|Anton Khudobin ready for Bruins to call his number||01.27.13 at 9:50 pm ET|
It’s been Tuukka Time all season for the Bruins, but Anton Khudobin‘s turn to man the pipes appears to be right around the corner.
Tuukka Rask has done an admirable job in starting the Bruins’ first four games to the tune of a 3-0-1 record with a 1.96 goals-against average and .925 save percentage, but with the B’s heading into a stretch of four games in six days (including back-to-back games Monday and Tuesday against the Hurricanes and Devils, respectively), the Bruins will call on Khudobin to provide Rask with a breather.
“I’m sure he’ll see some action at some point,” Claude Julien said Sunday, not specifying when the B’s plan to first use Khudobin. “With this amount of games, you’re going to have to utilize both goaltenders. We want him to get some action at some point as well, so it’s important for Tuukka to get some rest, but also to keep Anton sharp as well.”
Khudobin’s next start will be just his second with the Bruins, as he made 44 saves and allowed one goal last April 5 against the Senators in his Bruins debut. Since then, the 26-year-old has played in the KHL during the lockout, putting up subpar numbers (6-14-4 record, 2.96 GAA, .912 save percentage) on a subpar Moscow Oblast Atlant team.
Though he got plenty of work in the KHL, Khudobin’s had to make the most of his time during practice since the NHL season started. He knows that he figures to get into a good number of games for the Bruins this season given the compressed schedule, so he said he has no choice but to buckle down between games.
“Just go there and stop some shots,” Khudobin said of utilizing practice time. “Work on my weaknesses and try to get myself ready for the game.”
Said Julien: “He’s been no different than anybody else. He’s gone in there and worked hard. There’s no difference in my mind as far as his practice compared to anybody else. He’s been working hard and we’ve been pleased with that.”
Unlike the last few years of the Tim Thomas/Rask tandem, this season presents a campaign of having a clearly defined No. 1 goalie with a more traditional backup. The former Wild seventh-round pick has played in seven career NHL games between the Wild and the Bruins, making five starts and going 5-1-0 with a 1.32 GAA and .961 save percentage. He is in the final year of his deal with the Bruins and will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, at which point he may consider a return to the KHL.
Khudobin has insisted that despite expressing an interest in potentially changing leagues at the end of the season, his focus is solely on the Bruins. He feels that rust won’t be a problem when he makes his season debut, and his teammates are confident in what he brings.
“He’s a good goalie,” David Krejci said, adding, “He played well in the KHL this year, so he’s got some games. I don’t know when he’s going to be playing, but it’s not like he’s going to go in for the first in a long time. He’s been playing some games. He’s played well. So far what I’ve seen in practice is he competes hard. Hopefully when he gets the chance he’s going to take it.”
|Anton Khudobin: Focus is on Bruins, not KHL||01.11.13 at 11:17 am ET|
WILMINGTON — After skating with teammates for the first time since returning from Russia, Bruins backup goaltender Anton Khudobin said that despite recently saying he was interested in playing in the KHL next season, his focus is on the Bruins.
Khudobin, who played for Moscow Atlant of the KHL during the lockout, told Russian media outlet R-Sport that he will consider going back to the KHL when his deal with the Bruins ends after the upcoming season. He insisted Friday that he won’t let his upcoming choice distract him.
“I’m focused right now on this season here,” Khudobin said. “I’m not focused on anything else. We’ll see what’s going to happen after the season. It’s just normal. I’m in the last year of my contract, and you never know what’s going to be. Right now I’m just focused on this season and I want to get ready to play here.”
Khudobin, 26, said that he had previously been interested in playing in the KHL and that his experience during the lockout has helped him understand what playing in the league full-time would be like.
“It was a good experience,” he said. “I was thinking about [playing in] the KHL [in previous years], but I didn’t have a chance to play there. Now I’ve played and I know what to expect there.”
While Tuukka Rask is set to be the B’s No. 1 goaltender this year, a tightly compressed schedule of 48 games in a shorter period of time will mean that Khudobin will still likely get a lot of games this season.
“That’s the good thing for me,” Khudobin said. “It’s going to be lots of games and I have a good chance to play more than I would have in a full season. It’s going to be lots of games.”
