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Richard Bachman Eager to Build On Last Season’s Experiences

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thomas Jefferson once said that the will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government. Well, the will of

Bachman's Stephen King inspired mask

the people can be a pretty good foundation when making a decision about your goaltending mask as well. Just ask Richard Bachman.

The Stars goaltender created quite a buzz this summer with his new mask that pays tribute to author Stephen King and “The Shining.” But, Bachman admitted, the original plan was that the mask would just be a backup this season. Fan reaction to the mask’s appearance on the internet changed all that.

“That wasn’t even supposed to happen,” Bachman explained. “I was getting one done for more of a backup mask, just to have one fully painted and ready to go just in case something happened to another one I am going to get painted here.”

Then the mask’s artist - David Gunnarsson of DAVEART – put the mask on his website, it quickly made the rounds on the internet and Bachman had a hit mask on his hands. The fans had spoken, and Bachman decided he would respect the will of the people.

“It went viral there on the internet. Everyone sort of liked it, so now it is going to be my number one mask,” said Bachman. “I like it. It’s a little creepy looking. He did an unbelievable job, and I think the fans will really like it.”

The tribute to King is fitting. King has written several books under the pen name Richard Bachman and the film version of “The Shining” provides some great images for Bachman’s mask.

“I like the movie, but I am not a huge Stephen King reader,” said Bachman. “I am going to have to get into it so I can answer a few questions when people ask me about it. But it was just the coincidence and it was just something I thought would be fun to do on the mask.”

While the new mask put Bachman in the spotlight this summer, it was hardly the big news of what was an eventful offseason for the 25-year-old netminder. Not even close. The big news was that he got married.

“That was absolutely awesome,” said Bachman, who spent his honeymoon in Saint Lucia. “I’m excited and I’ve known her for a long time. I’ve dated her for almost five years now and have known her since I was fifteen. It’s fun, she supports what I do and it’s nice to have her with me.”

There also was a trip to Europe, where Bachman suited up for the United States at the 2012 World Championship. It was the first time he had represented the USA on the international stage.

“That was awesome, although I wanted to play a little bit more than I did,” he said. “To be with those guys, and meet the guys that were over there was a really cool experience, to see international hockey at that stage and be in Helsinki. I saw some familiar faces with Kari (Lehtonen) over there, and Goose (Alex Goligoski) was with me (on Team USA) and Loui (Eriksson). It was a fun experience and something I would love to continue to do.”

Bachman played one game in the tournament, stopping 17 of 19 shots as Team USA defeated Kazakhstan 3-2 in overtime.

“It’s an honor to represent the U.S. and just have fun doing what you love,” he said. “It was a great experience for me.”

A lot of time was spent in Denver this off season as well, training for the upcoming campaign. Bachman, who signed a one-year, one-way contract worth $625,000 in July, will try to build on a solid rookie campaign that saw him play 18 games, posting an 8-5-1 record, 2.77 goals against average and .910 save percentage.

“The goal is just continuing to get better, working with Mike Valley every day and learning from Kari and learning the game some more. There is still a lot more to learn,” Bachman said. “I think the biggest thing this year is to build to become more consistent. Every night have the guys know that I am going to be there and we can win. I think that is the big step, be consistent and be a rock back there when Kari needs a rest to be able to give him that, and do that for the team.”

Bachman started last season in the AHL, and eventually took over the backup role from Andrew Raycroft. This season he’s expected to get pushed by Swedish goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp, who was signed as a free agent in June.

“It’s great for the organization and me and for Kari to have guys pushing to play and to want to be here,” Bachman said. “It keeps you working hard and keeps you honest every day. It pushes you to want to become better and become an elite goaltender at this level. It gives you no time to rest and become comfortable. You’ve got to keep going forward and pushing.

“Skating with Nilstorp today, he’s a great goalie and he has great fundamentals. Talking to him a little bit, he’s a great guy. That’s one thing we have here is that all the goalies are great guys, they want to push and they want the best for each other. It’s good to see it on both ends.”

Bachman arrived in Dallas this week, ready to go and excited about the team’s offseason additions of players like Jaromir Jagr, Ray Whitney, Derek Roy and Aaron Rome.

“It’s exciting to see the organization making those moves, making the push to be champions again,” he said. “I think we brought in some great guys, some high-skilled guys and good team guys. It’s going to be really exciting to see what we have here and what the room is going to be like.”

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