Sep 26, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT
Nikolai Khabibulin isn’t going into the 2013-14 campaign with any illusions. At the age of 40 and behind a goaltender that recently won the Stanley Cup and inked a six-year contract extension, Khabibulin doesn’t expect to wrestle away the starting gig.
“It’s an adjustment, for sure, but I’m trying to prepare for every game like I would play, whether I will or not,” Khabibulin told CSN Chicago. “Just in case something happens. When I do that, it’s a little bit easier.”
Khabibulin will need to be ready though, because while he might not be the number one guy anymore, the Chicago Blackhawks are likely to give goaltender Corey Crawford a fair number of games off. Crawford has never played in more than 57 NHL games in a single season, so playing under him might not be the same as serving as Henrik Lundqvist‘s or Antti Niemi‘s understudy.
While the fate of the Blackhawks don’t rest primarily on his shoulders, how Khabibulin does in those games, and by extension how much Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville feels he can afford to rest Crawford, will be a meaningful factor for Chicago as they attempt to defend the Cup.
- Evander Kane: I know I can score 50 goals 0
- ‘C’-less Thornton comes out swing against Wilson’s ‘tomorrow team’ talk 8
- Joe Sakic’s now general manager in name too 4
- Update: Giroux out two weeks with lower-body injury 24
- Update: Crosby on ice with Penguins teammates Friday, leaves early 5
- Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’ 28
- Keeping Kuemper: Wild sign goalie to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.5M 15
- Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau 9
- Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’ 8
- Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks 28
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (62)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)