ST. PAUL — Zane McIntyre’s first extended NHL stay is nearing its conclusion. Anton Khudobin, last seen in uniform on Oct. 22, is close to being cleared to take his place as Tuukka Rask’s backup in the Bruins goal.
But McIntyre can say that he dressed for an NHL game in his home state, with mother Kelly Jo and older sister Jade in attendance.
“Definitely a level of pride she’s experiencing,” said McIntyre, 24, a native of Thief River Falls, Minn., of his mother’s joy at seeing her son reach his goal. “But at the same time, too, she probably knew growing up that I had it in me — that inner belief and self-belief that, ‘Hey, he can do whatever he wants if he puts his mind to it.’ ”
McIntyre acknowledges that all hockey parents make sacrifices to help their children enjoy the sport and advance through its levels. But the rookie goalie knows that his mother and late grandmother Susie worked harder than most to get him the ice time and gear he needed.
At times, McIntyre’s mother, who is divorced from his father, worked three seasonal jobs to help meet her children’s needs. McIntyre’s grandmother helped shuttle him to and from games. She lived in Grand Forks, N.D., but moved to Thief River Falls because she was driving her grandchildren everywhere for hockey. Amid it all, McIntyre said, he felt like a normal kid.
“She was definitely bouncing around,” McIntyre said of his mother. “On top of that too, she was just trying to make the everyday mom duties as well — dropping us off, making dinner, doing laundry, all that stuff. It was nonstop, 24-7 for her, and for my grandma helping out.”
Their work inspired the goalie, following his sophomore season at the University of North Dakota, to change his last name from Gothberg to McIntyre. He also pays tribute to his grandmother with his mask, which features a drawing of her clutching a Diet Coke and wearing a Bruins jersey. Underneath, it reads, “Love You Grandma Susie.”
“Combination of A, financially, and B, time constraints, getting us to where we needed to be,” McIntyre said. “They did a good job of divvying up the responsibilities and taking matters into their own hands by getting other jobs to help pay for activities. It was pretty special to see them taking the extra step and doing a lot more just to provide for us and give us the opportunities.”
Jade, a stay-at-home mother, traveled to St. Paul from her home in Chicago to see the game. Kelly Jo drove approximately five hours to arrive at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday evening. She also attended McIntyre’s debut at TD Garden on Oct. 25 and his first start the following night at Madison Square Garden.
McIntyre is barely two months into his professional career. But he is mature beyond his years, partly because of how his mother and grandmother helped him achieve his dreams.
“It definitely directly affects what I’m going to do as a human being and as a family guy,” McIntyre said. “It was just leading by example. I got to see that and experience that first-hand.
“Going forward, it’s just a little bit of humility and a little bit of understanding what sacrifices are needed in order to be a good influence.”
David Pastrnak was not available against the Wild because of an undisclosed injury. Pastrnak missed two previous practices and did not participate in the Bruins’ optional morning skate Thursday. He is considered day-to-day.
Pastrnak has 10 goals, second in the league only to Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine (12) as of Thursday. Riley Nash was tapped to replace Pastrnak alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Nash landed one shot on net in a season-high 17:30 of ice time.
“I’m not one of those guys that’s going to put up 60 points a year,” said Nash. “So I’ve got to try and find ways to be valuable to the team and find ways to earn more minutes.
“It’s something I’ve tried to do over the last couple years — be responsible in my own zone so I don’t have to put up that many points.”
Nash had been the No. 3 center between Matt Beleskey and Austin Czarnik.
Up for Olympics
Bergeron has a trophy case full of Olympic gold. He helped Team Canada win it all in 2014 in Sochi. Four years earlier, Bergeron and the Canadians struck gold in Vancouver. So if the offer is on the table for NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Bergeron will have his hand raised.
Bergeron will be 32 years old. It might be his final opportunity to complete the Olympic gold hat trick. Marchand, his Bruins linemate and left-side man at the World Cup of Hockey this year, has never played in the Olympics. Marchand would be a lock to make Canada’s roster if the NHL lands in South Korea in 2018.
“I had great experiences twice, so I can’t say enough about it,” said Bergeron. “It was amazing and something I’ll never forget. I do want the players to go. But we’ll see what happens. It’s supposed to be in negotiations right now, so we’ll see what happens.”
According to Sportsnet, the NHL has offered to approve Olympic participation if the NHL Players Association extends the current collective bargaining agreement. The CBA runs through September of 2022, but both sides can opt out in 2020, setting up the next lockout.
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com.