(Updated) Khudobin will make first NHL start Saturday against Philly; Gillies suspended

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  • February 5, 2010 - 3:53 PM

By Brian Stensaas

3:45 p.m. update: Aeros LW Colton Gillies, who played 45 games with the Wild last season, has been suspended two games for checking a Peoria player from behind on Wednesday night. Gillies, who received a major boarding penalty on the play and was ejected, will miss tonight's game at Milwaukee and tomorrow's game at Grand Rapids.

I've just left a pretty quiet, yet pretty loose Wild locker room. It was a mix of on ice activity and off today, with just 12 skaters and two goalies taking sticks and pucks. Everyone else was around, but did not fully suit up.

The big news is that after practice, coach Todd Richards came right out and said Anton Khudobin will get the start tomorrow night against the Flyers. It will be his first NHL start after making his NHL debut last night.

Richards informed the media before he informed Khudobin.

"I'm sure he'll be excited," Richards said.

Was he ever.

Khudobin spoke with reporters for over 10 minutes today - beaming the entire time. He had some pretty funny stories about last night; how his cell phone was blowing up with calls and texts. His agent called, of course, and so did his parents. But some of the numbers he didn't even recognize.

"All were just congratulations," he said.

This is clearly a kid super happy to be here. He's a pretty funny guy, too. You'll read a lot more about Anton Khudobin - the kid, the man, the goalie - in tomorrow's paper.

Wade Dubielewicz, by the way, will backup Khudobin tomorrow. Each has his own locker stall now. No more folding chairs.

Josh Harding received a cortisone shot in his hip today, meaning he'll be shut down for three days, Richards said. That's the only update we have on him so far.

Nicklas Backstrom had a "procedure" done yesterday in relation to his ongoing illness, Richards said, and had to do nothing for 24 hours. The hope was to get him to work out  this afternoon, and then on the ice tomorrow morning. But even so, Backstrom has skated once since Jan. 23. So he's still a ways off from being ready - likely Wednesday against Phoenix at the earliest.

"He's a guy that's always taken care of himself. He's developed a lot of good habits taking care of himself," Richards said. "We want to get him back into the mix as soon as possible. I'm pretty confident that once he gets back into his routines, he'll be right back to his old form."

That "procedure" by the way, is still unknown. I'm told the Wild might release something this afternoon. So stay tuned.

I did see Backstrom milling around the locker room today, but through the PR staff he declined to talk with reporters.

Also on the injury front, Chuck Kobasew again laced up the skates - as he's been doing for a week now - and took a few laps around the ice to test out his left knee.

"It's a start," he said.

That's all for today, folks.

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