Boston Bruins

NHL Notes: Khudobin can't mask excitement over return to Bruins

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NHL Notes: Khudobin can't mask excitement over return to Bruins

One of the hidden bonuses of welcoming backup goaltender Anton Khudobin back into the Bruins fold this season is the unmitigated joy the affable netminder takes to his day-to-day life in the NHL.

It’s tough to tell just how joyful last season was for the 30-year-old goalie when he spent most of his year riding AHL buses with the San Diego Gulls, but Khudobin has been all smiles, jokes and warm sentiment since arriving back in Boston last month after spending three seasons away following a stint with the B’s organization in the middle of the Stanley Cup Era.

“When I got [to Boston] I couldn’t believe [it was] three years gone,” said Khudobin with a big smile. “It’s an awesome feeling.”

So, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise when Khudobin put on a show-and-tell production for assorted Bruins media members last week while showcasing his new goalie mask, custom constructed by Pro’s Choice and painted by Sylabrush out of Montreal.

The mask features the growling bear common to the Bruins goalie masks, and has a giant “DOBBY” emblazoned in big letters at the bottom front of the mask. It also has a feature that only one other goaltender in the NHL (Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy) can boast this season: a sub-zero paint job that changes colors in temperature when Khudobin hops from the warm dressing room to the cold, frozen sheet. Khudobin demonstrated the mask in the Bruins dressing room at Warrior Ice Arena this past week, and showed the formerly white portions of the mask, at the chin and the top of the head, turned jet black once he poured cold water over the mask.

Pretty cool video of Anton Khudobin's new "Sub-zero" mask from @sylabrush that changes color going from hot to cold

A post shared by Joe Haggerty (@hackswithhaggs) on

Khudobin actually didn’t even know about the state-of-the-art feature until Sylabrush co-founder Sylvie Marsolais filled him in just prior to his demonstration last week, but he loved it. Then it turned into goalie science experiment time with Mr. Khudobin.

“We've been working with Anton for the past four years and he gave us what he wanted, which was Dobby on the chin, matte and glossy finish combined with his Russian phoenix on the back plate. For the rest, we had freedom to do what we wanted,” said Marsolais. “We looked at all the Bruins logos, and we decided to go with the vintage one with the bear on the forehead with a matte finish. 

“Still in matte finish the Bruins ‘B’ logo and the ‘DOBBY’ nickname was incorporated on the chin to add another logo and a more creative feel to it. On the sides we decided to go with what we do best, portraits and realistic [touches]. On the right side we wanted to put what fans see when they go to see a Bruins game: the TD Garden and the Zakim Bridge in a glossy finish to have a contrast.  For the left side we wanted to make a realistic mean bear with a glossy finish to make it stand out in a 3-D feel. Anton wasn't aware of this special paint til a couple days ago! It's just to add something more to the design. We are artists, so we always want to innovate and create. When we showed him the video, he said ‘Wow, awesome!’

There’s no competitive advantage to the sub-zero paint changing colors, but everybody in hockey circles knows the glowing pride any goaltender worth their pads takes in the paint job on their masks. So now the Russian netminder has two distinctive things that separate him from nearly all of the other puck-stoppers in the league: the sub-zero changing paint job that turns dark and dangerous when he takes the ice, and the nine-karat gold-plated cage on his mask that only Khudobin and Tuukka Rask boast amid the 60-plus NHL goalies currently doing business.

Now, if both Rask and Khudobin can play as well as they look on the ice, then the Bruins are going to be in very good shape for the balance of this season as they were in 2012-13 with this exact same goalie tandem.

ONE-TIMERS

*While a ton of attention has been paid to Jacob Trouba and his contract situation in Winnipeg when it comes to Boston’s never-ending search for a top-four, puck-moving defenseman, don’t sleep on the developing situation with the Anaheim Ducks. 

They have roughly $7 million in cap space and a pair of unsigned restricted free agents in Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm with the regular season less than a week away. It certainly could have been worse had they failed to sign Sami Vatanen around July 1, but the expectation is they’re going to need to deal 24-year-old puck-mover Cam Fowler and his $4 million cap hit prior to the season, or more likely early in the season to ease some of the cap gridlock on their roster. 

