Kukla's Korner Hockey
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin could be headed to Russia after clearing waivers earlier this week.
In order to shed payroll, the Blackhawks are to prepared to loan their high-priced former all-star to a club in the Continental Hockey League (KHL), Sportsnet has learned.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
“We’re weighing our options and we’ll decide in the next couple of days what we do,” Blackhawks GM Dave Tallon said via telephone Tuesday. “We’re under the cap, we’re fine. We don’t have a gun to our head. But we’ll decide in a few days what we’re doing.”
Khabibulin became expendable once the Hawks signed Cristobal Huet on July 1. Youngster Corey Crawford is ready for the NHL, as well.
The problem when trying to make a deal like this at this time of year is that everyone basically thinks they’re fine. The puck hasn’t dropped yet. Once the losses start piling up for a team that was supposed to be better, that’s when the trade talks start to heat up.
from Ken Campbell of the Hockey News,
The Blackhawks are trying to clear salary cap space by getting rid of Khabibulin and insiders say the player they’re targeting now is Washington Capitals center Michael Nylander, who has three years left on his contract with a salary cap hit of $4.875 million.
Sources say the Blackhawks have already made two serious offers to the Capitals for Nylander and believe he would be a good candidate to replace Robert Lang and play with oft-injured Martin Havlat.
more and some Luke Schenn discussion too.
added 12:32pm, as expected, via TSN,
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin cleared waivers on Tuesday as speculation of a trade continues.
Bob McKenzie of TSN just mentioned on NHL Live that Nikolai Khabibulin is on waivers. Bob said maybe Tallon knows someone will pick him up, or, if not, he comes back on re-entry waivers at half price and maybe gets picked up.
from Cris Kuc of Icing at the Chicago Tribune,
First, veteran goalie Nikolai Khabibulin will not play tonight. He had been scheduled to see his first action of the preseason. Savard’s explantation for the switch was the team wanted to get a good look at free-agent signee Antti Niemi.
With rumors of the Hawks looking to move Khabibulin since the signing of Cristobal Huet, there’s always cause for a pause when a change is made without a definitive explanation. If something is going on, it makes you wonder if it wouldn’t be better to see Khabibulin in the lineup so teams can take a look at him.
more on Chicago…
from Tim Sassone of he Chicago Daily-Herald,
(Denis) Savard appears stressed during the first week of camp, thinner and more gray, and he hasn’t been his normally enthusiastic self with reporters. It could be he’s simply preparing for an incredibly important season. Or he could be wondering what more he must do to get that new deal….
Is it possible there are some people in the front office that think the Hawks should have made the playoffs last spring?
Be serious. Savard didn’t get enough credit for the job he did, bringing the young players along like he did while managing the goaltending situation nicely by calling on Patrick Lalime at key times and getting results.
Now there’s Joel Quenneville sitting in the stands and watching practices, working for the organization as a part-time scout and consultant, which is how general manager Dale Tallon explained it.
from Brad Boron at ChicagoBlackhawks.com,
“They’re both number ones,” Tallon said. “They’re both excellent; they’re both qualified and it gives us a chance to win every night. In the discussions we’ve had with them, they seem to want to battle for the job. That will be a positive.”
While they may be fighting for minutes in the crease, Huet and Khabibulin share a mutual respect for one another.
“Cristobal seems like a really nice guy,” said Khabibulin. “I think it’s going to be fun to work with him.”
“I think [Khabibulin’s] a great goalie and it’s great that we have this tandem,” says Huet.
The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that for the 2008-09 season the organization has surpassed its previous franchise record of 13,425 season ticket holders established in 1994-95, during the inaugural campaign at the United Center. In addition, a near-capacity crowd is expected for tonight’s home preseason game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, marking the most tickets sold for a home preseason contest in franchise history.
“Chicago is a hockey city and this is a tribute to our great fans and their hunger for a return to the glory days of the Blackhawks,” Senior Vice President of Business Operations Jay Blunk said. “We would like to thank our fans for giving us their trust and support and remind them we never forget that excellence on and off the ice is what they richly deserve.”
Season ticket sales for the 2008-2009 Blackhawks season have increased 300% from October 2007 when the base was 3,400. The increase for the upcoming campaign marks one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in sports ticket sales history for a team that did not qualify for the postseason.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily Herald,
A year ago some questioned whether Kane’s size would prevent him from being the dynamic player on the NHL level that he was in juniors.
But Kane answered those questions by scoring 21 goals, leading the Blackhawks in scoring with 72 points, and winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year.
“People talk about a sophomore slump, but for us we were playing against the best players all year, the (Nicklas) Lidstroms, (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, so we have a year under our belt for that, and we have a lot of confidence,” Kane said of himself and second-year center Jonathan Toews. “People were keying on us all year. We just have to go out and play hockey.”
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
Keith Carney became the seventh player to accept a free-agent tryout Friday while the Blackhawks were taking their physicals at the United Center—a prelude to today’s first official on-ice workout of training camp.
Carney is the most interesting of the bunch invited by general manager Dale Tallon. He was a solid defenseman for the Hawks from 1993-98, getting 67 points and 275 penalty minutes in 271 games. He was a plus-26 in 1996-97 and a plus-31 the season before that.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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