Friday, December 31, 2010

Backstrom tonight against the Predators, not José

From Russo:

"No Cal Clutterbuck tonight. Patrick O'Sullivan returns. Nik Backstrom in goal. Not sure yet which of Spurgeon or Stoner plays."

But with all the talk of this year's Winter Classic, let's remember the first NHL outdoor game, the Heritage Classic. José was a big part of that game, and the photos of him with the toque over his mask have become legendary.

FYI...if you get Versus network, they will be reshowing the Heritage Classic on February 20. Hopefully I can remember will be fun to watch the whole thing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Back at the 1996 World Junior Hockey Championships

I thought in honor of the WJC going on right now, it would be fun to look back at José's time in the 1996 WJC. There are some pretty fun photos of him at the time. ;o) Let's remember he was 19 years old. Oh so adorkable.

José was chosen as the Best Goaltender of the tournament. He posted a 4-0 record with a 1.50 GAA. Canada won the gold.

Here he is with Marc Denis, the other Canadian goalie.

Some in-game shots:

With Jarome Iginla and Nolan Baumgartner. These three were selected to the All-Star Team.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

We Believe in Theo!

Ok, I have tried to collect my thoughts about last night's game. I'm not disappointed for myself, because I'm not a "true" Wild fan. If that was a loss for the Cowboys in the NFL, then yes, I'd be disappointed for myself. But since I'm a José fan first, then a Wild fan because he plays for them, then I'm more disappointed for HIM. I want him to play well and get wins for HIS sake. Because he is such an awesome person, and he works so hard, and is such a great teammate that he deserves to have good results.

I think we can all admit it was not his best showing. But he didn't have a bad game. He had a really strong game, and an unfortunate shootout. From a spectator's viewpoint the 3rd goal in regulation might have been a little soft. But I'm not professing that I know all the inner workings on the ice and know how everything comes together, or doesn't. So that looked like a goal that might've been on him. But if so, one bad goal in the game? Not a big deal. And he had some really great saves in there, and a very strong OT. You can't pin this loss on him, period.

Then the shootout. Oh the evil shootout. I'm not a fan of the shootout at all. Even when it's a goalie I don't care about, or teams I don't care about, I hate shootouts. They are evil for goalies. Yes, if a goalie does well in them, then they can look like a hero. But more often than not they make a goalie look like the goat, and it sucks. What was it Robert Luongo said about shootouts in his "poetry":

"Then you, shootout,

I despise you, I will not lie,

Why can’t we just end it in a tie?"

So, so true Looo.

What's odd is José is usually a pretty good SO goalie. Before last night his SO record was 15-8. I think that's a great record for a goalie! So I'm not sure what happened last was just an off SO for him.

But I think it's silly and unreasonable for people to expect any player to be perfect all the time. It's impossible. I really hope that he's given the chance to show he can bounce back from this game.

Soooooo...on a happier note. Did anyone watching the game on Versus notice the really nice things the commentators said about him....right before the game went to crap? I mean, it was RIGHT before that goal that tied it up. Then the goal that followed 39 seconds later. :(

It was after they came back from a TV timeout, and commentator #1 that was down by the ice started with:

Guy #1: "If José Theodore holds on, it will be career win #250. And with the kind of summer he went through, which really wasn't much of a summer of stability or certainty, being dumped by Washington after being so important to them. It's great to see him land on his feet. Guys, the Wild know they brought in...obviously a Vezina and Hart Trophy winner, so a great athlete. But they're pretty happy about the kind of teammate he is as well."

Guy 2: "Yeah, he won the Masterton Trophy last season for dedication to the game."

Guy 3: "Yeah, he's been nothing but solid in the locker room too. He's been real attentive. He'll go to a lot of meetings. Even when he's not playing he's in a penalty kill meeting, wants to always understand what the guys in front of him are looking to do. Both coaches...I talked to not only just Richards but Bob Mason, the goaltending coach for MN, he's very impressed with how he's acclimated himself on and off the ice.

Josh Harding, very good young goaltender, went down in training camp with an injury, they did not have a goaltender. They actually didn't start the season in Helsinki with Theodore. They signed him right at the beginning of the year then he joined the team in North America. He's been an excellent pick-up. A lot more than just a back-up."

Then before he could even get those last words out, that rocket of a goal by Tyutin streaked past José. If he'd gotten a glove on that one, it probably would've taken his arm with it.

