Goalie nods: ‘Canes go back to Khudobin; Budaj, Harding get first starts


News and notes from the crease…

Carolina rolls with Anton

Interesting development out of Washington as the ‘Canes will start Anton Khudobin against the Caps in a Metropolitan Division matchup.

It’ll mark the second time Khudobin has started in four games and, perhaps even more interestingly, the move has created a goaltending rotation to start the year. Cam Ward started the season opener (3-2 OT loss to Detroit), then Khudobin started the second game, a 2-1 win over Philly.

Ward was back in goal on Tuesday, a 5-2 loss to Pittsburgh. ‘Canes head coach Kirk Muller said the decision to start Khudobin against Washington has nothing to do with Ward allowing five goals on 37 shots against the Pens.

“It was the tentative plan before (the season) started for the first few games,” Muller told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Despite the results of the game the other night we were going with (Khudobin).

“Hopefully he can carry on the way he did last game.”

This’ll be an interesting battle to follow, if only for the disparity in salaries. Ward carries a $6.3 million cap hit while Khudobin signed with Carolina this summer on a one-year deal worth $800,000.

Budaj in for Habs

Montreal’s Peter Budaj will make his 2013-14 debut on Thursday against Edmonton.

Budaj, 31, is coming off a solid 2013 campaign, one in which he posted an 8-1-1 record with a 2.29 GAA and .908 save percentage in relief of Carey Price.

The former Colorado ‘tender is one of the league’s more intriguing backups. Price has struggled with his form in recent seasons and isn’t off to a tremendous start this year, going just 1-2-0 with a 2.70 GAA and .907 save percentage.

Harding replaces Backstrom

Josh Harding will make his first start of the season tonight against Winnipeg.

Harding, 29, came on in relief of injured starter Niklas Backstrom during Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Nashville and played well, stopping 19 of 20 shots.

Darcy Kuemper, the club’s young goaltending prospect from AHL Iowa, has been recalled to back up Harding against the Jets.


— Jonathan Bernier gets a second straight start for Toronto on Thursday against Nashville.

Jacob Markstrom’s in for Florida against Tampa Bay, as Tim Thomas is out with a groin injury.

— Jets backup Al Montoya will get a game soon, possibly tonight against the Wild.

— The goalie rotation continues in Anaheim as the Ducks will go back to Jonas Hiller tonight against the Rangers.

Panthers’ Crouse is going back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One
1 Comment

Lawson Crouse is going back to junior. The big 18-year-old winger confirmed it today on Twitter.

Crouse was drafted 11th overall in June by the Florida Panthers. Despite the club’s belief that Crouse could make “an immediate impact” on the roster, he finished the preseason with just two shots and one assist in three games.

Crouse will return to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, with whom he’ll look to improve on his modest point totals from last season.

“I don’t think there’s any pressure on the kid,” coach Gerard Gallant said last week. “If he doesn’t make the team this year he goes back to junior … and will have a lot of success.”

Yes! Jagr’s bringing back the mullet

Ice Hockey - Day 6 - Czech Republic v Slovakia

The greatest mullet in sports history is making a comeback.

According to the Miami Herald’s George Richards, Jaromir Jagr says he’s bringing back the party in the back.

“I have to,” Jagr, 43, said.

Jagr’s teammate with the Florida Panthers, goalie Roberto Luongo, appears to have been the lead lobbyist in all this.

Anyway, this is fantastic.