The Chicago Blackhawks’ back-up goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was dealt another blow on Sunday, when the club announced that he had been placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve.
Khabibulin sustained a groin injury in Saturday night’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Russian netminder went down in the butterfly position to make a save, and never got up. After crawling to make another stop, play was whistled down. He needed assistance to get off the ice, and starting goalie Corey Crawford finished the game in relief. Khabibulin lasted only 15 minutes in the game before the injury occurred.
Khabibulin, set to turn 41 years old this January, has played in four games so far this season, however only two of those were full outings. In those said games, he is 1-0-1. He has so far disappointed, posting a 5.00 GAA and a .810% Save Percentage in the regular season. Khabibulin was signed to a one-year, $1.7 million contract as a free-agent during the 2013 offseason.
Placing Khabibulin on the LTIR means that his salary won’t count towards the Blackhawks’ salary cap, and that he would have to miss a minimum of 10 games, making him eligible for return on Sunday, December 8 against the Florida Panthers. First-year pro goalie Antti Raanta is expected to fill the void, after dressing for tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.
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