Anyway, I was so proud of José after hearing what they said. We all know that José is a great teammate. Others have said it before. He's a team player, and he'll do whatever he can to help the team. And if that's sit on the bench until called upon, then he'll do it without complaining. One of the many reasons we believe in Theo.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gameday, 12/27/10, Wild @ Blue Jackets on Versus! (Wild lose 4-3 in shootout)

That's right...I'm excited. Because I actually get to see José play on TV tonight! The game is being carried on Versus!!! It's been a long time since I've seen him on my TV. I usually watch online. So thank you, Versus! Now lets hope the whole team shows up, and it's a great game! Go Théo! Go Wild!

So I won't be able to get any screenshots tonight, because the game is blacked out on Gamecenter for 48 hours.

After one period, the Wild lead 1-0. José has faced 7 SOG and done well. It's been relatively quiet compared to some other games when the Wild goalies get peppered constantly. But I hate to write that and jinx him...

Here are some excerpts from Andresen's In-Game Commentary:

13:37 - We've got chaos in the Wild crease, but Theodore can't be fazed. Dealing with all kinds of traffic in front, he somehow sticks with a high laser off the stick of Ethan Moreau. The puck drops right down into the crease where former Clarkson Knight Chris Clark is lurking, but Theo somehow keeps it out during a mad scramble and finally gets the whistle when he lays down flat.

After 2 the Wild are up 2-1. It was 1-1 until 1.5 seconds to go in the period and Koivu scored. It was awesome!! Now here's hoping they can hang on to that lead.

José faced 6 SOG. The shots against tonight are very low for a Wild game. But there were some of those shots that took great saves to keep out. Some really great work by José in that period.

From Andresen during Period 2:

4:38 - This period really has been all Wild, but the Jackets are the only team to convert. Theodore's challenge is to stay sharp, and he does that here when a loose puck bounces around at the top of the crease and Tom Sestito ends up with a golden chance on the doorstep, but Theo is right there to take that bid away.

1:27 - Theodore comes up with another big stop on Fedor Tyutin's bid, and with the refs slow to blow the whistle, a scrum develops in front of the goal.

After 3 periods the game was tied at 3, so to OT we went.

2:42 - The first great chance of OT goes to the Jackets as Rick Nash gets space on the left and lets a hard shot go, but Theodore comes up big.

This was a screen cap taken for me by thepatronsaintx while we were waiting for SO. Highlight of the night for me was when this shot of José was on our TV, and my husband said, "Holy #$%^ he's got big brown eyes!" Well, duh! ;o)

And then the shootout, and it kind of sucked. That's about all I can say about that. Columbus scored 3 against José. Minnesota scored one. Game over. José was not as sharp as he has been in the previous games, but he wasn't bad. Things just did not go his way. I'm especially disappointed for him, because this could've been his 250th career win. But he'll get it next time he plays.

He saved 19 of 22 shots. His record is now 4-5-2 with a .911 SV% and 2.71 GAA.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

José Will Start on 12/27/10 in Columbus, Goes for 250th Career Win

Coach Richards announced before tonight's game that José will be in goal tomorrow night against Columbus. Things didn't go well for the Wild tonight against Detroit. They lost 4-1. Here's hoping they play better tomorrow.

Here was the mnwild tweet:

Richards says Schultz, Barker and Staubitz likely to get back into lineup tomorrow. Theodore plays, looking for career win 250 #mnwild

This was from warm-ups before the Colorado game the other night. José talking to Budaj.

Very similar to the one from the previous Colorado game (minus the 'stache.)

Backstrom in Net Again, Not Theo, 12/26/10, vs. Red Wings

This is beginning to be like a broken record. :o( But they do have another game tomorrow night, so I'm assuming José will be in net tomorrow for the 2nd game of the back-to-back. That will be in Columbus.

From mnwild twitter:

Richards: Schultz cleared to play, but won't play tonight #mnwild. Same lineup, Backstrom in goal vs #redwings

José's season stats so far:

4-5-1, .915 SV%, 2.71 GAA (he's faced 328 shots on goal)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas! I hope you are getting to enjoy it in whatever way you'd like. I'll be going to my in-laws later...not the way I'd like, but what are ya gonna' do? ;o)

I know this photos is a few years old, but he's wearing a Santa hat, so there ya go. (And during his mountain man phase, it appears. ;o) Enjoy!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Theo Art by thepatronsaintx

One of my most loyal readers, Berni (otherwise known as thepatronsaintx),  is a wonderfully talented artist. And she's such a huge Theo fan that she enjoys putting her talent into practice by drawing him. She has all of her Theo drawings displayed on her deviatart site here.

