Khudobin wants to finish season strong with the Bruins

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Khudobin wants to finish season strong with the Bruins

Anton Khudobin didnt want to talk about his plans for next season and beyond. Perhaps that is partially due to some of the statements hes made to Russian media outlets that he enjoyed the KHL so much that hell be returning to play there after the current 2013 NHL season.

But just as likely is this: the 26-year-old Khudobin is simply intent on keeping things focused on his first real chance to establish himself as an NHL-caliber goaltender. He bounced up and down from the AHL to the NHL when he was traveling through the Minnesota Wild organization, and he announced his Boston presence with authority last spring when he posted a 44-save shutout against the Senators in Ottawa.

But his entire body of NHL work consists of nine games, and Khudobin will easily double that output while splitting time with Tuukka Rask this season.

Its going to be like every goalie is going to try to be better than the other goalie. Im going to push him and hes going to push me, said Khudobin, who was 6-14-4 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average for Moscow Oblast Atlant in the KHL this season. Its a different style of hockey in the KHL in terms of games and practices.

Right now Im focused on finishing the season here and ending on a good note. After that we shall see.

Khudobin said he never considered simply staying in the KHL this season once the lockout was over, but there was no denial that might be the plan for next year and beyond. With young goaltenders in Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban fortifying their organizational depth between the pipes, the Bruins should have a ready answer for next season no matter what happens with Rask or Khudobin this time around.

But either Rask or Khudobin could step up and make a major statement about their budding NHL career stopping pucks, and will have approximately four months of hockey to do just that.

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

Blakely: Thomas isn't a starter, but new All-Star voting is an improvement

BOSTON – There’s certainly some disappointment among Celtics Nation that Isaiah Thomas just missed out on being an All-Star starter in the East.

But one thing we can certainly see with the new voting system … it works way better than the old way of choosing starters.

This was the first year that the NBA decided to allow current NBA players as well as a select panel of media choose who the starting five in the Eastern and Western Conferences would be.

The fan vote would count for 50 percent while media and players would each represent 25 percent of the final tally.

From there, the players would receive a fan ranking, a media ranking and a player ranking.

Because of the aforementioned breakdown – fans count for 50 percent while media and players represent 25 percent of the vote – the fan ranking would be counted twice while the media and player rankings would be counted once.

Let’s look at Isaiah Thomas’ situation which ultimately came down to him and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan for the final starting spot in the backcourt.

Thomas was fourth in the fan voting, second in the player voting and first among guards in the media voting. So when you add the fan voting (4 *2) + player voting (2 *1) + media voting (1*1), you get a total of 11 which is then divided by 4 to arrive at a score of 2.75.

Now let’s look at DeRozan.

He was third in the fan voting, third in the player ranking and second in the media voting among guards. So his score when you add the fan voting (3*2) + player voting (3*1) + media voting (2*1), you get a total of 11 which when divided by 4 brings you to a score of 2.75 – same as Thomas.

The tiebreaker was the fan vote which meant DeRozan and not Thomas, would get the starting nod in next month’s All-Star game.

As much as it may suck that Thomas lost out because of this system, he would not have had a shot at being a starter under the old system in which the fans were the ones to pick starters.

In fact, it would have been Chicago’s Dwyane Wade in the starting lineup under the old system.

No disrespect to D-Wade, but he has not had an All-Star worthy season. And had the old system been in place, he would be an all-star and thus take up a roster spot of another player who frankly, is more deserving.

And if you take a glance out West, they too would have had a starter who has not had an All-Star caliber season.

Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia finished second in the voting among Western Conference forwards, fueled in large part to his home country, Georgia, voting early and often for him. Because of the media and player voting, Pachulia wound up sixth among Western Conference big men which is still too high when you consider some of the players behind him – Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan – who are all having better seasons.

While no one would say this new system is perfect, considering how this year’s voting would have panned out under the old rules, this change by the league is a good one that should stick around.

NOTE: I was among the media panelists selected by the NBA to vote for this year’s All-Star starters. My selections in the East were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Kevin Love and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas in the backcourt. My Western Conference selections were Kevin Durant of Golden State, Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio in the frontcourt, with Houston’s James Harden and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in the backcourt.