Wild coaches consider sticking with Theodore

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 5, 2011 - 12:31 AM

It wouldn't be a surprise if Todd Richards decided to stick with the hot goalie -- which, right now, isn't Niklas Backstrom.


Jose Theodore was strong in making 40 saves against the Rangers on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

Photo: Christopher Pasatieri, Mct - Mct

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Todd Richards said after Jose Theodore's 40-save effort to beat the New York Rangers on Thursday night that the Wild coaching staff will "sit down and talk" before deciding whether Theodore or Niklas Backstrom would start Sunday against the Buffalo Sabres.

But it would be surprising if Richards doesn't run with the hot goalie.

Theodore is 2-1 in his past three starts, allowing five goals for a 1.63 goals-against average and .960 save percentage

Since a 6-3-1 run with a .1.31 GAA and .953 save percentage, Backstrom has lost three in a row, allowing 11 goals. A couple of the goals lately have been poorly timed, cheesy ones.

"We're 20 guys fighting for a playoff spot," Theodore said. "We're a good bunch of guys. Even though Backy plays most of the games, I feel like I've got a big role on this team and every time I have a chance to play, I need to be on top of my game."

Theodore's biggest adjustment this year has been learning how to go from a goalie used to the routine of starting most games to starting occasionally.

"You have to do a little more in practice," he said. "When you play a lot, you get in a groove. It's almost like you walk through your routine without thinking. When you don't play too much, you have to make sure you're sharp in practice.

"Me and [goalie coach Bob Mason] really figured things out as far as what I need to do to be ready when I do have a chance to play."

Gillies gets 10 games

The Islanders' Trevor Gillies was suspended 10 games Friday by the NHL for his hit to Cal Clutterbuck's head in Wednesday's victory over the Wild. Gillies loses $60,975.60 in salary.

"By targeting his opponent's head, three shifts into his first game back from a suspension for a very similar action, Mr. Gillies has forfeited his privilege of playing in the league for 10 games," NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell said in a statement. "While it is fortunate there was no injury on the play, there can be no justification for a player delivering a dangerous check to an opponent in this manner."

Taking the plunge

Defenseman Cam Barker and broadcasters Mike Greenlay and Kevin Gorg will take part in Saturday's Polar Bear Plunge at 1 p.m. by jumping into ice-cold Lake Calhoun.

Team Barker and Team Greenlay/Gorg have been competing against each other to raise money for Special Olympics. Information on how to donate can be found on wild.com and foxsportsnorth.com. Barker will match funds raised up to $15,000.

Barker has been involved with Special Olympics for years. "My cousin has cerebral palsy, so it's very important to me," he said. "It hits close to home."

This will be Greenlay's fourth Polar Bear Plunge and Gorg's second.


• Richards tried to get Andrew Brunette more involved in the Wild's game by moving Eric Nystrom to his center and spotting Brunette in with Warren Peters and Casey Wellman on Thursday. Brunette did the down-low work on Wellman's winner.

"We have to try to find a way to get Bru into the game," Richards said before the game. "Bru needs the puck below the goal line and around the net."

• Captain Mikko Koivu was scheduled to be re-examined by a hand specialist Friday. The Wild is 3-3-1 without Koivu since he broke his finger.


    Up next: vs. Buffalo • 5 p.m. Sunday • Xcel Energy Center • TV: Ch. 45 (830-AM)

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