Khudobin strong in winning effort for Bruins

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Khudobin strong in winning effort for Bruins

RALEIGH, NC As far as season debuts go, it was a performance worthy of Kazakhstans No. 1 goaltender.

Anton Khudobin didnt soar off to the best of starts when he was slapped with a delay of game penalty for stepping outside the trapezoid to play a loose puck 90 seconds into the game.

After that Khudobin did everything in his power as a puck-stopper to support the Bruins in a position to win.

The 26-year-old netminder didnt let in a single bad goal in the Bruins 5-3 win over the Hurricanes at PNC Arena, and executed all the saves in the first two periods when the Carolina skaters were exerting heavy pressure in the Boston zone. Each of the three goals allowed came after a defensive breakdown in front of him or a careless turnover that led to immediate offensive chances.

In either instance it was the skaters in front of him that shouldered the blame for goals scored by Jamie McBain, Jeff Skinner and Eric Staal. Khudobin said he felt completely comfortable after a few flurries early in the seesaw game. In the end it helped him make 29 saves on the evening and ensure that the Bruins goaltending tandem is off to a very impressive beginning.

I felt comfortable after getting a couple of the shots there in the first period. Then you get into a mindset where you stop one, and then you stop the next one, said Khudobin. Its always good. It was a good win and its always good to win.

Its always about the W first and then the stats after that. Of course stats are always good too to help you move on, but Im just happy to get the win.

Khudobins best save probably came in the first period when Jiri Tlusty found a cutting Jamie McBain on a backdoor play during one of Carolinas five power plays. But the Bs goaltender pushed from post-to-post while squaring up for a shot that ultimately caught him in the chest.

That was a pretty good shot, said Khudobin. But making that save gives you confidence and gives your teammates confidence.

He snagged a long Eric Staal shot from the high point with a confident glove in the second period, and backstopped a Bruins penalty kill that went a perfect five-for-five on the evening. Claude Julien lauded the work of the young goaltender in only his second career appearance with the Bruins, which was all the more impressive after sitting and watching Tuukka Rask over the first nine days of the season.

Dobbie made some good saves, but we also had some very good penalty kill work, said Claude Julie. He was poised. I thought he did a great job. For me hes a guy that you watch in practice and you watch in the games, and hes two different guys. He was like that last year. Some guys are like that: game goaltenders rather than practice goaltenders.

He seemed focused and ready this morning. He was excited about playing, and they knew it was his first start so they were throwing everything at him. But he faced the shots and did a great job.

Most impressive of all: Khudobin is now 6-1 in eight career NHL appearances with a goals against average hovering around 1.25 and a .962 save percentage that scream out NHL-caliber goalie.

Its only been one game, but it looks like the Bruins are going to be in good hands for the 15-18 games the No. 1 goaltender of Kazakhstan will play for the Black and Gold in a season where backup goaltenders could play an extremely vital role.

Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

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Bruins coaches: Czarnik a ‘Belichick-type hockey player’

BOSTON – Austin Czarnik is off to a good start at Bruins training camp.

He’s got points in each of the first two exhibition games and just the fact that he’s cracked the B’s lineup in both games tells you that the coaching staff wants to get a long, good look at the undersized forward.

But the 5-foot-9, 167-pound Czarnik brings more than simply a touch of the Napoleon complex after always being told that he was too small to make it to the elite levels of hockey. The 23-year-old clearly can score after posting 20 goals and 61 points in his first pro season in the AHL in Providence last season. He plays with heart, energy and a dogged determination when he’s hunting pucks on the fore-check.

But former P-Bruins head coach and current B’s assistant coach Bruce Cassidy says that Czarnik also brings something a little extra that New England Patriots fans will certainly appreciate.

“As far as being a player goes, he would be, to me, that [Bill] Belichick-type player that you could use in a lot of different situations,” said Cassidy, in clear reference to intelligent utility guys Troy Brown, Danny Woodhead, Julian Edelman and others that all filled different roles in their time with New England.

“He’s got a very, very high IQ, he’s a quick learner and very coachable,” Cassidy said. “So, he’s a guy you can move around, and he can play with different players. He can play on the penalty kill, he’s good on the power play and especially on the point.

“So there are a lot of different things. I think from night-to-night if you wanted to, you could move him around in your lineup and he could be effective for you. I know he’s a center, but it would be interesting to see if he could play the wing and be effective. That’s something we haven’t really seen. Is that something we maybe attempt down the road? I don’t know. I don’t want to speak out of turn, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he could handle it. He even played for us 6-on-5 as a defenseman with the goalie out. He’s just a smart player, and he understands the game very, very well.”

So, Czarnik is off to a good start in training camp with the Bruins, but we also saw the same thing from him last year as a rookie to pro hockey. 

Now, it’s about seeing whether a smaller player can finish strong as the competition heightens deeper into the preseason, and perhaps he can bring that versatility and feistiness to the NHL level in Boston. 

 

 

Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

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Thursday, Sept. 29: Oilers right where they belong

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while looking forward to watching the Luke Cage Netflix series.

*The Cult of Hockey has no issues with yours truly ranking the Edmonton Oilers 29th out of 30 teams in my first preseason NHL power rankings.

*An interesting piece about Brian McGrattan and his battle with alcohol in his career as an NHL tough guy. I can honestly say having covered him a bit when he was in the Bruins organization that he was one of the scariest dudes I’ve ever talked to in an NHL dressing room. A nice guy, but very intense and always looked like he definitely enjoyed his work on the ice.

*Dennis Seidenberg hopped on with the Hockey Central crew today to talk about his new contract with the New York Islanders.

*PHT writer and Friend of Haggs (FOH) Mike Halford has Guy Boucher with some serious Dion Phaneuf love going on in Ottawa.

*Jack Eichel is oozing confidence and swagger in his second NHL season with Buffalo looking to make a big step up this season.

*Scott Burnside said that the World Cup of Hockey could be coming to an end tonight and I think most predict that it will with a little bit of an anticlimactic thud due to the sheer awesomeness of Team Canada.

*For something completely different: “Aleppo Moment” sounds like a great name for a rock band. Not so much for a Presidential candidate.