Khabibulin Headed Back to Russia?

ESPN.com’s Rumor Central today is reporting the Blackhawks are close to working out a deal that would loan Nikoloai Khabibulin to a team in the Continental League (KHL) in Russia.  The Russian team would pay most of Khabibulin’s salary and the Hawks would get his contract off the books for cap space.

This is a weird one to me if it’s true.  Ray Emery was persona non grata in the NHL this summer so the KHL was probably his best option, and for Wade Dubielewicz it’s probably a more lucrative route than backing up Rick DiPietro.  But Khabibulin is still a first-string goalie who lifted the Blackhawks out of the NHL basement and played over 50 games last year.  Seems to me his only sin is having a hefty contract ($6.75M) hanging around his neck.

If I’m Khabibulin and deciding between Russia (where a KHL goalie was beaten up and robbed last week) and Los Angeles (where 60 degrees F is considered winter) I’m grabbing my shades and heading to Hollywood.  Unfortunately it’s not his choice right now so I hope GM Dale Tallon allows him to stay in the NHL.

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From Russian (Fans) With Love

Latvian national team member and Dynamo Riga goalie Edgars Masalskis was robbed and assaulted last week after a Russian league game, suffering a broken ankle and probably a broken spirit.  HockeyBuzz has more of the details but the first question in my mind is did Ray Emery and Wade Dubielewicz think about this kind of thing before heading to Russia?  The photo above was taken at the World Championships last season when Masalskis was in net vs. Norway.  It would have been a better Kodak moment if he’d been playing Russia when this happened but still, it was the best way I could try to make light of the way he must have been feeling last week.  Speedy recovery to Edgars and a serious heads-up to Emery and Dubie… you’re not in Kansas anymore.

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