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Wild goaltender Cam Talbot on mend after injury spoiled his Winter Classic

The 34-year-old Talbot named an NHL All Star for the first time in his career

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars
Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot eyes the puck against the Dallas Stars on Dec. 20, 2021, in Dallas.
Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL -- Whenever he hangs up the skates for good, chances are, Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot will look back on the Winter Classic more fondly than he does right now.

He will remember the once-in-a-lifetime family skate at Target Field with his wife Kelly and his twins Landon and Sloane. He will remember standing in the crease during the game with nearly 40,000 fans cheering in the background. He will remember how the temperature almost comically hovered around minus-10 degrees for most of the night.

As of right now, though, the only thing the 34-year-old Talbot can think about is the fact that he lost the game and suffered a lower-body injury in the process.

“I’m a competitor and I want to win games, and we didn’t win that game,” Talbot said. “It just kind of sours the experience. Especially when I had to come out of the game itself. Looking back on my career later on, I’m sure I’ll see it as a time where family got to come and I got to share the experience with them. But right now it just goes as a loss and I’m not really happy with it.”

The good news for Talbot? He seems to be getting closer to returning to the lineup. He has skated on and off with his teammates over the past few days, and if everything goes according to plan, he will get into a full practice some time next week.

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In a past life, Talbot might have rushed back from the injury, running the risk of making it even worse. He admitted that earlier in his career he almost felt obligated to say he was ready to go even if he was not.

“I think the older I get the more confident I get in knowing my body,” Talbot said. “Just being able to take a step back and focus on the bigger picture. Obviously missing a few weeks right now isn’t a huge deal because the games are so spread out. It’s probably as good a time as any and be able to take my time and come back from it.”

On top of returning to the lineup in the very near future, Talbot learned on Thursday that he had been named an NHL All Star for the first time in his career. He will join star winger Kirill Kaprizov in representing the Wild at All-Star Weekend from Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas.

“Humbled,” Talbot said. “It’s an honor. It’s a testament to the team as well. Anytime anyone’s nominated to an All-Star Game, it’s a collective effort, I believe, and obviously I couldn’t do it without the guys in front of me.”

While he’s certainly looking forward to the All-Star Weekend, the top priority for Talbot is helping the Wild make a run at the Stanley Cup. He believes this group has what it takes to do something special.

“You could see from the start of the season, when we were a healthy team, we were right up there with the top teams in the league,” Talbot said. “I believe that’s where this team belongs. We are just going through a stretch that every team goes through during a season. You get a few injuries and obviously right now with COVID and stuff like that. The best teams in the league come out of it on the other side stronger. And I believe this team can do that.”

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