Khudobin ready to go when called upon

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Khudobin ready to go when called upon

BOSTON -- Anton Khudobin had dinner with Evgeni Malkin last night with the Pittsburgh Penguins in town. The Bruins' new goalie might have hoped Tuesday nights tilt with the Pens would have been his first time facing his former World Junior teammate.

Instead Khudobin will dress and back up 36-year-old Marty Turco against the Penguins at TD Garden. But the Kazakhstan natives mere presence in Boston indicates that the Bruins are slipping into sleep mode with three games remaining in the season.

The former Minnesota Wild netminder has spent the entire season in Providence, and is happy to be up with the Bruins after slogging through the AHL season with hopes of making it to Boston in time for the playoffs.

It was expected Khudobin might get at least one of the last three starts in the regular season given that Turco wont be eligible for the playoffs in Boston, but instead Turco gets the nod against Pittsburgh. The good-natured Khudobin will wait his turn and hope that it comes against Ottawa or Buffalo.

Lets finish this game tonight and see what happens next, said Khudobin. Everything is good with my wrist. Everybody is good and Im ready to go. Malkin was my roommate at the World Junior championships in Vancouver, so maybe someday I get a chance to play against him. Ive never played against him.

Tim Thomas wont even dress for Tuesday nights game as he gets some much needed rest and relaxation after playing in 16 straight games through February and March. Claude Julien said theyre not shutting Tim Thomas down for the rest of the regular season, just resting him before the playoffs.

"We want to keep our game moving in the right direction," Julien said. "We have an opportunity to mix up our lineup a little bit and give some guys some rest. But at the same time we need the guys playing to be at their best.

The will has to be there for everybody, though. That cant take a break. Its a well-deserved rest for a lot of those guys. Weve had to overtax certain players because of injuries and certain situations. So hopefully we can give some of those guys a bit of a break.

The 25-year-old Khudobin could play a fairly important role for the Bruins given the questions surrounding the groinabdomen strain suffered by Tuukka Rask. His potential readiness as a backup to Tim Thomas will be important once the postseason opens for Boston on April 12.

We need to see where Tuukka is. If Tuukka isnt ready to come back then Anton needs to be ready, said Julien. Marty cant play in the playoffs. Its clear to us and its clear to him. Tuukka is making good progress, but where well be in a week-and-a-half I really dont know.

OFFSEASON

Hawks adding Howard could lead to Celtics signing Horford

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Hawks adding Howard could lead to Celtics signing Horford

BOSTON – It’s a toss-up as to which was celebrated more by Boston Celtics fans: Dwight Howard coming to terms with the Atlanta Hawks, or the fact that it significantly improves Boston’s chances of landing one of their top free agent targets Al Horford.

A league executive texted CSNNE.com that Howard being off the market and going to Atlanta, should make the Celtics the favorite to land Horford.

Acquiring Horford, a four-time all-star, would be the biggest free agent signing in the Danny Ainge era. Boston is scheduled to meet with Horford tonight and is expected to offer him a four-year, $113 million max contract.

But as much as the Celtics want Horford, their primary target remains Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant who may be more inclined to seriously consider Boston if they were to acquire Horford.

OFFSEASON

Turner: Ainge 'seemed confident' about Celtics chances of signing Horford

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Turner: Ainge 'seemed confident' about Celtics chances of signing Horford

After signing with the Blazers, Evan Turner has been making the rounds showering praise on the Celtics organization and fans. He also left a farewell gift for those excited about free agency: Turner told the Boston Globe that Danny Ainge “seemed confident” at the Celtics’ chances of signing free agent center Al Horford.

Previous reports indicated that the Celtics plan to make a max-contract offer to Horford when they meet him Friday night in Atlanta. The Rockets are the only other team that has reportedly met with the former Hawks All-Star, and Houston's situation isn’t nearly as attractive as Boston’s.

If the Celtics do manage to land Horford on Friday, they’d obviously be adding a former All-Star who’d immediately help the team on both ends of the floor. Immediately, though, Horford would give them another recruiter. Horford and Durant reportedly would like to play with each other, so having him enter the room might help their chances at luring Durant to Boston during Saturday's meeting.

As for Turner, he told the Globe that Ainge expressed he would like him back, but would've had to take a pay cut and a reduced role.

"I liked Boston a lot, bro. The organization, and it’s just a sports city and the city is super nice," Turner told the Globe. "If you put money and everything aside, I would play in Boston every single day of the week. Seeing all those Hall of Famers come back and everything, that’s a real franchise."

The Celtics will likely be saying singing a similar tune to both Horford and Durant this weekend.

After ‘tough month,’ Farrell understands speculation on his job status

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After ‘tough month,’ Farrell understands speculation on his job status

BOSTON - With the Red Sox reeling coming off a month in which they went 10-16 and dropped a handful of games in the standings, speculation has recently focused on John Farrell's job security.

Dave Dombrowski, the Red Sox' president of baseball operations, told reporters Thursday that Farrell's job status was not a focus and that the entire organization had to perform better. Dombrowski added that it's seldom that one person is responsible for a downturn in play.

"We've come off a tough month and finished a disappointing trip through Texas and Tampa,'' acknowledged Farrell when asked about the chatter regarding his job status. "I can understand the question and the potential speculation that's out there. But our expectation is to win and that doesn't change. The focus daily is that, is to go out and put together an effort to win.      

"My communication with Dave is very consistent. I think he's confident in my focus  and that's to win each and every day. That's where we stand. We're looking forward to  the opportunity to start this final homestand before the [All Star] break, so that gets underway tonight.''

Farrell was also asked about the dichotmy that existed between his own evaluation of David Price's outing Wednesday and Price's own estimation. 

Farrell said post-game that he believed Price "probably had his best stuff of the season, in terms of velocity and in terms of the shape of his secondary pitches.''

Price, who was in full self-flagellation mode, offered a slightly contradictory assessment.

"Changeup, that's probably the worst changeup I've had in a month,'' he said. "Curveball was awful. Can't get my cutter or my slider where I want to. I'm just bad right now.''

Farrell was questioned Friday about the seemingly contradictory analysis.

"The commentary was, here was a guy coming off an outing where he had best velocity he's shown all year -- up to 97 mph,'' said Farrell, "strikes out 10 over six-plus innings. He made some mistakes in the middle of the middle of the plate. But in terms of just raw stuff, I thought he showed a curveball that had much more consistent depth to it than in more recent starts.

So in terms of raw stuff, I thought it was one of his better outings of the year. The execution?

No, that wasn't as good as the game against San Francisco or the game against Seattle.

"Whether that's a differing opinion from someone else? That was just my view of the raw stuff.''

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam