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Chicago keeps Raanta on roster over LaBarbera

Jan 4, 2014, 11:53 AM EDT

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: Jason LaBarbera #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks particiaptes in warm-ups beofre a game against the Vancouver Canucks at the United Center on December 20, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images

Now that Corey Crawford has returned from a lower-body injury, the Chicago Blackhawks needed to chose between keeping veteran goaltender Jason LaBarbera or 24-year-old rookie Antti Raanta to serve as his understudy.

The Blackhawks made their decision known today by sending LaBarbera to AHL Rockford.

Given that Raanta excelled during Crawford’s absence to the point where he was named the co-winner of the NHL’s rookie of the month award, this move doesn’t come as a surprise. At the same time, there was an argument to be made for keeping LaBarbera.

With Crawford expected to get a clear majority of the starts now that he’s back, perhaps Raanta would have been better served by returning to the AHL where he could get more playing time. After all, Raanta is making the transition from European to North American hockey this season.

Nikolai Khabibulin remains sidelined with a lower-body injury that has already forced him to miss nearly a month and a half. Once Khabibulin is ready to return, the Blackhawks will make another adjustment.

  1. bwana63 - Jan 4, 2014 at 12:39 PM

    Yawn. Nothing against LaBarbera, but given the way Raanta has performed, was this ever in doubt?

  2. agentdw - Jan 4, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    actually, that last point about Khabibulin is incorrect. he will not play another game for the Hawks, he was HORRIBLE when he played. Raanta gives them a big upgrade at the #2 goalie spot. as soon as Khabi is healthy, he’ll be put on waivers and cut. you heard it here first…

  3. slysipops - Jan 4, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    THIS IS NEWS ? why any doubt ? how about an article about how dumb it was to bring back the BOLLIN WALL (?) , when he was not too good when he left here, and didn’t improve while he was gone?

    • endusersolutions2013 - Jan 5, 2014 at 1:06 AM

      He’s morphed – he’s now the Bulin Sieve

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