Monday, January 31, 2011

And Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Hockey

Ok, so the All-Star Game and surrounding events were kinda fun, but now it's back to real hockey! Sweet!! I'm glad the guys get a break, we all deserve one now and then. But it's nice to have real games starting up again tomorrow.

The Wild play at home against the LA Kings.

And the guys are practicing today...this from Kent Youngblood:

#mnwild practice at 2; John Madden along with a couple of rookies and both goalies on ice 15 minutes early

Ah, that's our hard-working José...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

All-Star Weekend, So a Look Back at José's All-Star Appearances

Since we are in the doldrums of the All-Star Break (it has felt excrutiatingly long) let's look back at José's two All-Star Appearances (2002 and 2004.)

He was 25 here, but looks like he's 18!


With Roberto Luongo, Lou's pads are HUGE!! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1/19/11 Video of José Talking about His Injury

Thank you, Berni, for reminding me I needed to check Fox Sports North's website! I had just thought yesterday and today that I hadn't been there in a while, since José hasn't played. And I knew I should still check, just in case there was something. And sure enough, there was a video from 1/19/11 of him talking about his injury. The audio is awful...loud people in background coupled with microphone not being close enough to him...hard to hear sometimes. But here it is.

The Wild beat the Blackhawks tonight, so that was a great way to go into the All-Star Break. It will be a week before they play again. I will have withdrawal...

Here was a screen capture of Theo and Backs tonight after the game from Berni. The game was blacked out on Gamecenter for me, since it was in Chicago, so she was kind enough to share her screen cap with me. I'll get more after the blackout is over in 48 hours. Yay for happy goalies!!!

Gameday, Wild @ Blackhawks (But José Is Not Starting)

From Kent Youngblood's twitter, since Russo is not in Chicago:

Backstrom in nets. Two line changes: Cullen centers Kobasew and Bouchard. Madden with Nystrom and Staubitz.

The game is at 7:30 CST. They won't play again until Feb. 1, at home, against the Kings (after the All-Star Break.)

And I just wanted to post a drawing from thepatronsaintx today, because her drawings are so cool.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A few José Tidbits the Day Before Gameday

I guess I'm still riding a high after that Russo profile of José. I didn't want to move it down the line, but time marches on, and so does my blogging. ;o) Wow, I made myself sound so much more important than I am!! Haha!!

Anyway, this week Saku Koivu (former Montreal Canadiens' teammate of our favorite goalie) made a return to Montreal with the Anaheim Ducks. Russo had a few quotes from José about Saku:

Because of the three-hour time change between east and west coast, Wild captain Mikko Koivu was hoping to catch the start of Saturday's Anaheim-Montreal game. It was older brother Saku's first return to Montreal, the team he captained for nine of his 13 seasons with the Canadiens.

"It's going to be very emotional for him," said Mikko Koivu.

Wild goalie Jose Theodore was longtime teammates with Saku Koivu in Montreal.

"There are a lot of similarities between Mikko and Saku," Theodore said. "Very educated, very honest. You can see they came from the same family. Saku, it's almost like me and him grew up together. We started the same year, we played together seven or eight years, he was my captain.

"I even sometimes catch myself calling Mikko 'Saku' because they kind of look alike."

And here is a photo of José and the elder Koivu in 2002. This was Saku's first game back after his battle with cancer.

Then in Sunday's StarTribune, Russo wrote his Sunday Insider, where he answered fans' questions. There were a few mentions of Theo.

I'll post those bits, and here's the whole article if you're interested.

Michael Russo opened up his blog to reader questions. Here's a sampling of what was on your minds.

Q If the Wild is outside the playoff bubble, do they sell at the deadline or make a push? --Ryan, Saint Paul

A The way this conference is going, it's hard to imagine the Wild not being in it. But if the postseason is a long shot by the Feb. 28 deadline, I expect Chuck Fletcher to shop potential unrestricted free agents Andrew Brunette, John Madden, Chuck Kobasew, Antti Miettinen and Jose Theodore. If it's got a chance, the Wild should have the cap room to make a move, perhaps for a scoring winger. But the Wild's hoping defenseman Marek Zidlicky will be back by then and maybe Guillaume Latendresse after that.

Q Does Josh Harding have any chance of being re-signed or will the Wild keep Jose Theodore and Niklas Backstrom? -- eighteen

A With Dennis Endras perhaps coming across the pond and developing youngsters Matt Hackett and Darcy Kuemper in the fold, I think Harding will have to sign a two-way contract elsewhere to reestablish his career. Theodore has been good and a great teammate, but he may get a better shot elsewhere to be a No. 1. The Wild will consider bringing him back at the right money.

Q Did you actively seek a job in MN to cover the Wild? If so, why? If not, why? -- dahockeyguru

A Funny, Theodore asked me Wednesday if I was "transferred" here. Doesn't work like that. I was interested in the job when it was open in 2003 but never pursued it aggressively. When it was open again in 2005, I did. After the lockout, I sensed the Panthers were becoming less and less relevant with my former newspaper and in the marketplace, and I wanted to remain a hockey writer and in a hockey market.

I read somewhere that when José went 100% at practice on Friday, he felt perfect. But now I can't find that, so I guess you'll have to take my word for it until I find it again. Stupid geriatric brain...

Friday, January 21, 2011

José Theodore lives in the moment

The veteran NHL goalie stood up to some of life's hard shots and, at least for now, is savoring his time in the Wild's net.

By MICHAEL RUSSO, Star Tribune
Last update: January 21, 2011 - 10:01 PM

Only one NHL team can boast that its backup goaltender once was the NHL's most valuable player.

That's the Wild, and on Wednesday night, that injured former Hart Trophy winner, José Theodore, settled in the Saddledome press box high above the Calgary ice.

