In honor of avoiding arbitration, here's an interview that I along with several other writers conducted with Dallas Stars goaltender, Richard Bachman. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together. Richard is an absolute joy to interact with.
For Richard Bachman, the 2011-2012 season started off like the years before that he had grown accustomed to. He was the number one goaltender for the Texas Stars, the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate. He started off with an 8-4-1 record, posting two shutouts with a 0.931 save percentage. Then, in December, it all changed with a phone call. Dallas’ number one goalie, Kari Lehtonen had suffered a groin injury against Phoenix, and the Stars needed a backup for then number two, Andrew Raycroft. It was in a lopsided game against the San Jose Sharks that Bachman was inserted in the third period, and thus, changing his fortune from there on out. In his first NHL start in Madison Square Garden, Richard shutout the New York Rangers, 1-0. Very few knew, from that moment, he would earn the full time backup position, forcing Raycroft down to Austin.
The accolades continued after the regular season ended for the Stars as Richard was named to represent Team USA in Finland during the IIHF World Tournament. Backing up Detroit’s Jimmie Howard, Bachman earned a start against pesky (would only be fitting) Kazakhstan. Only facing 19 shots, Bachman and Team USA earned a victory in overtime, 3-2. We were incredibly fortunate to have Richard take some time after the Worlds to sit and spend some time with us and let us know what the last year has meant to him.
How did you get the nickname, “The Biz?”
Richard Bachman- To make the long story short, "The Biz" came about after a couple teammates in Austin and I got done watching a live band. One of the band members who we talked with after was named Russell Bizby we bought their CD. The next day my roommates started calling me Biz. From there is stuck and if I had a good game the guys in the room would say "I gave them the biz". So it's kinda a joke that stuck, but I like it.
After a prestigious college career at Colorado College, which included being named both the WCHA Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year (only other player to do that was Curtis Joseph), why did you decide to leave CC early?
RB- It was for one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life. I enjoyed so many different things about CC and had great friends and coaches. In the end though I felt I needed to start my pro career early. I would have been 24 in my first pro season and felt I would have been behind in development because many players come in so young. That plus I wanted to play more games in a season. Those are the two main reasons I left.
Was it a difficult transition from college to pro? What was the biggest adjustment?
RB- I don't think it was that difficult because it is still the game of hockey which I have been playing since I was six. Though there definitely were some adjustments. The greatest adjustment would have had to be getting used to the small ice again and how quick the players are and shots are. In college I played on Olympic ice which was bigger and allowed for more time to get set, in pro you have to be that much faster. Also, college guys seem to be a little shorter so getting used to seeing through or around big bodies was an adjustment. Then because guys are a little stronger they shoot harder and that makes me have to react quicker which, was an adjustment.
What’s the first thing you bought when you signed your contract?
RB- The first thing that I purchased when I signed was a new truck. Looking back I probably should have got a used one or something but I still have it and love it. It is a black F-150 and I plan on having it for a long time. I'm a truck guy.
If you weren’t playing hockey, what would you be doing?
RB- If I never played hockey or was not playing hockey I would like to think I would be doing something with music. I have always liked playing music and that impassioned of mine. I played the drums for a long time. I also have been working to finish my degree in business management so I wouldn't mind owning my own business one day.
What do you enjoy doing in the off-season?
RB- In the off season I love to just relax and enjoy everything that Colorado has to offer. I go to the mountains to hike or fish. In Denver I like to hang out outside and most important go to Rockies baseball games. I would say Rockies games are my favorite summer activity.
Playstation or Xbox? Do you play EA NHL franchise? If so, who do you play as?
RB- I am an Xbox guy but I actually do not play on it very often. If I do play I really only play baseball games or with my fiancé or friends.
What’s it like representing the US in the IIHF World Championships?
RB- It was a real honor to play with the USA jersey on me. The help represent what America is really about was special and something I will never forget. I will for sure frame that jersey!!
You had to watch a lot of Netflix in Finland. What’s your favorite show/movie?
RB- Actually Netflix didn't work over there which was terrible. But, I did have shows from iTunes set up. The shows that I am watching right now are Suits, can't wait for season two to start this next month. Then Breaking Bad, awesome show with so many hidden messages. Finally I also was watching White Collar, great show to kill some time.
The Stars have had a few goalies that played in NCAA, such as Belfour and Turco. How do you think NCAA compares to Canadian Juniors as a path to the NHL?
