Nikolai Khabibulin left last nights game in the first period with an apparent lower-body injury. Khabibulin gave up two goals before being taken out of the game. He was replaced with Corey Crawford, who didn’t fair much better. He gave up five goals on 22 shots. Crawford gets a pass here as he has carried the bulk of the workload and deserved a night off. I wouldn’t be surprised if the last thing on his mind was coming in and relieving Khabibulin.
This wasn’t Khabibulin’s first bad game this year. He has started four games. He has one win and a goals against average of five to show for it. It may be time for the Chicago Blackhawks to move on from him. In the beginning of the season, I liked the Blackhawks bringing Khabibulin in as a backup to Crawford. He was a cheap veteran option who was supposed to carry just enough of the work load for the Blackhawks to give Crawford a few nights off.
At some point, the Blackhawks have to look at their organization and decide whether or not he is still the best option as Crawford’s back up. We are only a quarter of the way through the NHL season and he has yet to show that he is. I thought maybe it was just a slow start and he would rebound similar to the way Martin Brodeur did. It hasn’t been the case.
The Blackhawks are going to need someone they trust back there. I would look to try and move Khabibulin or outright release him if this continues.