RDS and Bob MacKenzie are reporting that Nikolai Khabulin is officially on waivers.
Frankly, I’m surprised. I could have SWORN the Blackhawks were going to drop $12.375 million on goaltending and leave promising young netminder Anti Niemi up in the press box to eat all the popcorn he wants. That made a lot more sense.
This flies in the face of everything the Blackhawks have been saying all summer. The link’s dead now, but earlier in the summer, I found an article where Chicago GM Dale Tallon said he had no plans to move either goalie (not that Huet, who just signed this year, was ever in danger of that). In fact, just the other day, the Chicago Tribune ran an article headed “NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN AND CRISTOBAL HUET IN BATTLE FOR BLACKHAWKS GOALIE JOB.”
“We have two great goalies here,” Savard said. “We’re very fortunate to have both of them. The best is going to play every night.”
So all that was a lie. What this means, of course, is that Chicago finally wised up and is now in the process of ridding itself of an albatross contract that it never should have signed in the first place. But no one’s going to want Khabibulin, at least not for $6.75 million. This has to be the first step in the buyout process. The only thing I can’t believe is how long it took to get to this point. They had to have known there was no way this was a tenable situation, right? I mean, almost SEVEN million for Nik Khabibulin? Really? Why would Chicago put it off this long, and lie to its fans in the process? It doesn’t make any sense.
Serious question: Is this the biggest non-surprise of the offseason?