RB- I think they are both good routes to take and if you develop enough in either you can make it. With juniors you get more of a pro like schedule and are forced into pro hockey faster. College is great because you have a degree if hockey doesn't work but fewer games and teams. I think both are very competitive and both offer excellent ways into pro hockey. In the end if you have the skill either way will work out I think.
What was it like to come back to the Cedar Park Center and have the Texas Stars fan cheer for you at the last game of the season?
RB- It was a really an honor and great feeling to get that from the great fans in Cedar Park. Even more great was all the hang shakes and congrats I received while walking around the building. I owe them a lot for the support in the good and bad times. They made it fun to come to the rink each and every night.
Now that you’ve had time to reflect on it, how much does the fact that you got a shutout in MSG mean to you?
RB- Just to get a win in that building was amazing, but to have a shutout and my first one there was even more special. It is such a unique and historical building that I think it gives people chills when they are in there. It is world famous and to have that story means the world to me. I still have trouble putting how great it feels into words.
Is it bigger because it was against one of the best teams in the NHL?
RB- That definitely helps the feeling that they were such a good team. But, the great feeling really comes from the history of that team and arena. All the great players that have played there and all the great artists that have and still perform as well. That's the special part.
Is it difficult to come off the bench in a back-up capacity?
RB- That's a tough question, there are easier and hard parts. It can be easier because most times when coming in into games means you are losing by a few goals. This makes it easier because there is less pressure but you still want and need to play well and try to win the game. The hardest part is getting your body warm, after sitting on a little stool for a while it can be hard to warm up. The other hard part is getting a feel for the puck cold and with little warm up. Though you do learn to deal with these issues and make the job work.
You mentioned in one of your blogs from the Worlds that you keep things very consistent. What does your pre-game routine consist of? What music do you listen to get up for a game/workout?
RB- My pregame routine consists of many different things that I do each and every game. Basically it all starts with doing the same stuff at home prior to leaving for the rink. That is basic stuff but I don’t like to change it. Once at the rink I always tape my stick first. From there I roll out on the foam rollers and do some light movement stretching. After that I do a routine with a tennis ball for about 15 minutes to get my eyes warmed up. Before putting my gear on I do more stretching. As far as music goes I have no preference and don’t really use it to get pumped up. I listen to whatever is on the radio.
What do you make of Holtby of the Capitals making the jump from the AHL to NHL playoff goalie in a few games?
RB- He has played a few games before and did well but what he did during the playoffs was outstanding and great to watch. I think he is a very good goalie that took a hold of his opportunity and played very well. It was great to see a story like that because they do not happen that often. I also think he showed everyone that he is ready to be a NHL goalie full time. Great to see.
Best city/arena in the NHL for you so far and why?
RB- Best city and arena so far is hard for me. I would have to say Chicago is the best for me. I played juniors there for a little while and have been to games there when I was younger. I also really like the food and people in the city. I was lucky to play in some great arenas this year but that is my favorite. They have the coolest national anthem as well.
Who has the hardest slapshot in the NHL?
RB- The hardest shot that I have personally faced came at me every day from Sheldon Souray. That guys as made my hand hurt more than once. Such a hard shot.
Who do you hate to face in the shootout?
RB- I only had one shootout this year and it was against the Detroit Red Wings. Even if that wasn’t the case I would say they are the most difficult team. Some of the moves their top guys have are so good, plus the guys have so many different moves. That makes them so difficult to face.
Do you have a song you’d like played at big moments? They’ve been playing the Batman theme and various Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
RB- I actually do not have a preference when those moments happen because I usually only hear bits and pieces of it. I like the idea of the Batman theme song though. That is creative.
Outside of training camp, have you had the opportunity to watch Jamie Oleksiak, perhaps in the coverage of the OHL playoffs, and if so, what are your thoughts of him potentially being your number one defenseman in the future?
RB- I have not had a chance to watch him play more than at training camp unfortunately. I do however feel that he is a very promising young defenseman that has all the attributes and skills to be a big time player. I was able to meet him and get to know him a little as well; he is a great guy that is smart so that will only help him as he heads into his professional career. He will be very good.
The Dallas Stars produce goalies the way the Penn State produces linebackers and USC produces quarterbacks. It has always been said it takes someone of a “special mentality” to play tender and have guys fire frozen pieces of rubber at you at 100 miles per hour. As you can tell, Richard Bachman is about as straight laced as they come. This bodes well for the Stars and their future crease presence. Kari is getting older and his contract is coming up. He’ll get re-signed, there is no doubt about that. However, having someone as young as Bachman, with his skill and mental sharpness has to make the Stars front office confident in knowing that goal tending will not be a “needs to be addressed” any time soon.