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|David Krejci, Anton Khudobin return||at 9:31 am ET|
WILMINGTON — David Krejci and Anton Khudobin were in town and skating with Bruins teammates Friday morning, leaving Dougie Hamilton as the only member of the projected opening-night roster not not practicing with the team this week. Hamilton can’t technically make the leap to the NHL until the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified Saturday. Tyler Seguin, who has been skating with fellow Bruins since returning from Switzerland, was absent Friday, as was Johnny Boychuk.
Krejci played for Pardubice HC of the Czech Extraliga during the lockout, scoring 16 goals and adding 11 assists in 24 games. Khudobin played in the KHL and said recently that he would consider going back after his contract with the Bruins expires.
|Anton Khudobin would consider going back to KHL next season||01.10.13 at 5:47 pm ET|
According to R-Sport, Khudobin, who is under contract with the B’s through the season, has enjoyed playing for Moscow Atlant during the lockout so much that he told the Russian media outlet that he would consider making a full-time move to the KHL after he finishes this season with Boston.
Here’s what Khudobin said, and pardon the translation:
“In the summer my contract with Boston finishes, and the choice of which league to play is going to be a serious dilemma. I could definitely turn up in the KHL, why not?
“Here you get really good hockey, it’s a really decent league. The KHL is taking confident steps forward, and that’s something that’s really pleasing.”
Khudobin has yet to make an appearance with his Bruins teammates as they hold informal practices leading up to training camp. David Krejci and Dougie Hamilton are the only other two Bruins not yet skating with them (Hamilton can’t yet, as he can’t jump to the NHL until the players ratify the new collective bargaining agreement).
The Kazakh-born Khudobin figures to be Tuukka Rask‘s backup this season. He allowed one goal in his only game last season for the B’s, a 3-1 victory over the Senators on April 5.
|Claude Julien addresses the Tim Thomas situation||07.24.12 at 3:08 pm ET|
In an offseason that’s seen minimal roster turnover, the Bruins’ biggest change of the summer was the subtraction of Tim Thomas, who will sit out the next season to focus on fiends, family and faith.
Speaking at the press conference to announce his contract extension, Claude Julien talked about what the Bruins will be like without the two-time Vezina-winner and said he thinks the Bruins can handle it.
“We lost a guy by the name of Marc Savard who led our team in scoring every year and we were able to adapt,” Julien said. “I see that as a same kind of a challenge. There’s no doubt, nobody’s going to deny what Tim’s done here for our hockey club over the years but we’ve mentioned that Tuukka [Rask] is a very capable goaltender. He’s got his opportunity to showcase that this year and I think when I saw [Anton] Khudobin play, whether it was training camp or whether it was when he was with us that game in Ottawa, practice, you can see a goaltender who has not only improved but has matured.
“I honestly have a lot of confidence in our goaltending and, obviously, we drafted, we’ve signed a few goaltenders as well. I think our depth is there. I don’t really see that as an issue. And that’s because I have the confidence in what I have in front of me right now.”
The most games Rask, who will become the No. 1 goaltender, has started in his career is 39 back in 2009-10. It will be interesting to see how he handles being a true No. 1 with a traditional backup in Khudobin after years of splitting time with Thomas. Rask’s certainly got a lot to play for, as he’s on a one-year deal that can land him a huge payday should he pick up where Thomas left off.
|Anton Khudobin shines vs. Senators||04.05.12 at 10:05 pm ET|
The Bruins didn’t have all their stars on the ice, but they still beat the team they are likely to face when the playoffs begin next Thursday. Led by goaltender Anton Khudobin, the B’s defeated the Senators, 3-1, in Ottawa on Thursday night.
Khudobin made 44 saves, allowing only a Jason Spezza goal in the second period. The Bruins jumped out to a two-goal lead on tallies from Benoit Pouliot and Greg Zanon before Spezza made it a one-goal game in the second period. Milan Lucic gave the B’s some insurance by scoring his 26th goal of the season in the third period.
Ben Bishop took the loss for Ottawa, allowing three goals on 27 shots.
The Bruins were playing without Tim Thomas, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Johnny Boychuk, all of whom did not make the trip to Ottawa. The B’s will wrap up the regular season Saturday against the Sabres.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE BRUINS
– The chances that he could play in the postseason are slim, but it was a very encouraging sign for the Bruins to see Khudobin turn in a plus showing. Tuukka Rask has been skating since Monday, but if he isn’t ready for the playoffs, Khudobin will have to be Thomas’ backup. Khudobin last played in the NHL two seasons ago, and in his career he now has played seven games at the NHL level.
