Saturday, October 23, 2010

Jose Theodore gets little support in Wild debut as Canucks cruise

Wild goalie gets little support in shelling
By Bruce Brothers
Updated: 10/23/2010 01:11:49 AM CDT
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Jose got hosed.

His first game of the season was a long time coming for Jose Theodore, and it was a workout as the Vancouver Canucks used him for target practice en route to a 5-1 victory over the Wild on Friday night at Rogers Arena.

The loss can't be blamed on Theodore, who could have looked like a combination of Jacques Plante and Martin Brodeur and still not been enough to bail out the step-slow Wild.

"He played great," Wild defenseman Brent Burns said after Theodore faced 35 Canucks shots. "In the first period he made some great saves. It was tough to kind of throw him to the wolves like that."

At least Theodore is employed.

Despite gaudy numbers at the end of last season with the Washington Capitals, the 34-year-old Theodore sat through the summer as a free agent waiting for someone — anyone — to call.

"Obviously, I thought the phone would ring," Theodore recalled the other day. "For sure when August comes and you have no job, you wonder what's going to happen. It's really out of your control, but you can't lose sleep over it."

Theodore (the "J" is pronounced in his first name but Theodore is pronounced normally, he said) won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player as well as the Vezina Trophy as its top goaltender after the 2001-02 season in Montreal. But his numbers slipped a bit and he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2006 and then signed as a free agent with the Caps before the 2008-09 season.

Last season he compiled a 30-7-7 record, including a 20-0-4 mark in his final 24 decisions, so he was an obvious choice when Wild backup goaltender Josh Harding suffered a bad knee injury during training camp.

It probably didn't take the newcomer long Friday for Theodore to realize he wasn't playing for Washington anymore.
"A tough loss," he said.

Coach Todd Richards said before the game that he was looking forward to finally getting his new goalie some ice time because Theodore's "resume and the things he has done in the past, the things he's accomplished, speak for themselves."

On Friday night, however, Richards said the Wild made some poor decisions to leave Theodore "hanging out to dry" as Vancouver pulled away with three goals in the third period.

After this one, it must seem a long time ago for Theodore that Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher grabbed him in early October for $1.1 million for one season.

But Theodore was happy for it, and not because of the money.

"You play the game to play in the NHL, not to play in Europe," he said. "When the phone did ring, it was a good relief, and I was really excited just to get back with the guys and get back with the team. It's not just the game; it's just being around your friends and teammates. It's a big relief."

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Theodore did not join the Wild until they returned from Finland with a 0-1-1 record, then practiced hard and said his confidence was good.

That might have changed Friday night when the Canucks rained shots on him. Halfway through the game, Vancouver led 20-12 in shots on goal.

Even the prime-time Theodore of 2001-02 likely wouldn't have been able to slow the stoked-up Canucks on this night.

"They came hard," Theodore said. "I thought they played a solid game for 60 minutes."


  1. Awesome blog, ill be reading! I love goalies too, my fave is Nabby but there are plenty of great net blockers who are still in the NHL :D