Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet your 2010-11 Aeros: Anton Khudobin

Anton Khudobin
Born: May 7, 1986 (24)
Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan

5'11" - 203

Catches: Left

Photo by Fred Trask

I was typing his birthdate up above and was reminded fondly of the incredible playoff game he played in 08-09, after which Aeros fans sang happy birthday to him. Easily one of my nicest memories of an Aeros game, and for those of you who rag on Steve, recall that he instigated that. Even I thought it was a little cheesy at first, but what a warm memory it turned out to be.

Anton is easy to have a soft spot for. He's a tremendous goalie when he's on. His acrobatic style and amazing flexibility are really something special. Those dimples. That accent and sort of "funny without knowing how funny he is" thing. I mean, come on.

He was fantastic enough last November to earn a spot in the AHL All Star game, but had a nasty slump after that and never really got back that success in the AHL. But he was terrific in his games with Minnesota, so how much of that was a leaky defense in Houston?

Anton hit a crossroads with the organization this summer when the Wild signed Dennis Endras and said he would not play in Houston (at least this season). They essentially put him ahead of Khudobin in the ladder to Minnesota and, as I wrote in my blog as Anton's deadline to re-sign with the Wild approached, I wouldn't have blamed him a bit if he headed to Europe for bigger money.

But he stuck with his shot at the NHL and I think Houston is fortunate for that. He's improved every season, and I don't think he's hit his potential ceiling. It will be fun to see what unfolds for him this year and I think having Tordjman and Hackett nipping at his heels will be good for him.


Fred Trask said...

It is indeed a warm memory. He was grinning from ear to ear. The crowd was awesome to join in and make it a very special moment, one I am certain Anton will never forget. It's one of my favorite photos too.

artandhockey said...

Was sick and had to miss it but listened on the radio.. and the photo is phenomenal... wishing him the success he should have - never mind Tordjman, Hackett or Endras!
The word for this is hope...