While Fowler clearly isn’t in the class of P.K. Subban or even Adam Larsson, it will be interesting if Bruins GM Don Sweeney can engineer a player-for-player hockey trade with the Ducks with a lower-priced, younger forward going back to Anaheim in return for Fowler.

That’s the kind of player that is definitely on the Bruins radar and the likelihood is much greater of him getting moved before any GM approaches the ransom Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is looking for in dealing away Trouba. If I were a betting man, I’d expect the Bruins to start the season with their current group of D-men and make some evaluations in the early going, with changes coming quickly if they don’t like what they see.

*The Master of Understatement Brad Marchand had the quote of the week when describing his World Cup experience after dominating en route to the championship. He led all players with five goals scored in six games and also signing a big-money, eight-year contract extension with the Bruins in the middle of it, as well: “It went pretty well, I think.” Yes. You could definitely say that, Brad.

*Of the nine multi-point scorers in this preseason for the Bruins, a whopping seven of them are under the age of 24 (Ryan Spooner, Austin Czarnik, David Pastrnak, Colin Miller, Seth Griffith, Jake DeBrusk, Danton Heinen). That’s an excellent info nugget from the tireless Bruins PR staff, now with a couple of solid new hires in Sarah McMahon and Travis Basciotta helping steer things aboard the USS Black and Gold.

*Remember, keep shooting the puck at the net and good things are bound to happen. 

Beleskey happy to return from foot injury

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Beleskey happy to return from foot injury

BRIGHTON, Mass – It was absolutely an “uh-oh” moment for Matt Beleskey when he was hit on the foot with a shot Monday night in the Bruins' preseason opener against the Canadiens. Beleskey, 29, was just hoping that his foot wasn’t broken in what would have been another shot of bad luck coming off a tough season for the hard-nosed winger, so his hopes have been answered given his presence in the lineup for the preseason game Saturday night vs. the Detroit Red Wings.

Beleskey missed the past two preseason games and most of the practice time as well but returned to the ice on Friday before getting ready for tonight's game. With plenty to prove while coming off a down second season in Boston, Beleskey knows he needs a strong camp that can’t get derailed by injuries or assorted bumps and bruises.

“I definitely did not want a broken foot to start the year, so I’m glad that I was fine,” said Beleskey, who finished with three goals and eight points along with a minus-10 in 49 games last season. “I took a puck in the face during warm-ups and the shot to the foot in the third, so that’s quite a good start to the year. But hopefully, I’ve got those out of the way now.

“I felt really good in the last game. It was great to see some of the work I did in the summertime paying off, so now we build on that [against Detroit] and keep things moving. There are a lot of great players here [in camp] and there’s great competition. I’m just here to play my game and prove myself, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world I can do that.”

Now that he’s been given a full bill of health again, Beleskey will get just that chance skating with Sean Kuraly and Ryan Fitzgerald on Saturday night in Hockeytown amid a deeply competitive situation for Boston’s third line. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings for the Bruins against the Red Wings in Boston’s fourth game of the preseason:

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Vatrano-Czarnik-Purcell
Beleskey-Kuraly-Fitzgerald
Schaller-Szwarz-Senyshyn

Miller-McAvoy
Grzelcyk-McQuaid
O’Gara-Zboril

McIntyre
Subban


 

Morning Skate: Sean Avery vs. Tortorella

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Morning Skate: Sean Avery vs. Tortorella

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while amazed at what has united Lebron James and Steph Curry in this wacky country of ours.

*Sean Avery has some brutal things to say about John Tortorella in his new “screaming for attention” book, but then again Avery is one of the biggest low-talent dirtbags that the NHL has ever seen. So you probably need to consider the source.

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) John Shannon has a few thoughts on where the NHL needs to go in their relationship with China now that they’ve played preseason games there.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the details as Steven Stamkos stood out in his preseason debut and the first game back from last season’s injury.

*The NHL has yet to determine whether or not Marian Hossa is eligible for LTIR with a skin issue that is expected to be career-ending.

*PK Subban talks about his rule of thumb while staying away from controversy with an active social media account.

*Mark your calendars for the annual Comics Come Home event on Nov. 18 to raise money for the Cam Neely Foundation. Here Neely talks with SI about his friendships with a number of local comics, and how the comedy event became a tradition in Boston.   

*For something completely different: Today marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic “Heroes”, so it feels like a good time to get the story behind it.