Wild's Dubnyk set for all-star weekend
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- During Devan Dubnyk's six-week stint playing for the Nashville Predators in this city, his wife and son briefly moved here with him.His parents visited once during what was ultimately an unsuccessful time with the Predators, o...
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - During Devan Dubnyk’s six-week stint playing for the Nashville Predators in this city, his wife and son briefly moved here with him.
His parents visited once during what was ultimately an unsuccessful time with the Predators, one that lasted less than two months before the Predators traded Dubnyk in March 2014.
But now, as Dubnyk’s career resurrection comes full circle when he returns to this city as the Minnesota Wild’s lone all star representative in two weeks, he’ll bring his family along with him, this time a chance to more appreciate what the Music City has to offer than their last time here.
“It wasn’t the most positive circumstance at that time,” Dubnyk said. “So this will be a much better trip to Nashville for sure.”
Hockey all-star games are rarely a showcase for goalies, something Dubnyk is well aware of.
But this season, the NHL is offering a different all-star game format, one that pits the league’s four divisions in a 3-on-3 tournament with a cash prize on the line for players of the winning team.
“You might even see a couple blocked shots,” Dubnyk joked. “We’ll see. Maybe a penalty or two.”
As for what is expected from the goalies in this format, Dubnyk isn’t sure. In last season’s all-star game, the final score was 17-12.
“I don’t think there’s any number to look at,” Dubnyk said when asked how many goals to expect. “Nobody knows what the pace is going to look like or what the score is going to be after the 20 minutes. There’s no real way to know.”
Dubnyk will share the Central Division’s net with Pekka Rinne, the hometown goalie who typically stars for the Predators but is statistically struggling more than usual this season.
During Dubnyk’s brief time as a Predator, he befriended Rinne, a goalie Dubnyk has admired.
Dubnyk, 6-foot-6, joked that Rinne, 6-foot-5, has made life harder on big goalies since Rinne, known for his athleticism, has helped debunked the notion that big goalies can’t be mobile too.
“I’m pretty sure he could do a backflip with his goalie equipment on if he wanted to,” Dubnyk said.
The two goalies spoke after the Wild’s last game here and planned to again after Saturday’s game before they become all-star teammates at the end of the month.
“I’m happy to be able to get that experience with him,” Dubnyk said. “Obviously it’s not his first or last (all-star game). But it’s a guy that I’m familiar with and friends with, so it’s nice to be able to spend that time with him.”
And, Dubnyk said, it’ll be nice to spend time in Nashville, a chance to enjoy this city without the career concerns that came with his brief time with the Predators.
“It’s an opportunity to get together with the family,” Dubnyk said. “Obviously it won’t be the same kind of break, but it’ll be a break. Everybody is excited to go. Just going to try to enjoy the experience as much as I can. I’m sure the on-ice stuff will be not very goalie friendly, but I’ll enjoy the time here. It’s an exciting time.”