Berni is a Pittsburgh Penguins fan living all the way in Chile! Perhaps the only one? And I wouldn't doubt she's the only Theo fan in Chile either. Even though she's a Pens fan, Theo is her favourite goalie. Not only because of how talented he is, but also because he inspires her to draw. And it's drawing that helps her relieve the stress that comes with studying in med school (drawing and watching hockey, of course!) She became a fan of his last year after she began paying attention to the Capitals along with the Penguins.

I met Berni through my blog when she started commenting on my entries, and we've become good friends. Sometimes our exchanges during the Wild's games when Theo's not in net are the only things that make them watchable (you know, when they can't score, for example. ;o) So I'm so glad that you found my site, Berni, and started commenting. And I love your artwork!

It's hard for me to pick favorites of her drawings, because I like them all. So I just selected a sampling to post here. But you can see all her drawings at her site.

2 More YouTube Videos I Posted

I posted my first attempt at a YouTube video last week, and I've tried a few more since then. I guess I can't really call them videos...they are more slideshows set to music. Here are the other 2 I made. The first is one I call Théo's Face Showers. ;o) If you've followed my blog very long, you know I'm quite partial to the photos of José where he's spraying himself with his water bottle. There's just something about those shots that make me smile. So I collected all the face shower shots I could find and put them together here:

Then, I also think Henrik Lundqvist is a pretty cool goalie. And I would vote him as the 2nd hottest goalie in the NHL. ;o) So I put the boys together here for a little fun.

Those sure were a lot of fun to make!! Hahaha!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Backstrom in Net, Not Theo on 12/23/10 in Colorado

I assumed this would be the case after Richards gushed about Backs last game, but it's official from Russo's twitter:

Same #mnwild lineup tomorrow at Colorado; Barker, Staubitz scratched; Backstrom starts

On a fun note, I found 2 new José photos last night.

This one is similiar to the other tattoo photos, but I'd never seen the whole left arm before.
Edit: I removed this photo, because I found out it wasn't supposed to be leaked to the internet. I don't want to use a photo I'm not supposed to, so sorry about that.

By the way, you can still make donations to José Saves for Kids Charity. Here's the entry I made explaining how you can do that. The holidays are a great time to remember others by giving to charity.

Then thanks to thepatronsaintx for sending me this one!

New José photos are a great pick-me-up to a cruddy day!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remember When José Scored a Goal?

Since it's the week of Christmas, and there is nothing going on here at work, let's walk down memory lane.

On January 3, 2001 while José was playing with the Montreal Canadiens, he scored a goal AND recorded the 3-0 shutout.

This is a photo taken after the game (thanks to Valentina for finding that for me!)

There have only been 6 times in the NHL when a goalie has scored a goal by shooting the puck directly into the net (a few others have been credited with goals after an opponent scored on their own goal.)

Those who have done it were Ron Hextall (once in 1987 and again in 1989), Chris Osgood in 1996, Martin Brodeur in 1997,  Theo in 2001, and Evgeni Nabokov in 2002.

I wish there was a better video of José's goal than this. If anyone can find one online, please let me know. (Plus it's annoying, because the announcers mispronounce Theodore! And you know how much I hate that.) I know there is a different video of it, because I've seen  it on "The Lighter Side of Hockey" DVD I got this year, but I can't find it online anywhere.

Here's the video with the celebration included at end...still crappy quality though. :(

Monday, December 20, 2010

Backstrom in Net, Not Theo against Calgary

Someone asked Russo on Twitter who would be in goal tonight, and he replied:

"Its not even a question. Backstrom."


Then there was this exhange:

"Backstrom is the No 1 RT "twitter person whose name I deleted" @Russostrib so does this mean that splitting starts/ going with the hot guy lasted less than a week?"

I think Theo has a much better attitude than I do about the whole situation. He knows how things go. After the game on Saturday when Theo went out and congratulated Backstrom on the win, he gave him these cute little jabs in the gut. I went ~melt~. ;o)

Here was the most adorable goalie love ever...wish you could see it in action, because the jabs made me go "awwww." ;o) He's a really great and supportive teammate...that's obvious.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wild Pondcast talks to Bob Mason, Wild Goalie Coach (from 12/5/10)

Bob Mason, the Wild Goalie Coach, was a guest on This Week In Hockey on 12/5/10. I started writing up a post at that time, but then José got more starts, and I've been busy keeping up with those posts. But I wanted to revisit this, especially with what's been happening with the Théo/Backstrom situation.

