Tag Archives: Anton Khudobin

Khudobin Sent Back To Houston; Last Night Notes

The Minnesota Wild stayed in Calgary last night after a 6-0 thumping of the Flames and used today as a travel day to San Jose. The club won’t practice until tomorrow at HP Pavilion, in preparation for another big game against the 10th place San Jose Sharks. I bet there haven’t been many times that the Sharks have been looking up at the Wild at this point in the season.

One player who did not accompany the team was Anton Khudobin. The goaltender was sent to Houston today after posting a 2-1-0 record in three starts and four appearances. He posted a 1.59 goals against average (GAA) and a .942 save percentage (SV%). In his NHL career, Khudobin is now 4-1-0 with a 1.40 GAA and a .955%.

We won’t know until later if this move was made because 1) Jose Theodore is with the team and ready to return to the lineup, or 2) with two days off, the Wild can take Khudobin off the roster until Saturday. I would have to think Theodore is ready to return by Saturday and we won’t see Khudobin unless we see another goaltending injury.

Let’s hope not, although I will miss Khudobin’s angel mask, his acrobatics and most of all, his postgame interviews.

As for last night, there were a slew of interesting team notes like:

13 road wins equals the Wild’s total for all of last season.

Wild penalty kill is 32 for 34 last 11 games overall, and 33 for 35 last 11 in Calgary.

Wild 5-1-0 last 6 games at CGY (all under Richards) after going 3-18-4 first 25 games here

After not winning more than three games against the Flames in any of first eight seasons, the Wild finish the last two seasons 9-2-1 against Calgary.

The 6-0 win tied for the franchise record for largest margin of victory (4th 6-0 win in team history) and largest margin of victory since a 6-0 win vs. Vancouver (10/12/05).

And here are some individual player notes from the game:

Clayton Stoner established a career-high +3 rating.

Greg Zanon set a season-high with a +3 rating which also ties a career-high set two other times.

Matt Cullen is on a three-game point streak (2-3=5), his longest since Oct. 14-21 (four games).

John Madden tied a season-high with two points and a +2 rating.

Chuck Kobasew tied season-highs with two points and a +2 rating.

Andrew Brunette is on a four-game point streak (3-2=5), which ties a season-high.

Kyle Brodziak set new career-highs with three assists and tied a season best with a +3 rating.

Cal Clutterbuck set a career-high with a +3 rating in his 200th NHL game.

Martin Havlat tied season-highs with three points (2-1=3) and a +3 rating.

Jared Spurgeon logged a career-high 17:38 of ice time.

Niklas Backstrom’s 37 saves are his highest total in any of his 21 career shutouts.

Khudobin Gets Another Start; Kuemper is WHL Player of the Week

Fresh off his first NHL shutout, Anton Khudobin will make his third consecutive start and his first career road start tonight in Edmonton. No matter the outcome, it could be the last time we see Khudobin for awhile. Niklas Backstrom is expected to return to the crease tomorrow night against Calgary, and Jose Theodore made the trip and could return in the near future.

The Wild has 37 games left in the season, and I imagine all will be labeled “huge” from here on out. But tonight’s game feels even bigger than the last two against Colorado and Vancouver, who are actually in playoff contention.

The Oilers pose a dangerous threat despite being the only Western Conference team that is pretty much ruled out of playoff contention. Coming off a five-game roadie, the Oilers will certainly get a boost from the home crowd and they’ve got plenty of young players that are playing well. Highly-touted rookie Taylor Hall (14 goals, 27 points) is currently on a line with Dustin Penner (14 goals, 29 points) and Ales Hemsky (nine goals, 20 assists). That’s a dangerous line.

The Oilers won’t have another top rookie, Jordan Eberle, who is out with an ankle injury, as is top defenseman Ryan Whitney. Shawn Horcoff, Edmonton’s top scorer against Minnesota, is not yet ready to return from a knee injury.

Despite the injuries, the Wild will want to take these guys very seriously. The Oilers scare me. I still predict a Wild win, and I’ve been right on my predictions the last five out of eight times. Not too shabby.

Speaking of not too shabby, let me talk briefly about Wild goaltending prospect, Darcy Kuemper. This guy is enjoying an absolutely ridiculous season in the Western Hockey League, which is typically known for offense. Kuemper was named the League’s Player of the Week last week after going 3-0-0 with two shutouts and one total goal allowed on 86 shots. That’s a 0.32 goals against average and a .988 save percentage.

This wasn’t the case of Kuemper getting hot, either. He’s been sizzling all season long. He leads every single goaltending category in the WHL including wins (28), goals against average (1.80), save percentage (.933) and shutouts.

It’s pretty clear the future of Wild goaltending looks bright. Matt Hackett has looked like the real deal in his first professional season in Houston. The Wild expects big things from German keeper Dennis Endras, and of course there’s last year’s draft pick, Johan Gustafsson. But nobody has had the kind of year that Kuemper is having.