Things are slower way up top. You can see every passing and shooting lane and can't grasp how little time and space there actually is. Even the immense traffic in front of the net doesn't seem as menacing.

"The game's easy up here," the goalie said. "My [four older] brothers, they'll sit behind the net when I'm playing and are amazed at how little I can see."

Just like that, Kyle Brodziak sets up Martin Havlat with a lunging pass. "What a play by Brodzy!" yells Theodore.

A couple of minutes later, Mikko Koivu whistles a power-play goal through Andrew Brunette's screen. "See what I mean? Look at Bruno. Perfect position," Theodore says.

Theodore was vested, with lines like, "Nice save, Backy [Niklas Backstrom]!" and "Come on, boys!" and "Huge goal!"

Theodore, 34, didn't adhere to the "no cheering in the press box" mandate on this night, a 6-0 Wild blowout. But Theodore is not accustomed to watching games in a press box either.

From decoration to desolation

Theodore, who practiced Friday and will back up Backstrom on Saturday night against the Sharks after missing four games because of a hip injury, is one of the NHL's most decorated goalies. He has won 253 games and a Vezina Trophy and is one of six goalies in NHL history to win the Hart.

Heck, as Theodore jokes, "not too many goalies can say Patrick Roy was his backup." In Montreal, Theodore played one career game with the Hall of Famer -- a preseason game, in which Theodore started and Roy rode the pine.

Wild fans especially know Theodore's ability. As Brunette, his former Colorado Avalanche teammate, says, "Theo can take his game to another level." It was Theodore who held the Wild to 12 goals and Marian Gaborik to none in six games during Colorado's 2008 playoff upset of the division-winning Wild.

But Theodore is the first to admit he has suffered ups and downs in his career. Still, for reasons Theodore doesn't entirely understand, he went unsigned last summer and nearly got squeezed out of the NHL until the Wild's Josh Harding tore his right ACL and MCL in September.

Theodore played for the high-risk Washington Capitals, yet went 30-7-7 with a .911 save percentage last season and didn't lose in regulation the last 24 games.

"You start to get worried," Theodore said. "I wanted to stay positive, but when training camp started, I didn't know what to do, where to get ice to keep training. I knew I still had a lot to give. It was frustrating. For whatever reason though, I had a feeling it wasn't it."

A turn for the tragic

It was an extraordinary season that followed a tragic offseason for Theodore.

On August 20, 2009, Theodore and his wife, Stephanie, were devastated when their infant son, Chace, died of respiratory complications two months after being born premature.

"It still hurts," Theodore, with eyes watering, said. "It's a day-to-day battle because there's always something out there on TV, in the stands, talking to somebody, that reminds you. It's always tough.

"I think that's why I'm so proud of how I played last year. I didn't know how I'd react. You never know. You never prepare for a tragedy like this. Nobody understand until it happens. I never wish anybody should live this."

Theodore won the 2010 Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.

"The [NHL Awards] ceremony was almost exactly a year later, June 23. Chace was born June 22. That's why I was so emotional," Theodore said.

To honor his son's sadly short 54-day life, Theodore created Saves for Kids, a fundraising program that benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's National Medical Center in Washington. The Washington Capitals have kept the program going.

The drug test fiasco

Theodore has been a fascinating player over his 14-year career.

In 2006, he made news when he failed a random drug test before the Olympics that led to a two-year ban on international play.

The drug found in his system was finasteride, an ingredient in the hair loss-prevention medication, Propecia, that can be used to mask a performance-enhancing drug taken by bodybuilders. Theodore, who needs a heavy breakfast to weigh 180, is not a bodybuilder.

"It was kind of funny because I started taking the pill at 21 or 22 for prevention, I take it once a day and I was tested maybe seven times over the years -- in the world championships at 23, in Europe during the lockout, in the World Cup, in the Olympic camp that August in Vancouver. Everything was always OK.

"Then November comes, and they're like, 'We found this.' I was like, 'What? I've been playing internationally for years.' I mean, Team Canada was aware. They just didn't know it was banned, I guess. But it had nothing to do with the NHL. They know I take it, and I wouldn't have made the Olympics anyway."

Hitting the right notes

Most impressive in his career may be surviving the pressure of being a French-Canadian playing under the Montreal microscope.

"It really pushed me to be good every night," he said. "In Montreal, you can win player of the month and if you have a bad game the next day, they're like, 'Who's going to be in net tomorrow?' Like a lot of other players, it gets to the point you can't win that battle and have to get out of there. But it really taught me to challenge myself."

Theodore looks and dresses as if he should be modeling for GQ. An avid guitar player and friends with lots of musicians, he has hopped on stage to play with Simple Plan, NOFX and Pennywise. He played in front of 100,000 people at a music festival in Montreal with Francophone rocker Eric Lapointe.

"I'm a big Ramones fan," Theodore said. "Actually, before Johnny Ramone's passing [in 2004], I talked to him a month before. I said, 'We're going to be in L.A. in two months. I hope to catch up.' He said, 'I hope I make it to then.'

"But I'm a big music guy. When I was a kid, I was a big skateboarder. I'd bring my skateboard everywhere and skate on everything I could find. I got into the underground punk scene, but I'm really diverse in what I like, from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Linkin Park to hip-hop to Frank Sinatra."

Theodore's chest, arms and back are loaded with tattoos, from tributes to his wife and 4-year-old daughter, Romy, to his love of music to LX -- the roman numeral of his sweater number, 60.

He's also "an absolutely unreal teammate," Brunette said. "Goalies are a different breed. Not Theo. He's very normal. You go to dinner with him and he'll shoot the breeze and tell stories and make you laugh, and you don't even know he's starting tomorrow. Very laid back."

