Theodore has one guy's back, but not three

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 10, 2011 - 11:55 PM
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Wild goalie Jose Theodore

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

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The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks owe the Wild a big piece of their playoff revenue.

All eyes in the NHL, especially in Chicago, were on Minnesota on Sunday night as the Wild, one way or another, would determine the final playoff spot in the West.

Thanks to the Blackhawks losing to Detroit earlier in the day, a Wild regulation or overtime loss to Dallas would send the Stars to the playoffs. A Wild victory would send Chicago.

Who'd the Wild help?

"I've never been more excited after a hockey game in my life that I didn't participate in," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I was acting like a 2-year-old ... celebrating his birthday."

The Wild won 5-3, in large part because Jose Theodore, who played for Quenneville in Colorado, made 26 saves and ruined the day of two of his best friends, Stars players Stephane Robidas and Mike Ribeiro.

"Coach Q in Chicago, he knows I have his back," Theodore said.

And what about Robidas and Ribeiro?

"Warmups, they were trying to bribe me and everything, offering me money," Theodore said. "During the game, Ribeiro kept telling me he needed one, he only had 19 goals. Every time I was making a save, especially at the end against [Brenden] Morrow, I just looked at Ribeiro.

"I'll bug those guys in the summer."

Brad Staubitz, Jared Spurgeon, Colton Gillies and Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored for the Wild, and in perhaps his final game with the Wild, free-agent-to-be and former Stars winger Antti Miettinen broke a 3-3 tie with the eventual winning goal against his old team.

Coach Todd Richards said the Wild was motivated by the drama, but as Andrew Brunette said after possibly his final game with Minnesota, "It never feels good to be a spoiler. Trust me, you'd rather be in [the playoffs]."

Theodore to weigh options

Theodore won his 15th game and the former Hart Trophy winner hopes he'll be a No. 1 somewhere next season.

"I think I did everything I had to do to have some options for next year," said Theodore. "I had a great time here."

If he can't find a No. 1 job, Theodore said, "For me, the door is still open [to return]. I'll see my options."

Etc.

• After the game, the Wild reassigned Spurgeon, Gillies, Drew Bagnall, Carson McMillan and Maxim Noreau to Houston of the AHL. The Aeros open the playoffs Wednesday against Peoria.

"I hope I left everyone with a good impression. Now I'll go to Houston and try to win a Cup," Gillies said.

• Unless it wins Tuesday's draft lottery to move up four spots (2.1 percent chance), the Wild will pick 10th in June's draft in St. Paul.

• The Wild still hopes to sign a couple of college and European free agents. Two players it appears to have interest in are Minnesota Duluth forward Justin Fontaine, who attended the Wild's development camp in July, and North Dakota defenseman Chay Genoway.

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