Khudobin Gets The Start; Hackett Will Back Up

The Minnesota Wild’s goaltending tandem tonight will have one combined NHL start. That one start was Anton Khudobin’s brilliant performance in a 2-1 win over Philadelphia on February 6, 2010. He’ll finally get the chance at start number two tonight against Colorado with 20-year-old Matt Hackett as his backup.

Jose Theodore was officially ruled out for tonight, and Head Coach Todd Richards could not say whether or not Theo would be available on Sunday against Vancouver. He did say that Niklas Backstrom skated on his own today and felt great. There is some optimism that he’ll be ready for the team’s road trip that starts on Tuesday in Edmonton.

Jared Spurgeon will get back in the lineup tonight after a recall from Houston this morning. Cam Barker will come out of the lineup. Barker was brilliant in the most recent Wild win in Pittsburgh, where he and Marco Scandella were a +4. But in the last two games, they were a combined -6.

Patrick O’Sullivan cleared waivers today and has been assigned to the Houston Aeros.

It should be a fun atmosphere tonight, as most weekend night games usually are. But this one gets some extra juice because of the words exchanged between these two clubs in the media after the last meeting. Plus, there’s something about a Khudobin start that gets me extra excited. The guy was out of his mind against Philadelphia last year, and it was especially impressive because not many people were feeling good about a kid making his NHL debut in a must-win game against Philadelphia. Next to the Chicago comeback, I think it was the most entertaining game of last season.

The 8,000,000th fan in Wild history is also expected to stroll through the gates tonight. Scoop up your tickets now while you still have a chance.

O’Sullivan On Waivers; Khudobin Likely Starter

It seems like a long time since the Minnesota Wild has held a normal practice at Xcel Energy Center, which may explain why there was a fairly large media contingent at today’s practice.

Fortunately for all the media bottom feeders, there was plenty of news coming out of the scrum with Todd Richards, who was sporting a Team Canada hat after losing a bet with Equipment Manager Tony Dacosta on who would win the World Junior semifinal between the United States and Canada. We all missed out, however. If the U.S. had won, Tony would have had to put on red, white and blue face paint. Let’s hope the same bet is made next year.

First off, Patrick O’Sullivan was placed on waivers today and did not practice. There’s no word on what will happen to O’Sullivan if he clears, but it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be in a Wild uniform again.

“Consistency,” said Richards. “He can do some good things with the puck in the hard areas, but we need more of that on a consistent basis.”

Richards later pointed out that the Wild claimed O’Sullivan when there were still questions about if and when Pierre-Marc Bouchard would get into the lineup. Now that Bouchard is back and healthy, the Wild didn’t need two of the same type of wingers. The team already has playmakers on the wing like Andrew Brunette, Martin Havlat and Bouchard. “We need something different,” said Richards.

Jose Theodore also did not practice today due to a sore hip. Richards said he saw the doctor yesterday and they’ll wait to see how he feels tomorrow prior to a huge matchup with the eighth place Colorado Avalanche.

“More than likely, Khudobin will get the start and we’ll see if Theodore can back him up,” said Richards.

It sounds like the Wild will call up Matt Hackett from Houston as a precaution. But that would be the only move, at least for now. Richards is satisfied with going with the 12 healthy forwards and six defensemen currently at his disposal.

Finally, there will be a feature story on Wild.com in the next hour or so about the intensity of the rivalry between the Avs and Wild, which was ratcheted up after the last meeting. After some chippy play, Cal Clutterbuck lashed out with some pointed comments about two Avs players, and then saw a Denver beat writer call him a “coward” in a blog post.

As silly as that was, give credit to that beat writer who showed up to today’s morning skate and had a long talk with Clutterbuck about his game, and many other things. As always, Cal was more than happy to talk and had some gems.

He was talking about how his reputation as a “dirty” player is unwarranted because he gets called for so few penalties, and almost no boarding, charging or checking from behind calls. I asked him if he’d ever been called for a head shot and he said, “I got one my first year in Vancouver, but it was on (Alexandre) Burrows, so we’ll forget about that one. It’s a wash.”

He said he won’t be surprised if Avalanche players target him, “but what else is new?”

That about does it.


Harding Has Torn ACL/MCL

The somber news out of Xcel Energy Center this morning is that Josh Harding tore his ACL/MCL in last night’s collision with Brad Boyes. The injury will require surgery, and there is no timetable for his return, but he’ll likely miss the entire season.

It’s terrible news for Harding, who worked vigorously this summer to rehab from offseason hip surgery. Harding was shocked and devastated by the injury, but is not ready to say he won’t return this season. He said he will work with the trainers to attempt a comeback as soon as possible.

It’s also bad news for the Wild, who expected to have one of the best goaltending tandems in the NHL with Harding backing up Nik Backstrom.

How big is the re-signing of Anton Khudobin now? The news of Khudobin’s new contract was completely overshadowed when Mikko Koivu re-signed his long-term extension the same day. Now, Khudobin figures to be the backup, with Matt Hackett and Josh Tordjman sharing duties in Houston.