And solid in Minnesota, winning eight games, including three in a row before getting hurt.

Like last summer, Theodore's future is uncertain. If the Wild falls out of a playoff race, it might consider trading him. You can bet the Wild would love to re-sign Theodore for next season, but as he said, "I always want to be a No. 1 and still think I can be.

"But I always say, 'Whoever is playing the game that night is the No. 1 that night.' The last 25 games, I can't complain the way Todd [Richards] has been using me. Me and Backy are a great team, and I just want to support my teammates down the road. I want to play in the playoffs, and I'd love it to be here."

José Tidbits from today...

All I found today about José was from Russo.

First from Twitter during practice in San Jose:
"I don't know if I've ever seen two goalies stretching more in practice than banged-up Backstrom/Theodore."

Then from his blog later:
"Jose Theodore practiced fully today and he will back up Niklas Backstrom vs. San Jose. Theodore felt great, he said, and "he looked great," coach Todd Richards said. Speaking of Theodore, I did a big profile on him for Saturday's paper. Also YouTube Jose Theodore and NOFX and Jose Theodore and Simple Plan and Jose Theodore and Pennywise, I believe.

Theodore is an avid guitar player and is buddy buddy with a ton of bands. He's been on stage with many during concerts."

I'm sure most of you knew about Theo's trips onstage with those bands. He loves to play guitar.

Here's the one with Pennywise


Looking forward to the "big profile" in tomorrow's paper!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More on the Twitter Thing

In Russo's after-game blog, he mentioned José and Twitter again...

"Speaking of goalies, I watched the first two periods with Jose Theodore. He taught me the game, I taught him how to use Twitter. He's impressed by how many fans he has on there and how many people's Avatar's are his face!
It was fascinating watching the game from his perspective, and he said -- and it's true -- "Boy, the game's easy up here." You can't grasp how little time and space there really is from the press box.

I interviewed Theodore for a long time for a profile coming up soon in the Strib."

Wow!! He saw our tweets, you guys!!! He saw our avatars!! How cool is that!!

And a profile coming up soon? It gets even better!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

José on Twitter...Almost. ;o)

Tonight during the game, José was in the pressbox with Mike Russo. And Russo tweeted a few things that José said, etc. It was almost like José was on Twitter with us. How cool would that be?!

It went a little something like this:

First he tweeted to Ryan Stanzel, the Wild's Media Relations guy this:
"remind theodore I'm coming over after first period to sit with him for 17 minutes"


Jose Theodore is sitting next to me. I'm teaching him Twitter; Next I'll teach him, "No cheering in the pressbox"

Wild playing very well, all over the puck, winning battles. Iginla great chance, causes a "Nice save Backy!" from Theodore

8:30 start, normally you write running to file second game is over. My computer screen is white right; Theo's teaching me the game though :)

John Madden buries Andrew Brunette pass. Says Theodore: "That's huge. One minute left."

So that was José's "appearance" on Twitter tonight, through Russo.

The Wild routed the Flames 6-0. Nice game for Backs after being out for so long.

Tomorrow is a travel-only day, so Theo's first full practice will be Friday in San Jose.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Bit More About Theo's Injury

From Russo's blog today:

Niklas Backstrom is feeling real good and the plan is for Backstrom to make his first start since Dec. 31 tomorrow night in Calgary in the second of a back-to-back. Backstrom had a hip injury.

Theodore, also out with a hip injury, confirmed I saw correctly in Boston. He hurt his hip on a third-period save before a TV timeout in Boston, felt it a little in his shutout in Pittsburgh, but wanted to play against Dallas. He said he felt OK, then really felt sore during the morning skate in Nashville. He said he should have spoke up then but didn't want to put the team in a bad position. In hindsight, he said he should have not played because he felt he hurt the team with his lack of sharpness.

Theodore pushed it a little more today, is feeling better but said he needs one real good practice still. He'll push it a little more tomorrow in Calgary at the, I'm sure, optional morning skate. Thursday is a travel day only to San Jose, so his first real practice will come Friday in San Jose.

Russo also mentioned more about Khudobin's unorthodox style:

Lots more talk this morning about Khudobin's unorthodox style. That'll be the notebook lead in tomorrow's paper. Goalie coach Bob Mason is working on Khudobin being quieter in net, but hey, Khudobin basically taught himself the position. He was a defenseman until age 10, so not a shocker that he looks a bit different than most goalies. But Dominik Hasek was a bit unorthodox, and as Jose Theodore was telling me today, so's Tim Thomas.

Theo Quote About His Injury

The Wild are on a 4-game road trip now, and at least José was able to go with them. Here's the word from Youngblood:

Goalie updates

Jose Theodore skated Monday, Niklas Backstrom pronounced himself ready to start and Anton Khudobin figures to get a start in one of the next two games.

That's the shorthand on the Wild's goaltender situation. All three were scheduled to accompany the team on the trip.

First, Theodore. He said he went about 85 percent during 20 minutes on the ice Monday and felt good; he has missed the past two games because of a hip injury. "We'll see how it reacts," he said. "I was actually really happy for the first day."

Backstrom, who injured his hip Dec. 31 against Nashville, was Khudobin's backup Sunday and said he was ready to play. During Monday's optional skate -- there were more coaches on the ice than players -- Backstrom took as many shots as he could.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks, I had some issues, but it's been good for a couple days now," Backstrom said.

Still, he might not play Tuesday. Richards said he will use different goalies in the back-to-back games against Edmonton and Calgary. Backstrom has good numbers overall vs. Edmonton but has struggled there. Against Calgary, though, Backstrom has been very good. Given Khudobin is coming off the shutout, Richards said he might get the call for a second game in a row.

