jeff Reese for helping him regain the confidence in his game.

Now Mason will have a new coach, Kim Dillabaugh, to help him try to take his play even further.

Dillabaugh was hired July 3 to replace Reese, who had a mutual parting with the Flyers on March 6. Dillabaugh had been the goaltender development coach for the Los Angeles Kings, where he worked with Flyers general manager Ron Hextall.

Hextall said he set up a meeting between Mason and Dillabaugh prior to hiring Dillabaugh, and based on that, he believes the relationship will be a positive one. Mason said he came to Philadelphia earlier than usual this summer to continue getting to know Dillabaugh.

"I was able to come in a little bit early and get a body of work and go out early on the ice with Kim, which has been great," Mason said Tuesday prior to taking part in the Flyers Celebrity Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club. "Get a grasp as to how he works and have a routine going into training camp that we can put forward going into the regular season. Then that way once the regular season does roll around, we're hitting the ground running and pick up where last season left off."

Mason had 18 wins last season, but his .944 save percentage at 5-on-5 was the NHL's best among goalies with at least 1,000 minutes of ice time, according to war-on-ice.com, and his 2.25 goals-against average was better than the 2.29 GAA he had when he won the Calder Trophy in 2008-09 with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mason said little will change in his style of play or day-to-day preparation from last season.

"It'll be pretty much the same, aside from being a couple different drills," he said. "Practice days, we'll be out there early, and on game days, I'll do my thing with him. We're going to incorporate a couple new drills. Aside from having a different face to talk to, I don't anticipate there being any changes that will affect me in a way I'm not comfortable with.

"We've had open conversations, open dialogue, and he understands where I'm at and I understand where he's coming from. It's going to be a great relationship."

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