– Though he wasn’t directly responsible for them, Erik Karlsson was on the ice for all three of the Bruins’ goals. Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen with 78 points this season, but he might have a hard time beating Shea Weber or Chara for the Norris this year. Karlsson is a great player, but is he a great defenseman?
– Zanon’s goal was his first tally since joining the Bruins in a Feb. 27 trade. It was also his second point as a member of the B’s. Zanon put a shot on net from the point in hopes that it could get redirected past Bishop, but he put enough on it to beat the Senators’ goalie unencumbered.
Zanon was also credited with a game-high nine blocked shots, all of which came in the first two periods.
– The Bruins improved to 38-0-0 in games in which they held a two-goal lead at any point.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE BRUINS
– Adam McQuaid left the game in the second period and did not return. The Bruins issued no update on McQuaid during the game aside from saying that the defenseman was “doubtful” to return. He did not.
|What will Anton Khudobin’s role with the Bruins be?||04.03.12 at 12:58 pm ET|
Anton Khudobin has been through the playoffs with the Bruins before, but after being called up by the team Monday, the possibility exists that he could actually dress this time.
Khudobin (pronounced hoo-DOE-bin) served as one of Boston’s black aces, or practice players, for the postseason last year. He was on the ice with them both in practice and after Game 7 in Vancouver, hoisting the Stanley Cup with the other Bruins and black aces.
“It was good for experience,” Khudobin said. “How you prepare before the games, especially in the playoffs. Playoffs is a big hard run, so just how to get ready before the game and be helpful all the time, be with energy all the time and be focused in the game, every game, every shift, every minute.”
Given the uncertainty of Tuukka Rask‘s situation, Khudobin could actually be on the team’s roster when the playoffs open next Thursday. Rask is still recovering from an abdomen strain/groin strain, and though he is expected to begin skating this week, he might not be ready for the start of the postseason. Marty Turco cannot be on the playoff roster because he was signed after the trade deadline.
“We’ve got to see where Tuukka is” Claude Julien said Tuesday of whether Khudobin will dress in the playoffs. “If Tuukka isn’t ready, then Anton’s got to be ready because Marty can’t play in the playoffs. That’s clear to us, that’s clear to him and the way Tuukka’s going right now, he’s heading in the right direction. Where are going to be in a week and a half from now? I really don’t know.”
Said Khudobin: “Right now, it’s not a question for that. Tuukka maybe is getting ready to play, maybe not. I’m going to do my job right now, practicing every day. Today I had practice, game, tomorrow [another] practice. I’m just living every day.”
The 25-year-old Khudobin has six games of NHL experience, all of which came over the last two seasons as a member of the Wild. In 44 games with Providence this season, he has a 21-19-3 record with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
At the time of Rask’s injury, Khudobin was out with a wrist injury he suffered on Feb. 25 while shooting in a game against Bridgeport. The injury likely played a part in the B’s having to sign Turco, but Khudobin expressed no frustration that his injury likely cost him some time at the NHL level.
“Sometimes it happens in hockey,” he said. “[Maybe they would have] called me up, but I was hurt too. I just tried to keep moving forward, and finally the time to come up was yesterday.”
Since returning to action on March 23, Khudobin has played in four games for Providence, compiling a 2-2-0 record while allowing 11 goals.
“I’m feeling pretty well. I’m feeling pretty good. I’ve played four games [since] and I feel ready to go,” Khudobin said, adding that he is ready to practice “100 percent.”
One interesting note that Khudobin brought up is that his callups over the years have often come before games against the Penguins. A good friend of Penguins star and former World Juniors Evgeni Malkin, Khudobin caught up with Malkin over dinner Monday night. While he has often been called up for games against the Penguins, Khudobin says he still hasn’t played against the Russian forward yet.
“This is the funny part. I never played against him,” Khudobin said of Malkin, who is second in the NHL with 48 goals this season. “I don’t know, hopefully — maybe some time I will get a chance to play against him.”
That chance will not come Tuesday unless Turco, who is getting the start, falters. Khudobin will serve as the backup, while Tim Thomas will not dress.