Monday, January 17, 2011

José skated and will be on road trip

Here was the update from the Wild practice today from Kent Youngblood since Mike Russo is already on the road. Note that he said José injured his groin. It started out they said "lower body soreness", but then everyone kept saying it was a hip injury. So is it a groin or hip injury?

Theodore skates
Posted by Kent Youngblood
Last update: January 17, 2011 - 3:31 PM

Greetings. Youngblood here. I had practice today with Michael on his way to Edmonton.

Well, this was one of the most optional skates I've seen in a while. There were four skaters -- Bouchard, Stoner, Spurgeon and Staubitz -- on the ice along with goalies Backstrom and Theodore. There were more coaches on the ice than skaters.
Here is what I gleaned afterward:

1. Theodore felt good in his first time skating in a practice since injuring his groin. He went about 85 percent for about 20 minutes and emerged unscathed. He will accompany the team on the trip, hope to get in one or two more skates with the team and hopefully be available by the end of the trip.

2. Backstrom (hip) said he's ready to go. With Theodore still on the mend, and games on back-to-back nights looming in Edmonton and Calgary, it looks like Khudobin will get another start. Coach Todd Richards said he'd make up his mind who'd get the start Tuesday in Edmonton. I'm betting Backstrom plays in Calgary.

3. Once again uneven play has forced the Wild into a must-succeed situation on the road. Richards said he's confident after seeing his team play well for six consecutive periods against Colorado and Vancouver. Granted the team lost to the Avalanche, but Richards thought his team played well in both that game and again Sunday.

4. Richards said if Marco Scandella recovers quickly from his concussion he could join the team for the back end of the upcoming trip.

5. The Wild called up forward Cody Almond from Houston to give it some insurance on the long trip. But the team is heading out with just six defensemen.

6. Wild prospect Darcy Kuemper of the Red Deer Rebels was named the WHL player of the week. The goalie posted a 3-0-0-0 road record this past week with two shutouts, stopping 85 of 86 shots for a 0.32 goals-against average and a .988 save %. Kuemper was taken in the sixth round of the 2009 draft by the Wild.

Pioneer Press Talks to José (Very neat Q&A)

Thanks to Valentina for sending me the link to this article found at
It's a very interesting Q&A with José. Some really neat personal bits in here.

By the way, I read on Twitter that José is on the ice at practice today. It's uncertain if he's going to make the road trip with the team though.

And now the article:

Wild goalie Jose Theodore talks: 'You're the youngest, so you go in net'
Pioneer Press
Updated: 01/16/2011 11:09:13 PM CST

If I could change places for a day with anyone, it would probably be my wife, Stephanie. Then I could see what it's like to live with me. I could see if I'm a great guy or really good, or if she's complaining for no reason. I'd like to see that.

How did I know Stephanie was the one? I knew right away. She gave me a chance for a second date, which was good. I felt the connection right away. When you meet someone and you feel after the first or second date like you've known them 10 years, it's almost weird. It was almost scary. It seemed like I knew her since I was a kid.

My dad is English, so I always say to people my last name is English. Americans had a president named Theodore Roosevelt. It's the same pronunciation. Since I got here (to Minnesota), I've been asked about 10 times, "How do you pronounce your last name?"

In Canada, it was easy for people to say my first name. I got a few versions when I started playing hockey and traveling in the States. The way it's spelled is just like HO-say. A lot of times, people thought I was Mexican. I'd say, 'It's French. You pronounce the J, so it's JO-say.' I've heard HO-say, JO-say, Josie.

I'm a firm believer that you've got to deal with the card you've been dealt. I'm happy with where my life is. Did I make mistakes? Maybe. But change anything? Probably not.

I'm grumpy at the rink after a loss. I've learned over the years when you shower and put your suit back on, you've got to turn the page. Usually, you play every other day, and you don't want to bring your bad mood home.

I'm really not patient when there's traffic. So I would say my pet peeve is being stuck in traffic. It drives me crazy when you're in your car and you can't move.

I'd want to go into the future if I had a time machine. I'd like to see what my daughter would do, and what she would be like many years from now. She's 4 years old now.

Favorite cartoon as a kid? I remember watching "The Flintstones." I would come home from school for lunch and that was the show that was on. I think it was on from noon to 12:30. That was the perfect time. I'd eat, watch "The Flintstones" and then go back to school.

Just like Superman, I'd like to fly. If I could have any superhero power, that would be pretty cool.

At a younger age, I would play baseball in the summer. But, by the time I was 11 or 12, I started doing hockey schools in the summer. And I would play summer hockey.

My parents had the biggest influence on my life. When you are at a young age, your parents are the ones who form your personality and teach you how you should approach certain situations. They taught me to be my best, and give the best I could and be a team guy. That's helped me throughout my career.

As soon as I started really playing, that's when I decided I wanted to be a pro hockey player. I've pretty much been saying that since I was 9 years old.

From 4 to 6 years old, I played forward. Then I became a full-time goalie. I have some older brothers, and every time we'd play street hockey or go on the pond, they'd say, "You're the youngest, so you go in net." That's how I became a goalie.

I'm a big believer that to be a goalie, you have to be one of the best skaters. You're skating around with all that equipment, so you have to be pretty strong on skates.

When we play our style and we play the system, we're a really tough team to beat.

I always play the game to be a starter. I'm a team guy. I'm going to support every teammate. We want to win games to make the playoffs. That's the main goal. Every time I put the equipment on, it's to try and show everybody I want to play and I'm consistent.

When I was maybe 12 or 13 years old, there was a new Nintendo game that came out. My parents said I might get it for Christmas. But it was November, and I had the smart idea of trying to get it myself by sneaking it into my jacket. I got caught. So that actually was a good lesson. You really feel like you're letting your parents down. You see you hurt people around you because that's not the way I was brought up. So that was the worst thing I did as a kid.

