Monday, September 29, 2008

Waiving the Wall

The Chicago Blackhawks actually surprised some people by waiving one-part of their two-headed goalie monster and parts ways, in the short-term, to Nikolai Khabibulin-- signaling that Cristobal Huet is going to be the starter. The Blackhawks and Huet promptly had a seven-spot hung on them by the Columbus Blue Jackets.


But the Hawks, I'm sure will bounce back. The same may not be able to be said about Khabibulin. Let's face it, the man lost his touch when he moved from Tampa to Chicago and the question is who will take a flyer on him and his $6.75M salary, which could be cut in half should he be put on re-entry waivers. It seems some believe the Senators will pick up his contract, because the Sens love dealing with goaltender controversy.

No, I think the obvious choice will be the Kings and not just because they need something that resembles a goalie, but also because they would need Khabibulin's contract to get closer to the salary floor. The Kings may need to employ some midgets on the blue line, or sign me and co-host Marc Pitonzo, because we like making money for nothing and the chicks for free.

But yes, the Kings need something in net to be better than a shooter tutor, like many of the Kings goaltenders have been. While Jonathan Bernier is the future, I don't think the M-A Fleury route is the way to go with him. Bernier needs to be nurtured and brought up the right way rather than be thrown to the lions. And while Jason Labarbera seems to be amazing in the AHL, the man just can't hack it in the NHL as an everyday starter. I don't know what happens when you change from traveling on a bus in the AHL and traveling on a plane in the NHL, but it's just not working for Labarbera and he could be a career-AHL or career-back-up.

And while it'll be an expensive pick-up for probably not a lot in return, the Kings pickng up Khabibulin could do well for their young defense and keep their skilled offense in the game by getting someone who can actually make the big save from time to time. Even if he doesn't have the Cup psyche or skill he once had-- the veteran leadership he can bring to the table will be invaluable to this team in the long-run even if it's just a short-term acquisition.

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