I think we all know what the situation is. Backstrom is their #1 guy. They pay him $6 million, more than any other player on the team. They are not going to have a $6 mill guy sitting on the bench unless something extreme happens. That's the reality, and it's one of the reasons I wish that José could've been signed elsewhere. But the free agency market was not kind this summer to veteran goalies.

Anyway, this interview is almost 2 weeks old, but I think the coaches of the Wild still feel the same way. They think José is good, and they are glad to have him to backup Backstrom, but they still look at Backstrom as their main guy, and I don't see that changing no matter what José does. Especially when the team in front of the goalies can't score to save their lives, and therefore the team can't post wins. Goalies can't score for them, they can only do their part. It's up to the other guys to step up and help the team win. So, that's how I see it. I really wish that José could end up somewhere that he could be the #1 guy and show everyone that he's still got the skill-level it takes to be the #1 guy. There is no way, in my humble opinion, that Backstrom is a better goalie than José. Period. But Backstrom has a no-trade clause in his contract, they pay him lots of money, and they are not going to let him sit for long. Ok, opinion piece over. Now to the interview. (If they do trade José I hope to God it's after Feb. 11th, since I have tickets to their game in St. Louis that night. I will be so disappointed if he's not with the team at that point.)

Mason's bit on the show begins at about the 4:00 mark of this broadcast. If you don't have time to listen, here are the parts where he discussed José.

Q: How do you work with these guys when they hit a rough patch? Is it get back to basics? Do you try to build these guys up and keep it positive at all times?

Mason: Sure, you gotta do that. You know we gotta certainly watch the tape and go over certain situations and maybe see what they can do a little bit better. It's just really telling these guys they're here because they are good goaltenders. And they gotta really believe in themselves and continue to do that, and I'm there to reinforce that with them. Of course there are a lot of drills you can do on the ice, a lot of foot drills, a lot of traffic drills, you know working on different areas where they might be struggling. Or not even...just do a couple drills that might benefit certain situations where they might be getting into trouble in a game. Rap that out a little bit, and hopefully they clean it up, and if they do that in a game, and all of a sudden it's working, then that's one part that's back in order.

Q: So Nicklas Backstrom sits out 3 of the last 4 games, while José Theodore comes in and fortunate do you feel to have a guy like that now to be able to step in and replace Josh Harding who is pretty much lost for the better part of the season. To have a guy like that, an experienced veteran guy who can come in and pick up the reins when called upon.

Mason: Well, it's great for the team. To get a veteran guy like that, he's been through some ups and downs. He's been through some very good highs and you know 30 wins last year with Washington. He was 30-7-7. He's just pretty much a calming force. And I think the team's got a lot of confidence in him. You know, we were looking at goaltenders when Josh went down. There were a lot of younger guys out there, but I think Chuck made the right choice in grabbing a veteran, and I think the room is very comfortable with him and he's played great for us when he's been in and we're back to kind of a little tandem here. Back to the Roloson/Fernandez tandem where, boy, we rotated those guys for 2-3 years straight. And it worked great for the Wild.

Then a bit later..."Certainly Nik's been our top guy and he still is our top guy. We're certainly trying to get his game trending back in the right order, and that's going to be a little bit from him and a little bit from the team."

Backstrom in Goal Tonight, Not Theo (12/18/10) But some photos from past games...

Backstrom will start in Calgary tonight, not Theo. Here was what Coach Todd Richards said:

"Richards made clear that Backstrom is the Minnesota Wild and he's still the guy. (Russo included "the" in italics, so I wanted to emphasize that.) He didn't want frustration to set in with Backstrom, who's started only six of the past 13 games. Only three of the seven non-starts were non-back-to-back situations though, or games he normally would have started as the No. 1 -- Nov. 29 at Calgary, Dec. 1 vs. Phoenix and last game vs. Ottawa.

His last two starts before the Anaheim stinker -- home vs. Calgary and at Phoenix -- were "better" said Richards following an awful stretch. In six starts since a 2-1 overtime win Nov. 17 vs. Anaheim, Backstrom’s save percentage has dropped from .938 to .914 and his goals against average has risen from 1.91 to 2.75."

So that's that about the goalie situation tonight. I'm going to make another post and discuss those things a bit more.

But I did find more photos of a few of past Theo games. Sometimes it takes a few days for them to show up online.

From the November 6th game against Columbus.

From the November 12th game against Florida.

From the November 19th game against Detroit.

From the November 29th game against Calgary.