Professionally, the best day of my life was being drafted by Montreal. You feel like you're so much closer to your dream when you get drafted. I was drafted in the second round. It's a close call between playing my first NHL game and getting drafted, but I would say getting drafted, because it was a dream come true. Personally, the best day was the day my daughter was born.

I want my friends to describe me as honest — honest in my work, honest in life.

Funniest movie I ever saw? "Dumb and Dumber." I have to say I have seen "Slap Shot" many more times than "Dumb and Dumber," and I like that movie, too.

I would say "The Godfather," the first "Godfather," is my favorite movie. "Godfather, Part I." Every time it's on TV, I leave it on and watch it. Everything is just phenomenal in that movie.

Al Pacino is my favorite actor.

My last meal? I'd have to say a nice surf and turf, filet mignon with lobster. Yeah, no doubt about it. And a glass of wine with it. Red wine.

The best book I ever read was the biography of Anthony Kiedis, the singer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love music, and his biography was really good.

I like pretty much all kinds of music. Red Hot Chili Peppers is up there. I listen to the old Guns N' Roses. Metallica. In the summer, I can listen to Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. It depends on the mood. I like hip-hop, as well.

I play guitar. I have a good time with that. I can jam. I can sing, but I just do it by myself because I know I'm not good at it.

The first thing I bought after I signed my first contract was a Jeep.

"Entourage" is the TV show I try not to miss. I've liked that show since the first season. You watch the first couple of episodes and you don't want to miss the rest of them.

There's been a lot of good advice, but I remember my dad telling me when I was 16 or 17, and starting to have a career, to be nice to people on the way up, because they're the same people you're going to meet on the way down. It's something I always kept in my mind, because when things are going well, you want to make sure you don't change your approach.

Generally, I'm pretty good at knowing what's good advice and what's bad advice.

I want my epitaph to say, "Here lies Jose Theodore, who was a positive guy."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

José Helped Former Teammate Kick Some of His "Eccentricities"

While on Twitter sometimes I do a "José Theodore" search to see who has mentioned him and in what capacity. A couple nights ago I ran across an article that appeared in The Vancouver Sun about the Capitals' Karl Alzner and how he has stopped his rituals that bordered on OCD behaviors. And the article mentioned that José was the one who helped him with that.

Thanks to loyal reader, miseenjeu, for bringing it to my attention in case I'd missed it. I appreciate all of my readers who send me José tidbits. I try to catch a lot of stuff out there, but I do miss some, so feel free to send me anything! ;o)

Here's the article:
Capitals' Karl Alzner replaces eccentricity with solid play
By Ian Walker, Vancouver Sun January 13, 2011
There’s a fine line between superstition and obsessive compulsive disorder. And for a long while, Washington Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner had a foot firmly planted on both sides of the border.

Alzner used to tap his stick on the bench 88 times during the singing of the national anthem as a junior with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen. That’s a tap for almost every second of O Canada. And as recently as a couple of years ago, the 22-year-old would have to throw a ball of tape against the wall in the dressing room in the lead-up to games. If he didn’t catch it in a certain way … aw, heck, let him tell you.

“If my reaction wasn’t just right I’d think my reaction on the ice was going to be bad, no joke,” said Alzner, who along with defensive partner John Carlson likely will be responsible for shutting down the Vancouver Canucks’ top line during Friday’s NHL game at the Verizon Centre (4 p.m., Sportsnet, Team 1040). “The thing is, it was made of tape, so it’s never going to be perfectly round. It was never going to come off the wall the same way every time. There was no way I could control these things, but I’d let it weigh heavily on my mind and let it affect my play on the ice when really it had no bearing at all.”

Alzner’s “routine” started hours before the game and lasted right up until puck drop. At precise times, he’d move from the floor ladder to stretching exercises before finishing his off-ice warmup on a stationary bike. Then came the tape. Once on the ice for the pre-game skate, he’d only allow himself to curl into the right side boards twice.

“It’s weird what your brain thinks will help you when you’re younger,” continued the Burnaby Winter Club product and two-time gold medallist with Canada’s world junior team.

This marks Alzner’s first full season with the Capitals after spending the better part of the past two campaigns with the team’s American Hockey League affiliate, where he won back-to-back Calder Cup titles with the Hershey Bears.

But his past eccentricities didn’t end at the rink. The fifth overall pick in 2005 was known to make his own clothes in junior in an attempt to stay ahead of the fashion curve.

“That was pretty fun, but it was pretty short-lived,” said Alzner, with a laugh. “Me and another guy would buy hats and spray paint them as well as cut up T-shirts then sew one half from each together. We’d cut up jeans and stuff. I’ve always wanted to be different and be one step ahead of everybody. Now I stick with going to the store.”

No wonder. A big reason Alzner didn’t make the Capitals sooner was more to do with his hefty contract than his skill. The 6-2, 210-pounder can earn up to $1.65 million this season, half of which comes in the form of bonuses. Washington has been near the salary-cap threshold the past three seasons.

“I fully expected he’d make their lineup right off the bat,” said Hitmen general manager and head coach Kelly Kisio. “The amount of time he put in and the effort he put in for us was outstanding. He has everything a good defenceman needs. He has good size, skates well, handles the puck well — I thought he’d be there for sure. It’s just sometimes there’s things as a player you don’t control. But it was just a matter of time.”
It was former Capitals backup goalie Jose Theodore who finally convinced Alzner to eliminate many of his superstitions from his game. Theodore was guilty of a few unnecessary customs himself and it took him 10 years before the now Minnesota Wild netminder figured things out.

