Every player on every line has so far stepped up and pushed through the many injuries that have plagued this team so far this season. For once in a very long time, this Bruins team has major depth on the bench. One of the biggest surprises this season for the Bruins is their newly found tenacity amongst personnel. For one particular player, this year has proven to be his shining moment. Enter Anton Khudobin, Russia’s import to the Boston Bruins.
ENTER THE DOBINATOR
Despite the loss on Tuesday night, Anton Khudobin has been on fire lately. Up until Tuesday’s game, Khudobin has not lost in regulation and is currently boasting a .924 save percentage (eighth on the leaderboard). The 31 year old Kazakhstan goalie has also done something equally impressive: giving competition to the Bruins’ number one goalie, Tuukka Rask. By mid-November, Boston started to get their team healthy again. Anton Khudobin was given the chance to finally play between the pipes. The Bruins enjoyed a four game winning streak and with Khudobin in net helped bolster the confidence of team. As for the fans, they got to see a goalie who was excited to play some good hockey. It was hard not to to notice how Anton’s energetic enthusiasm translated in his style of play. As Coach Bruce Cassidy puts it:
“Doby is always going to have a bit of energy, for lack of a better word, in there and more movement than most. You know, he’s not your typical technically robotic goaltender…”
For Tuukka Rask, watching Khudobin play those games has earned top praise from the Bruins goalie early on in the season, especially when Rask was struggling early on.
“Doby played a heck of a game. The results have been there. I haven’t been able to get wins in the past three starts. So it’s understandable. Obviously, we look at every game whether it’s a win or loss and take the positives and learn from the negatives.”
For a young Anton Khudobin, playing hockey was always the one thing he wanted to do. Playing for the home town team, the coach decided to move to a different city, far from Kazakhstan where the Khudobin’s lived. This meant leaving their life, giving up everything so that their son could play. Khudobin played for the Russian National team which beat the United States in the final. For the young goalie, the dream of playing in the NHL soon came true. After being drafted to the Minnesota Wild and playing for a Canadian Junior team, he came to Bruins in 2011. He became a free agent and ended up playing for the Hurricanes and the Ducks before returning to Boston.
With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, there’s a question on whether or not the Bruins resign Khudobin. No matter what happens, there’s no question about Anton’s love for playing and winning at the sport.
“The ‘W’ is always great. No matter what the score, whether it’s 8-6 or 9-7. If you win then you win. Nobody talks about losers. Everybody talks about winners, right?” … if you win, then you’re on the horse, and if you don’t then you’re under it. It’s great to get one …and so now hopefully it’s not going to roll like it did last year.”
Gear up Anton, you may get a cup soon enough.
Follow Liz Rizzo on Twitter @pastagrl88