Nikolai Khabibulin Has A ‘Lower Body Injury'

Hawks could be without goalie for a while

The Blackhawks are having a very strong season, but they've been doing it in a way not normally seen from NHL teams. While common hockey wisdom dictates that what a team really needs if it's going to contend for a Stanley Cup is one superb goalie with a capable backup. Yet this season the Hawks are playing well with hockey's answer to a starting rotation, as Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet have literally taken turns starting games since Khabibulin mid-December when Khabibulin returned after taking a few games off with a groin injury.

Well, I hope Huet is ready to play every night again, because it appears that the Bulin Wall's groin injury has reared it's ugly, um, thigh(?) again.

Nikolai Khabibulin, who sparked the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday night, suffered what the club termed a "lower body injury" in the late stages of that game and isn’t able to practice today.

The Hawks list Khabibulin as day-to-day and said that Cristobal Huet would start in goal on Friday when the Hawks visit the Blues to conclude at eight-game road trip. Whether Khabibulin will be available for Saturday’s home game against Dallas is uncertain.

The team has also called up Antti Niemi from the Rockford Icehogs, the team's AHL affilliate, much like they did in December.  Niemi never saw any ice time during that stretch, and hopefully he won't see any this time around either.  Not that he isn't capable of playing in the NHL, it's just that Niemi's odds of playing are a lot better if Khabibulin misses an extended period of time. 

Nobody wants that to happen.

Along with writing for, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls. .

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