“In my first season of pro he saw what I was doing and told me that he used to be just as picky about things and all they were doing was sapping energy he should have been focusing on the game,” said Alzner, who was named the CHL’s top defenceman in 2008. “It’s important not to overthink things. There’s enough things to worry about beside what time I got on the bike, tapping my stick a certain number of times and whether I caught a ball of tape right.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Theo Still Not Practicing Today

From Russo's twitter:

"Strength coach Chris P-W tending goal, too. 3 goalies w Khudobin and Backstrom."

Then a bit later:
"Niklas Backstrom, who hasn't started since Dec. 31 because of a hip injury, is practicing this morning. Matt Hackett was reassigned, meaning Backstrom should be at least able to back up tomorrow against Vancouver.
I'll look to get an update after practice."

So that would indicate that Theo will not be dressing for the game tomorrow either. I hope we get an update on his status today. :o(


Tidbit about "ugly goals" that goalies endure. I'm referring to the 3rd goal scored against Khudobin last night. Poor kid. I felt so bad for him. And as it bounced in, I thought, "I bet every goalie has had at least one of those in their career." Then I read Glen Andresen's 5 Takeaways today, and he mentioned the very thing:

"Khudobin gave up two goals in the first period tonight, both coming on snipes by Kevin Porter and Milan Hejduk. Of course, everybody’s going to remember the goal that Khudobin gave up in the second when a bouncing, fluttering floater sent into the zone by Tomas Fleischmann fooled the Wild keeper and skipped between his arm and body.

Khudobin slumped. The crowd groaned. And meanwhile, the three Wild goaltenders that rank higher on the depth chart – Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding and Jose Theodore – watched from the player’s lounge along with PR guru, Aaron Sickman. Immediately, the three began telling each other stories about nightmare goals they’ve let in.

The goal didn’t happen because Khudobin is a young AHL-er. The goal happened because every goalie is going to allow one of those in their career."

Exactly, Glen, exactly. And I bet those older goalies had a few encouraging words for Anton after the game. They're good guys like that.

Friday, January 14, 2011

In-Game Photos from Past Few Games

Since José isn't playing tonight, or even on the bench, I'll take this opportunity to post some photos from the past few games.

From the Pittsburgh game on the 8th:

From the Dallas game on the 9th:

From the Nashville game on the 11th:

Then this one was before the Dallas game. He was talking to his friend, Stéphane Robidas. They used to play together in Montreal.
And it reminded me of this photo I'd seen some time ago. It was taken long ago at Stéphane's wedding.
And here was another from the wedding.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Theo Has a Hip Injury (Not Practicing Today) (Edited again)

"No Backstrom, no Theodore on ice for practice. Khudobin and strength coach Chris P-W tending goal"

"Theodore has hip injury; Khudobin more than likely starts vs Avs, says Richards...

Edit: More on the Theo injury situation from the Wild beat writer:

Jose Theodore didn't practice this morning and is questionable for the game against the Avalanche. Like Niklas Backstrom, Theodore has a hip injury. Coach Todd Richards said Anton Khudobin will more than likely start, and Theodore may back up if he feels OK.

I'd think you'd want him to rest like Backstrom (why use him as a back up?), so I can see a callup from Houston later on tonight or in the morning. But it doesn't sound like a major injury. Richards said he first became aware of the issue with Theodore in Pittsburgh, but he played and shut the Pens out. I thought I noticed Theodore smarting in the third period in Boston and made note of it on Twitter in a TV timeout.

This makes the decision to start Theodore in the second half of a back-to-back against Dallas on Sunday a curious one, especially in light of the Wild knowing he had a hip issue and Richards saying all day the day before that the team needed to be "smart" about its starting goalie decision against Dallas.

Richards said today: "Talking with him and talking with our trainers, he felt he was OK to play. And when players say they're OK to play, who's to say that they can't play?"

That's fine and dandy, but I will remind you Richards said before the Pittsburgh game even started that he guaranteed that no matter how the Pittsburgh game went, Theodore would tell him he could start vs. Dallas and that being the case, the staff would make the decision on the flight home.

But, hey, this is easy to say now. I'm sure Richards knew it would be a tough game for his team. Sorry, 7 p.m. game one night in Pittsburgh, 5 p.m. game the next night at home. Wild weren't going to have legs that night. Theodore's coming off a shutout and fourth straight Wild win. You want to continue the momentum, I'm sure."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

José Questionable For Thursday Practice Due to Lower Body Soreness

Blog from the Wild beat writer whose name I don't want to speak right now. ;p

The Wild may suddenly have a goaltending dilemma.
With the Wild prepping for an important two-game homestand against divisional foes Colorado and Vancouver, goalie Jose Theodore is questionable to practice Thursday due to "lower body soreness," GM Chuck Fletcher said.

Theodore was examined by doctors Wednesday afternoon and the team will know more Thursday.

Goalie Niklas Backstrom is expected to be shut down for at least the next four or five days with a strained hip flexor.
If Theodore can't start against the Avalanche on Friday, that leaves Anton Khudobin, who's 2-0 in three NHL appearances (one start).

The Wild, which has lost two in a row, didn't practice Wednesday.

He also had to back out of his public appearance tonight. Feel better soon, Theo!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Audio of Post Game Interviews (Richards, Cullen, Theo)

Yet another reason José is my favorite...he wasn't going to make excuses. He admitted he made mistakes on 2 of the goals, and he said he can't let that happen. So all the haters out there can back off. He doesn't need to be beaten up anymore than he's already beating up himself.

Nice of Coach Richards to be a dick about it though...everyone is always quick to point out "when it's the goalie's fault." If other players suck, they don't usually name names...when they aren't happy with the goalie it's a different story. I have a feeling Khudobin will start on Friday the way Richards blamed José for this one.

I would just like for all of them to remember how he helped the team last week and maybe cut him some slack.

