Anton Khudobin just may be the Dallas Stars’ best offseason acquisition since Tyler Seguin. The canny veteran has solved the team’s longstanding backup-goaltending issues, stealing games on the regular during his first season in Victory Green.
But his talent as a netminder blossomed only after he stopped getting in his own way as a defenseman, writes Sean Shapiro. And it began with a junior coach blowing up at a 10-year-old Dobby:
“I came to the bench and my coach yelled, ‘Hey, do you want to be a goalie?’ He was mad,” Khudobin said. “Then I talked to my father and I said, ‘I think I want to be a goalie.’”
Khudobin later learned it was something his father, Valery, had already been thinking about before Anton came to that conclusion. Valery saw how his son was always around the puck and had a knack for getting in its way. Switching positions made sense.
The transition became a father-son project as the frustrating defenseman turned into a pretty good goaltender. Valery would often stay up late and watch NHL games while Anton slept. In the mornings he’d relay what he saw to his son, and would give him ideas for save techniques before practice.
As one-half of the NHL’s best statistical goalie pair (.924 SVG), he’s also a master of keeping things light – and making practice challenging:
“You have to have fun with your teammates. Even if it’s in a competition, it’s a healthy competition,” Khudobin said. “If we’re chirping each other or bagging each other, or whatever, trying to get under the skin in a good way. It’s related to the game. When I try to challenge them or they get pissed off, saying, ‘I’m going to bury the puck today,’ I think it’s a good thing.”...
“When you have a goalie that tries in practice and every day he makes it a good time and fun for the players, that’s great,” Jason Spezza said. “He doesn’t take anything too seriously, which really helps everyone … he’s a great guy, he’s a gamer when he plays and he’s really funny to be around when he’s not.”
There’s much more under the paywall, including a look at Khudobin’s new social-media stardom. [The Athletic DFW]
Dobby gets the start tonight against the Florida Panthers, as the Stars once again choose to be “careful” with Ben Bishop. Take note of the early start time – 6 p.m. Central time.
Ben Bishop is close to returning, but not quite there yet. Anton Khudobin will get his third straight start on Tuesday. https://t.co/i2qxmneyvJ— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 11, 2019
Jim Montgomery talked about tonight’s lineup changes in the latest practice update.
Former Stars goalie coach Mike Valley has written a new book for the rest of us.
I'm so inspired by the ambition and drive of my friend and goalie guru Mike Valley to become a better person. He just wrote a book that expands outside his comfort zone, which is so cool. Can't wait to read: https://t.co/o5SEhVsBXj pic.twitter.com/q6VtLNlIkC— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 11, 2019
Around The League(s)
It was all quiet on the Central front last night, but there are still headlines to contemplate:
What the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on with the Anaheim Ducks? Robert Flores and Mike Johnson discussed Bob Murray’s new coaching duties.
Milestones reached by Jumbo tonight:— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) February 12, 2019
- Passed Gordie Howe for sole possession of 9th on the NHL's all-time assist list
- Tied Teemu Selanne for 15th on NHL's all-time points list
- Passed S. Doan and J. Bucyk for sole possession of 15th on the NHL's all-time games played list pic.twitter.com/q8OPXkReXn
Ready for another fight about fighting in hockey? Jason Kay writes that fewer brawls mean – wait for it – fewer injuries in his latest All-Access read.
Fighting in the NHL hasn't gone the way of the dodo bird, but the number of combatants is on the decline and that's resulting in fewer trips to the infirmary.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) February 11, 2019
Read now with All-Access: https://t.co/sHuxDJJn4T
A devastating report on predatory coaches in Canadian junior sport points to “a chaotic hierarchy ... where no one has authority over anything,” says a government minister.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Meet Paul Kim – born in Korea, at home in Washington, owner of this awesome logo, and keeper of the flame for the USA’s first Stanley Cup champions. Enjoy.
From Seoul to Seattle as a child, Paul Kim learned to read English from a Seattle hockey history book. Ever since, it’s been his mission to revive the legacy of the @S_Metros. #ReturnToHockey— NHL Seattle (@NHLSeattle_) February 11, 2019
Read his fascinating story ➡️ https://t.co/BP0HSsfr9N
by @cotsonika; by @kticen. pic.twitter.com/hgAl5rIb8G