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Wamsley providing net gain for Senators

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Former NHL netminder Rick Wamsley has brought his experience to the Senators as their goaltending coach and has reunited with Pascal Leclaire (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).

Rick Wamsley believes he can offer the Ottawa Senators coaching staff a significant net gain.

The former National Hockey League netminder, whose career included stints with the Montreal Canadiens, St. Louis Blues and Calgary Flames, was hired over the summer as the organization’s goaltending coach.

Wamsley has plenty of previous experience in that regard, having spent the last four seasons with the Blues after previously tutoring goaltenders for the Columbus Blue Jackets — including current Sens stopper Pascal Leclaire — and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Q: What excites you about this opportunity?
A: It’s a chance to work with the goalies again. It’s a chance to work for a Canadian team again. The game is more important in Canada and I missed that a little bit working in St. Louis (where he was an assistant/goaltending coach for the previous four seasons). My experience with the Blues was great, but it’s a baseball town. To work in a hockey town again is exciting for me.

Q: What are you hoping to bring to the Senators organization?
A: I think my past record as a goalie coach is good. If I can replicate some of the success I’ve had with the guys I’ve worked with in the past and bring that to Ottawa, help the goalies be more consistent and bring a championship to the city of Ottawa, it would be great.

Q: What is it like getting the chance to work with Pascal Leclaire again?

A: There’s a familiarity there. I watched him grow up.  I had him real early in his career and I got him to a certain point before I left and went to St. Louis. I’ve watched him from a distance since then. I’m excited to work with Pascal again to finish the job that we started.

Q: What has been the biggest change in goaltending since your playing days?
A: The goalies are bigger. Everything is bigger. The average size of the goalies is bigger. The equipment is bigger. Everybody butterflies now. Not many guys butterflied in my era — it was probably 50-50 (back then), but it’s more like 90-10 now. Those are the two biggest things. Goalies are also receiving much more coaching through their minor days than they ever did before, which has led to a little bit of a style change, if you will, that most guys are playing now.

Q: Who was your biggest influence as a goaltender?

A: Mine, for sure, was Jacques Plante. When I was 13 years old, I bought his book and read it on a nightly basis. I still have it today. I was lucky enough to have him as a goalie coach during a little bit of my time in Montreal and a little bit of my time in St. Louis as a player. He had the most direct influence on me from a young age.

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