Well, it’s off-season. With off-season comes all the crazy talk. One recent bit of crazy talk comes courtesy of Jim Matheson at the Edmonton Journal. I typically agree with a lot Matty has to say. But this one is just way off to me. The suggestion is that we should bring back Nikolai Khabibulin for a year. This is just lunacy to me.
I want to start by saying I like both Khabibulin and Devan Dubnyk. I think when each are on their game, they can be really quite good. I do think too though that Dubnyk hasn’t shown that he can be a top end goalie for much more than 45-ish games. So that’s my margin for him.. about 45 games. That leaves 37 games left to play which, if you’re doing the math, is 45% of the season.. nearly half (“thank you, professor!”). That means I see Dubnyk in a 1A / 1B situation, meaning that I think he should share the starting duties with another goaltender. The most games that Dubnyk has ever played in his career was 47. Now, this year, they really pushed the envelope and gave him more games.. so it’s possible he can eat more games. This post isn’t so much about Dubnyk though as it is about Khabibulin.
Now, let’s talk Khabi. Matheson thinks this is a good idea because Khabibulin had hip surgery last April and says he feels the best he has in a while. He missed the start of the season from recovering from the injury. That I wouldn’t say is a black mark. Each game that he played this year, he did look fairly solid. However, was it clear that the fatigue/injury issues were behind him? I don’t think so. February 9, khabi debuts on the season and plays a rather stellar game vs. the Wings in which they lose (but he deserved the win). One week later, he bails out Dubnyk in relief and steals a win.. things are looking good so far. February 19th (3 days later), Khabi allows a mere two goals in another reliable performance. The Oilers rest Khabi for a game, and then he plays against Phoenix on the 23rd of February. This again is another reliable game from Khabi, as he gets the win. The Oilers press their luck and push him another game, on February 25th. Boom.. groin injury… so 5 games into the season, he’s out with a groin injury that keeps him out of the lineup for about a month. Is this reliable??
During the month that Khabibulin was out, the Oilers Continue reading 'Edmonton and goaltending'»