By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Zach Parise said it’s 50-50 if he can come back by Thursday night against Chicago. Meanwhile, the team continues to ask Darcy Keumper to try and keep the gate closed at goalie. So far, it’s been a welcomed challenge.

Tuesday night was a blemish in what has been a couple good weeks for Keumper.

“Yeah, like last night didn’t obviously go like we wanted to but over the last few games here, last stretch of games, we’ve been just keeping it simple,” he said.

Simple means simply executing — and he has, providing a backstop and a boost to a goalie-depleted team.

“Well he covers really well, keeps his chest up, his balance is fantastic so it affords him to get to second pucks, rebound plays, he can push and get to the second puck,” said Bob Mason, Wild goalie coach.

What’s distinctly different about Keumper is his size — which is basketball player-like. He’s 6-foot-5. You might think that’s a disadvantage but oh, how times have changed.

Bigger does not mean you can’t train yourself into an agile athlete.

“This guy’s going to move as good as anybody and they move well on their knees,” Mason said. “So he can be on his knees and he’s covering the top part of the net because his chest is up.”

That means he can utilize a common approach.

“I try to stay pretty controlled in my butterfly (technique),” Keumper said. “I’m not too aggressive, just try to let the play come to me and stay patient.”

And that means a place on an NHL team — and that’s a nice to play to be.

“Obviously this is something I’ve dreamed about growing up, so to get the opportunity to not only be called up but to get to play some games, it’s been a blast,” he said.


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