And thanks to thepatronsaintx for this Jacques Plante quote:
"Goaltending is a normal job, sure. How would you like it in your job if every time you made a small mistake, a red light went on over your desk and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you?"

Gameday, Wild at Predators 1/11/11 (Preds win 5-1)

I just got home, so the game was already down to 5:00 minutes in the 1st period. It was 1-0 when I arrived, but the Wild just scored, so it's now tied at 1-1.

The game is tied at 1-1 after 1 period. José faced 6 SOG. I can't really comment on how the period went, because I missed most of it. :(

After period 2 the Wild trail 2-1. That 2nd goal was a bit unfortunate. It came off of a rebound. Unfortunate, that's for sure, because that's what everyone's going to be focused on if they lose. He's had great saves though too. Of course, a certain sports writer is already talking crap about him, after loving on him just a couple days ago. Whatever.

Faced 10 SOG on that period.

And the final ended up 5-1. ~sigh~ Let me just say, this was not a goalie loss, this was a team loss. I'm not going to say José was perfect, because he wasn't. But he can't be expected to be. And he can't be expected to save the team when they fail to score.

It's really sickening to read all the crap out there tonight. Just a few days ago everyone was on the Theo Bandwagon. Yay, Theo, you're so awesome. Well, guess what..he's still the same guy, same goalie he was after Saturday's game, folks. Just because he doesn't win every game is no reason to talk crap (I'm really trying not to be as angry as I was on twitter tonight.) I don't know why I even go to the forums. And the Wild forum wasn't that bad was other places.

And a certain sportswriter can kiss my left foot.

José was pulled after the 4th goal was scored in the 3rd period. He played 50:39 minutes. He saved 21 of 25 SOG.

But we all still believe in him, and we know he'll bounce back!! Haters to the left!!! He's still a BAMF (see below...thanks, Berni, for getting me addicted to the LOL generator!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Theo is One of the Choices Again for Wild Play of the Week

Vote for Theo!!! This was his great glove save from the Dallas game...the one that prompted the Dallas announcer to call him a "kitty cat." ;o)

Minneapolis StarTribune Article from After the Dallas Game

Here's another article, this one after the Dallas game Sunday night. It gives some details about the decision to play Theo instead of Khudobin.

I can't post text from Star Tribune articles, so you can follow the link to view the article.

I thought these were cute screen caps of Khudobin looking at José during a time-out. 24-yr-old Khudobin would've been 16 during Theo's Hart/Vezina season.

Pioneer Press Article: José Theodore Becomes the Big Man in Goal for Minnesota Wild

This was an article that showed up early Sunday morning. (I'm still trying to get caught up from all the flurry of activity after José's stellar week!) This is found at, Pioneer Press.

Jose Theodore becomes the big man in goal for Minnesota Wild
Goalie showcases his ability with Backstrom sidelined

By John Shipley
Updated: 01/09/2011 12:38:04 AM CST

PITTSBURGH — José Theodore spent a long summer waiting for an offer that never came, and it was something of a shock. The goaltender was 30-7-8 with the Washington Capitals in 2009-10, and if his 2.81 goals-against average seemed high, the way he finished the season should have squelched doubts about whether the veteran's competitive days were behind him.

He finished the season without a regulation loss (20-0-2) between Jan. 13 and April 9.

"To be honest, I was a little surprised I didn't get offered," he said. "But in the end it's the old saying, 'If it's meant to be, it's meant to be.' "

It appears the hockey gods had something in mind for Theodore, who started his fourth straight game for Minnesota on Saturday night, helping the surging Wild blank the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 at Consol Energy Center.

Theodore made 26 saves to win his fourth straight start, and improved to 5-1-1 with a 1.82 GAA in his past seven starts for Minnesota, which signed him on the fly after a knee injury knocked out backup Josh Harding for the season.

"He's been unbelievable. I can't really say much else," said wing Cal Clutterbuck, who scored his team-leading 13th goal Saturday. "For a guy who wasn't in training camp, and didn't have a training camp, he's been great right from the start. He's been a huge, huge part of why we are where we are."

And where the Wild were on Saturday was seventh place in the Western Conference, a remarkable fact considering that on Dec. 17, Minnesota was 14th. Since then, however, they've gone 8-2-1, and Theodore, 34, has been a major factor since signing a $1.1 million deal with the Wild on Oct. 2.

He joined the team after its season-opening trip to Finland.

"We were lucky," general manager Chuck Fletcher said. "The fact that a guy like Jose Theodore was available to be signed at the end of September was good fortune for us."

It's been particularly fortuitous this month because Niklas Backstrom hasn't played since suffering a lower body injury Dec. 31 against Nashville, an injury he aggravated during practice Wednesday in Boston. The Wild's longtime No. 1 goaltender has been shut down for the near future and will travel to Colorado this week to visit hip/groin specialist Dr. Marc Philippon.
Philippon performed the surgery when Backstrom, 32, had hip surgery following the 2008-09 season.

Asked Saturday if he believes it's the same injury, Backstrom said: "I hope it's not. You never know. I hope it's not. It's not good, but it's not too bad. ... I'll probably find out Monday or Tuesday."

Backstrom played the tail end of that season with the injury before having surgery in April.

"You can do it for a month or two," he said, "but you don't want to do it for four, five, six months."

The Wild recalled goaltender Anton Khudobin from Houston to back up on Saturday, and he could start today's game against Dallas at the Xcel Energy Center. Coach Todd Richards acknowledged his team is riding high with Theodore but added, "It's got to be a smart decision because with Nik out, we can't afford to lose two goalies."

Richards said Theodore seems motivated to prove something after being snubbed last summer.

"He's got something to prove," the coach said. "He was sitting out there, and a lot of teams didn't think he could play, obviously. Now he's got an opportunity to play, and he's running with it."

