(photo courtesy of LTD)
Despite being coaxed back into joining the Carolina Hurricanes after jumping ship to the KHL, Anton Babchuk’s second stint with the Canes is nothing more as the 26-year-old defenseman was dealt yesterday to the Calgary Flames along with Tom Kostopoulos in exchange for Brett Sutter and Ian White.
A native of Kiev, Ukraine, Babchuk spent three seasons in Raleigh before departing for Russia’s Avangard Omsk before being lured back to Carolina for a one-year $1.4 million contract. In 17 games this year he has only scored 8 points and is a -4 +/-. Babchuk will now be with his third NHL team having started his career in Chicago in 2003-04. In 185 career he has scored 26 goals and has 43 assists for a total of 69 points. Despite being born in Ukraine, Babchuk has opted to play for Russia making his national team debut in 2000.
Continue reading “Anton Babchuk Traded to Calgary”
The Nyet Minder (cbc.ca)
The 2009-10 season is one the Edmonton Oilers want to forget as soon as humanly possible. Nikolai Khabibulin is no different, thanks to injury problems and off-ice troubles. But, as always when a new season begins, teams are reborn with a clean slate.
If first impressions tell anything, the Oilers and the Bulin Wall have a lot to look forward to in 2010. The 37-year-old nyet-minder from Yekaterinburg stopped all 37 shots he faced as he helped the Oilers shut out the rival Calgary Flames 4-0 on Opening Night. Playing in his first game since last November, Khabibulin looked to be in midseason form from the drop of the puck.
Continue reading “Comrade of the Night – Nikolai Khabibulin”
(courtesy of The Hockey News)
Nikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin has become the first Russian to sign a new contract for the 2009 off-season. The Sverdlovsk native will not be returning to Chicago where he has spent the last 4 years of his career opting to sign with the Edmonton Oilers instead.
Khabibulin signed a 4-year deal worth $15 million and will get $3.5 per season. Bulin is one win shy of 300 for his career and at 36, will bring experience to Edmonton who lost goalie Dwayne Roloson,39,to the Islanders just hours before.
This will be his fifth team after backstopping Winnipeg, Phoenix, Tampa Bay(where he won a cup) and of course Chicago respectively. Oilers fans will be happy to him between the pipes against the much hated Calgary Flames in the Battle of Alberta who he and the hawks disposed of in playoffs in April.
In the 40 games he started last year, Bulin went 25-8-7 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .919 save percentage. He should have no problem adjusting to the harsh winters Edmonton has to offer as it not too cold from his native city of Sverdlovsk now Yekaterinburg.
With the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs set to begin tonight here is a look at the Western Conference match-ups with predictions.
(1) San Jose Sharks vs (8) Anaheim Ducks
The President Trophy winning Sharks take on the Ducks in the battle of California. With a 4-2 head-to-head record in favor of San Jose the first step for the league’s top team will be a Ducks team with a new found confidence and a red-hot streak to enter the NHL’s second season. The Ducks enter the playoffs with a 7-2-1 streak but will have to battle against the team with too much depth for them to handle. Sharks in 5
(2) Detroit Red Wings vs (7) Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets first playoff appearance may be short lived as they face the Wings who haven’t missed the playoffs in almost 20 years. You can’t bet against the team which hails from hockey town as the experience out ways the Jackets’ in almost every category. Steve Mason could be the difference maker for the Jackets but dont expect them to overtake the defending cup holders. Wings in 5
(3)Vancouver Canucks vs (6) St. Louis Blues
The Blues make a return to the playoffs after a four year absence while the Canucks resurrected their season to over take the Calgary Flames for the Northwest title. The battle between the pipes should be key as Chris Mason battles Roberto Loungo who has been stellar in the second half of the season. While the Blues have experience in Keith Tkachuk and Mason the all around package is in favor of Vancouver. Canucks in 6
(4) Calgary Flames vs (5) Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks have been riding the back of Nikolai Khabibulin who has had a comeback season of such. Being the uncle for the team of boys look for the young guns to back up the experience in the front. The Flames who let the division fall from their grasp will have something to prove with the likes of Iginla. This series is a toss up lets just say Blackhawks in 7