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Blackhawks’ back-up Khabibulin given the yank against Senators

Oct 29, 2013, 9:54 PM EDT

New York Islanders v Chicago Blackhawks Getty Images

Is the Bulin Wall crumbling?

On Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators, Chicago Blackhawks’ back-up goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was pulled just past the midway point of the second period after allowing four goals on 22 shots.

It’s the second consecutive start in which the 40-year-old veteran puck stopper has struggled to, well, stop pucks.

Five days ago, he gave up six goals on just 25 shots faced.

So, in two of three starts, he hasn’t necessarily given his teammates, including starting netminder Corey Crawford, sterling performances. For Crawford, Tuesday’s game was supposed to be a night off to rest up.

Instead, Crawford had to come back into the game after playing the night before. This may begin a discussion about whether the Blackhawks, defending Stanley Cup champs, have confidence in Khabibulin as the back-up going forward.

Of course, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was saying all the right things prior to the game.

“We’re comfortable that he’s going to be a big part of it and help us out as we go along here … play well in front of him,” Quenneville said of Khabibulin, according to Brian Hedger of

  1. esracerx46 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    I disliked the signing from the start. Especially given the salary if he hits all the bonuses. 3 of 4 were soft tonight and 4 of 6 were soft the other night. Raanta has been doing well in Rockford, but I think he should spend the whole year there. Kent Simpson is too green yet. Bulin ain’t cutting it so perhaps its time to look at some of the UFAs out there.

  2. jpat2424 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Ok who’s available.

    • esracerx46 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:42 PM

      Dipietro. Bryzgalov. Theodore. Point taken. Call up Raanta. 7 games played 5-1 record ( was injured in his first game I believe) 2.40 gaa and .926 save %

  3. ipaintrinks - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    It’s time to give Raanta a chance. Khabibulin has been nothing short of awful in his last two starts. No need in shopping for a replacement when there’s a solid one on their AHL team.

  4. blackhawks2010 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    Raanta is ready and will do great! Bulin is done, pull the plug.

  5. letsgolightning - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    To start off, Bulin is one of the main reasons we (the Lightning) won the cup. That being said…

    He’s not even on my fantasy team, but I want to pick him up, just so I can drop him.

  6. blackhawks2010 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    Bulin gave the lightning 2 points last week….

    • pfhockey - Oct 30, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Like the way he did it in 2004…oh wait Chicago signed him.

  7. 19to77 - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    Khabby’s way over the hill. As great as he used to be, he’s done now. The ‘Hawks made a mistake wasting precious cap space on him. They’d have been better-off rolling the dice on Raanta. Might’ve let them hang on to Frolik. That would have been nice.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:16 AM

      What was also bizarre was that they did not appear to make a serious effort to retain Ray E, who’s still a backup. The failed to Retain Carter Hutton from their AHL club, and he’s now the starter in Nashville while Rinne’s out, and he has a .927 save %.

      Stan Bowman has made a lot of good decisions, and this year’s goalie decisions were not one of them.

      • 19to77 - Oct 30, 2013 at 12:21 AM

        Whoa. Fair enough that it’s not always easy to predict goaltending situations, but with Raanta, Hutton and Emery ALL in the system why the hell would you go and spend more money on a backup? For a guy that was forced to give some quality assets up to the cap this season, Bowman sure didn’t mind some needless spending on goaltending…

      • blackhawksdynasty - Oct 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        Bowman wanted to retain Emery. It was Emery’s choice to leave. He wanted a shot at being a #1 again….and had no chance of being #1 in Chicago.

      • 19to77 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        Alright, that’s fair, I can understand that. Doesn’t seem to be working out for him with Mason playing like a frickin’ wizard, though.

        Still. Why give up Hutton? Why not even TRY Raanta? Why throw $2m of precious cap space at an ancient goalie in the hopes that he’s somehow better? Especially when you’re having to give up guys like Frolik because a $2.3m cap hit is just too big. This was a real head-scratcher by Bowman. He HAD plenty of options even after Emery left.

  8. earpaniac - Oct 29, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    The Bulin Wall has more holes in it in than his namesake. Time to see what Raanta can do.

  9. joeyg88 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Bring up raanta!!

  10. agentdw - Oct 30, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Raanta had a bad preseason, which is why he didnt make the team out of training camp. also, this is his first yr playing in N. America, so he still has to get used to the playing style here as it is different from the style in Europe (with bigger ice). the only way to get used to it is to play as much as possible, which he wouldnt as Crawford’s backup. he needs to stay in Rockford and get the playing time

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