Monday, October 2, 2017

Texas Stars Goalie Coach Jim Bedard Ready to Develop Next Dallas Stars #1 Goalie

Bedard talks with Desrosiers during camp
(Credit: Texas Stars)
For eight years, Texas had just two coaches on staff in Cedar Park: head coach and assistant. As the league continues to become more advanced, so too has the coaching staff with the addition of Jim Bedard as the organization's goalie coach focused on the minor leagues and based in Austin.

Bedard comes to the organization with a boatload of experience in Detroit, having been the goalie coach there for the entire system from 2002-2016. Last season, he was in OHL Windsor. He had a playing career that included 73 NHL games in the late 70s but mostly focused on the minors and international play, including stints with the Hershey Bears and Rochester Americans. Now he is focused on developing the next generation of Dallas Stars goalie talent from the AHL and ECHL all the way to prospects in college and major junior.

"I'd never seen these guys before but I read up on them," said Bedard of Landon Bow and Philippe Desrosiers, currently battling for the backup spot in Texas. "I had people tell me about their strengths and weaknesses, but until I see them on the ice and see them eye ball to eye ball, you've yet to see what you're working with."

Interestingly, he notes that Bow and Desrosiers have complementary strengths and weaknesses. Bow is a big guy who needs to work on his speed, footwork and recovery. Desrosiers is quick but doesn't have the positioning discipline that Bow has.

"What we try to do is just practice hard every day. Come early; stay late. Every day we work on fundamentals of power skating. When you work hard every day, your talent comes out. Obviously, these guys passed a lot of tests to get them to this point, but to get to that next level they have to put up good numbers and have good performances. At the end of it all, they hope they can advance their carers."

One of the two will be heading to Boise this week though, so the fraternal battle lines have been drawn.

"In this case, it's a situation where we don't want to have guys in the press box. We want these guys playing. And it's a situation where you don't have a crystal ball to see who will be injured or who won't play well. We let the players decide. Let's have a good game today, and let tomorrow take care of itself."

Aside from developing Bow and Desrosiers, Bedard is also concentrating on making sure that Mike McKenna is ready in case of callup to Dallas. "The season is a real grind now with the bye week. The games are really condensed, so it's hard to stay healthy."

Bedard will make several trips to Boise this season in addition to traveling a bit to visit other drafted goalies the college and major junior. In a few weeks, he'll be on the road to Boston, watching Jake Oettinger take on Minnesota State. While NHL teams cannot do anything on-ice with college players in season, Bedard will chat with Oettinger after the game. He notes that bigger guys like Oettinger often do well in college since they get a longer timeline to develop and come out into the professional ranks as 22 year-olds instead of 20 year olds, as they would in major junior.

Bedard, who is Canadian, has a place in Cedar Park and will make it his base of operations regardless of his travels, giving Texas a vital piece of the puzzle in developing the next #1 goaltender for the Dallas Stars.

Goaltending preview
Based on this weekend's performances, it's clear that Mike McKenna is your undisputed #1 goalie right now. His 19-save shutout effort on Saturday compared quite favorably to the identical stat line of 6-for-8 that Bow and Desroisers each had on Friday. However, McKenna's status comes as no surprise. As the week rolls on, we'll learn which of these two goalies will head to the ECHL. Idaho opens camp today with preseason dates this weekend. Idaho does not play its first game until October 13th.

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