Mauldin Featured In Several Media Outlets
Nov. 22, 2010
Greg Mauldin makes his mark
By Stephen Harris- Boston Herald
In the local-guy-makes-good category, congratulations to Holliston native Greg Mauldin, who is up with the Colorado Avalanche and playing well in a fourth-line/penalty-kill role.
The 28-year-old winger played for the Boston Junior Bruins [team stats] and then UMass. As a pro, he has labored six years in the minors or Europe, getting brief NHL stints with Columbus (six games) and the New York Islanders last year (one game).
A fitness fanatic who teaches young players an excellent hockey conditioning program each summer at the Fieldhouse in Sudbury, Mauldin started this season in the American Hockey League with Lake Erie, but was called up to the Avs 10 days ago. He promptly scored his first NHL goal, shorthanded, against Columbus. After four games, he had 1-1-2 totals, 10 hits and a plus-2.
"I can't even explain the emotions," Mauldin said after scoring his first goal in his first Avs game. "Ever since I was 6 years old and laced up the skates, I've dreamed of this day. Once I turned pro, this was something I've been hoping for and waiting for."
Junior Bruins coach Peter Masters recalls Mauldin as one of his organization's hardest workers and best players.
"Greg was the classic late bloomer," Masters wrote in an e-mail. "He was cut from Walpole (EJHL) a few weeks before our tryouts and we took him as a fifth-liner. He worked his butt off all summer, sleeping in the rink in locker rooms on an Aero bed at night after closing the rink as a worker, so he could shoot pucks on the ice before the rink opened. He did it five days a week so he could improve, to earn a regular shift once the season started. Within three months of playing with us, he went from the 14th forward to our best.
"He is as hard a worker as I have had in my 13 years of coaching, and has been singularly focused on being a pro hockey player since he left college.
"We have had over 80 D-1 players come through our team and he has been the best forward."
The Beat: Mauldin making a mark in the NHL
Greg Mauldin's boxes remain over a thousand miles away, untouched and unpacked in his new Cleveland apartment.
His home for the past few weeks has been the somewhat spacious but decidedly bland confines of a Residence Inn room in Denver. But for now, Mauldin would rather keep collecting those Marriott points than decorate his new digs.
The Holliston native is currently in his third tour of duty in the National Hockey League, although this one has been by far the most rewarding.
Suiting up for the Colorado Avalanche, Mauldin scored his first career NHL goal in his return to the league, and through Saturday night's Avalanche win over the Dallas Stars, he had a goal and two assists, and a plus-3 rating in six games.
Mauldin's call-up from the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters (located in Cleveland) was mainly because of injuries to a banged-up Colorado lineup, but now he's giving the organization a reason to keep him around.
"If I don't play well tomorrow, they would have no problem sending me down and calling someone else up," Mauldin said. "It's a league of 'what have you done for me lately?' I figure if I'm playing well and those guys do come back, maybe they'll still keep me."
The promotion practically came as a surprise. Mauldin hadn't been following Colorado's injury woes, so when he arrived at practice in Cleveland earlier this month, several of his teammates asked him if he thought he'd get the call. Then on Nov. 10, with Colorado general manager Greg Sherman in attendance, Mauldin had a goal and two assists in a Monsters win. The next day, Mauldin was told after the morning skate he was headed to the NHL.
He hopped in a rental car, made the two-hour drive to Columbus and was in uniform on Nov. 12 for Colorado's game against the Blue Jackets.
That night was one he won't soon forget.
Skating on the Avalanche's penalty kill, Mauldin was sprung on a two-on-one break. And after a pass from David Jones, Mauldin's high wrister completely fooled Columbus goalie Steve Mason.
"I couldn't have asked for a better goal to suit the kind of style I play," said Mauldin, who had about 45 text messages waiting for him when he returned to the locker room. "To beat the defenseman in a foot race, to beat the goalie high ... the emotions of it were unbelievable."
Mauldin's first NHL goal also came against the team that drafted him and gave him his first pro action in 2003, though he said that it didn't necessarily make the goal extra sweet.
"I really don't hold grudges," he said. "But it is nice to go back to the place where I started my career. Otherwise, I really don't know too many guys on that team anymore."
This NHL experience has been a far cry from his previous glimpse at the big time. After three productive seasons at UMass, Mauldin left school and played in six games with Columbus late in the 2003 season. But he admitted to being a bit overwhelmed and star-struck at the time, skating against superstars like Joe Sakic, Paul Kariya, Steve Yzerman and Teemu Selanne.
