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.