NHL: Boston Bruins at Chicago Blackhawks


By: Karen Still                           Follow Me @bluinsfan2017

That has to be about as much of a vote of confidence as one can get.

From a disastrous beginning in the 2016-17 season to emerge out of the other side of it to finish 7-6-1, with 6 straight wins, Anton Khudobin ended the year on a major high note.  No doubt he intended to build upon that positive wave heading into this year’s training camp and toward the 2017-18 campaign.  He got hot at the right time the Bruins needed him to and played his role in helping his team get into the playoffs.

Personally, I can’t imagine what kind of high he was riding as he finished the year so strong, knowing he would most likely not play again for the rest of the season.  That’s a lot of time to really think about how you’re going to approach your summer, how you’re going to build on your recent success and keep rolling with that positive momentum.

But it sounds like he had a plan in place:  he returned home to Siberia   (Krasnoyarsk) and began his offseason workouts, which included a CrossFit program with a focus on overall strength and conditioning.

Home is also where the heart is, or so they say, so there’s no doubt that he took advantage of this as well to serve as motivation and inspiration:

“This summer, what I was thinking was to relax at home, enjoy my family, enjoy my time with friends, enjoy time off the ice.  Just reenergize my batteries and just focus on what I can do,”  he said in the Boston Globe.  “I didn’t really want to focus on what I can’t control. What I was thinking was how to keep playing the way I played at the end of the season and how I need to get ready for the upcoming season. I wasn’t thinking about anything else.”

This interview says it all: he understands the situation and is content with his role on the team.  He knows what he has to do and comes across rather humble about it.  It is this calm and cool perspective that the Bruins have come to count on in the decision to confirm his role as the backup for this campaign.

And there will be more than plenty of chances for him to prove that they did make the right choice.  There is quite a few back to back games this season across the NHL, and for the Bruins, that begins this weekend on the road Saturday vs. the Coyotes and Sunday vs. the Golden Knights.  Whichever game he plays, he’ll be able to put all that hard work over the summer to the test.  Before that, however, this past Wednesday, October 11th in the 6-3 loss to the Avs, he played the 3rd period in relief of Tuukka Rask, stopping all 9 shots he faced including a couple of rather acrobatic saves.

While it’d be awesome to see more like that this weekend, the real hope is that he starts the season off on the right foot, and with all the determination that he went into his training over the summer, there’s no doubt that that is what he plans on doing.