Mauldin didn't make his return until a one-game stint with the Islanders last year, following a good season with New York's AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. He then signed with the Avalanche in July and was assigned to Lake Erie.
"This is obviously the most exciting," Mauldin said. "Because at the beginning of the season, it's not like, 'Here, thanks for playing well.' They're calling me up and giving me the opportunity to shine."
Now, it's just a matter of fitting his game into Colorado's system. In the minors, Mauldin has always been a prolific scorer. He had 54 points for Bridgeport last year, and through 14 AHL games this year he was the Monsters' leading scorer with five goals and seven assists.
Playing in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, Mauldin is a fourth-liner among a sea of established talent. But he's slowly increased his playing time, going from nine minutes in his Avalanche debut to almost 14 against Dallas on Saturday.
"My game has always been focused around my skating ability and work ethic," he said. "Coming up and playing that fourth-line grinding role, it's not something that's a hard transition. The biggest factor is doing a lot of things right. I'm not here to take a lot of chances. I'm focused on (defense) and chip in when I get a chance."
Mauldin made his home this past summer in Milford and did plenty of skating at the New England Sports Center and NorthStar Forum with several of the area's other top pros, like Marlborough's Bobby Butler, Westborough's Jordan LaVallee and Milford's Ryan Ginand.
As for his brand-new apartment in Cleveland, Mauldin had been there two days before the promotion. He's hoping that unpacking can be put off just a little longer.
"As cliched as it may sound," he said, "I'm just taking it one day at a time."
Mauldin Makes Immediate Impact
Talk about making an immediate impact.
On just his seventh shift in an Avalanche uniform, forward Greg Mauldin scored a short-handed goal during the second period of Friday night's 5-1 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It was a sweet moment for Mauldin, who netted his first National Hockey League tally against the team with which he began his professional career. Mauldin was originally a seventh-round selection of the Blue Jackets in the 2003 Entry Draft.
Recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday in the wake of recent injuries to forwards T.J. Galiardi and David Van Der Gulik, Mauldin played on the Avalanche's fourth line during his debut alongside Philippe Dupuis and Cody McLeod. He also saw some time on the penalty kill, which is where he made his biggest contribution Friday night.
With Kevin Porter serving a two-minute penalty for interference, Mauldin found himself on a 2-on-1 rush with David Jones after Columbus forward Jakub Voracek missed the net with a shot and the puck circled hard around the boards and out of the zone. Jones was the first one to the loose puck, eventually threading a nice pass to Mauldin in the slot. From there, Mauldin beat Columbus netminder Steve Mason with a high wrister.
"I knew I was going to come in and play a fourth line role," said Mauldin. "I just wanted to come in and use my energy and speed as much as possible. If I contribute, I contribute, and it just so happens I was able to."
Avalanche fans may not be too familiar with Mauldin, who was signed as a free agent on July 2, 2010. The Boston native spent three years playing collegiately at UMass-Amherst before turning pro at the end of the 2003-04 campaign. That season, he made his NHL debut by playing in six games with Columbus.
However, he would go the next five seasons without playing in an NHL game, instead spending time in the AHL, UHL and Sweden.
During the 2009-10 campaign, Mauldin led the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers in scoring with 54 points (25g/29a) in 77 games and also saw one game of NHL action with the New York Islanders, suiting up for a late-season contest against Pittsburgh.
Looking for a better shot at perhaps spending more time in the NHL, Mauldin signed on with the Avalanche during the offseason and impressed Colorado's brass during training camp before being assigned to the Lake Erie Monsters.
With Lake Erie, Mauldin had served as the team's captain recently and was leading the club with 12 points (5g/7a) in 14 games before being recalled and netting his first NHL goal on Friday.
"It felt great. I always imagined what it would be like, and it didn't let me down," Mauldin said of his first goal. "I can't really describe it. I had to get back to the bench to calm down because I was so excited"
With the tally, he also became the fourth player Avalanche player to record his first NHL goal in the last five games. David Liffiton netted his first career goal on Oct. 30 against Columbus, David Van Der Gulik took his turn on Nov. 4 against Vancouver and Philippe Dupuis recorded his first tally (also short-handed) on Nov. 6 versus Dallas.
Mauldin's final stat line included a +1 plus/minus rating, two shots on goal and three hits in 9:06 of ice time.
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