Theodore was on top of his game Saturday, catching pucks clean and directing traffic with his stickhandling. He set up Clutterbuck's goal — which gave the Wild a 3-0 lead 6:20 into the third period — with a big save that he kicked out to a defenseman to start a three-on-two breakout.

"Every year you want to prove what you're capable of," he said. "I thought last year, especially the second half, I was able to prove that my game was there and I was feeling good. That's why I was a little surprised (in the offseason). The numbers were decent with 30 wins, seven losses. I thought we would get an offer, and it just didn't happen, so this year it's a great new challenge for me, and I love being here."

José Theodore Named NHL's Third Star of the Week!!! (Includes audio of

So proud of him!!! Here's the article:

Monday, 01.10.2011 / 11:07 AM / News
By Carly Peters  - Digital Media Coordinator

The National Hockey League announced today that Wild goalie Jose Theodore has been named the league's Third Star of the Week. In four games last week, Theo went 3-1-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a .946 SV%, including a 26-save performance to earn his 30th career NHL shutout in Pittsburgh.

Jose has started five straight games for the Wild, earning a 4-1-0 mark. His stellar performance on Minnesota's most recent road trip helped the Wild go 3-0-0 on the East Coast, including two straight victories against division leaders.

After signing with the Wild as a free agent on Oct. 2, the 34-year-old native of Laval, Quebec, has posted a record of 8-6-2 with a 2.56 GAA and a .917 SV% with one shutout in 17 games.

Theodore's selection marks the first time a Wild player has been named a NHL Star of the Week this season. Guillaume Latendresse was the last Wild player to earn the honor, with a third star selection on Jan. 18, 2010.

Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin was named the first star after leading the NHL with seven points (5-2=7), helping the Canucks post a 3-0-1 record and claim first place in the NHL standings. Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was named the second star after recording a 2-1-0 record with a 0.67 GAA, a .977 SV%, and two shutouts.

They interviewed José on today. Here's the link to the interview.

Article from Saturday (Theodore Carries Load With Backstrom Ailing)

This was an article by Mike Russo in the Minneapolis Star Tribune from late Saturday  night. Since I was away from my computer for most of the day yesterday until gametime, I didn't have time to blog it. But I still wanted to, because there's some really good stuff in it. Big thanks to loyal reader/follower, Berni, for sending me this link. I knew I'd seen the article late Saturday night, but Sunday evening when trying to remember where, I couldn't for the life of me think. She found it for me again before I went crazy. Thanks, Berni!!

Of course last night was disappointing, but let's focus on the positives! What a great week Theo had!!! And things will look up again. We believe!!

Niklas Backstrom will be shut down for at least a few days to rest an injured left hip.
By MICHAEL RUSSO, Star Tribune
Last update: January 8, 2011 - 11:57 PM

PITTSBURGH — The Jose Theodore signing right before the season continues to look better and better.

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom will be shut down for at least a few days to get his injured left hip looked at by a Vail, Colo., specialist. It's the same hip that was surgically repaired after the 2008-09 season.

On the day that was revealed, Theodore nonchalantly went out and won his fourth consecutive game with a 26-save shutout over the Penguins in Saturday's 4-0 victory.

After Josh Harding tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee in the first period of his first exhibition game this season, the Wild lucked out that Theodore still was unsigned.

"I mean, Theo's won over 250 games in this league, and you stumble into that? It was good fortune for us," General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. "He's a good teammate, he works hard every day in practice and his demeanor is great. He's been through a lot in his career. He's really brought a real stabilizing influence to our team."

Theodore was shocked it took so long to get signed. He is a former Hart and Vezina Trophy winner, one who went 30-7-7 last season for Washington, 20-0-2 in his last 22. His last time as a free agent, "I was signed in five minutes."

He put that all behind him and is now 8-5-2 for the Wild. He is 17-1-3 in his past 21 decisions against the Penguins and 19-4-3 overall.
"This is my best building in the league. First game here and a shutout," Theodore quipped of Pittsburgh's new arena.

Backstrom will fly to Vail to be examined by the same surgeon, Marc Philippon, who repaired his torn labrum two years ago.

Asked if he's worried it's the same thing, Backstrom said, "I hope it's not. You never know. It's not good, but it's not that bad either. I played with it last time. You can do it probably for a month or two. But you don't want to do it for four, five, six months."

Fletcher said: "We don't think it's anything serious at this point. Right now, Theo can run with it."

Backstrom said he hurt his hip New Year's Eve against Nashville and aggravated it in Wednesday's practice at Harvard.

"For a goalie, that 3-against-0 was not the best drill," Backstrom said, laughing. "I have to be smarter out there, too."

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gameday, Wild vs. Stars, 5:00 CST (Wild Lose 4-0)

5 starts in a row for our favorite goalie!!

Well, this game is not going so well. I really can't stand the Stars. I can't put my finger on why, but I really can't stand 'em. They are playing well...maybe that's why. ;o)

Anyway, after the first period it's 2-0, Stars lead. José has faced 10 SOG.

After the 2nd period, the Wild still trail 2-0. José faced 9 more SOG. This Wild team doesn't look like the same team of the past few games. Feels like the team from earlier in the season. Maybe the Stars are just a really good team that's giving them a lot of trouble.

Well, that was a disappointing end to the win streak. Wild lost 4-0. Poor José. He worked his butt off and played so well. "Magnificently", according to one of the Dallas announcers, and I agree. Unfortunately the Wild couldn't score, and there were some defensive breakdowns. I just hate that José played so well and this is how he was repaid. I wonder if the team was just too tired. I mean, they beat the Pens and the Bruins!

He ended up saving 24 of 28 SOG.