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Khabibulin eager to get in the mix
11.10.2013.Kuc, Chris. Chicago Tribune

Nikolai Khabibulin has waited patiently for the Blackhawks' schedule to pick up so the goaltender can make his first start of the season.

He'll get his chance Friday night, when Khabibulin is scheduled to get the call against the Islanders at the United Center in the first of back-to-back games for the Hawks this weekend.

Khabibulin, who spent four seasons with the Hawks from 2005-09 and returned as a free agent this summer, served as Corey Crawford's backup during the first three games.

After Thursday's practice at the UC, Khabibulin, 40, said his mindset is "just to get in and get a few shots, get in the rhythm a little bit (and) get used to playing again. I'd like to play well (Friday), but it's more important to get a 'W.' "

So far, Khabibulin's workload has been limited to practices and working the door on the Hawks' bench during games.

"I don't think it's an ideal scenario, but you want to get in and feel some pucks," Khabibulin said. "We have (had) a lot of practice time. That gives me a chance to work on things."

Killing them: Entering Thursday, the Hawks were last in penalty killing with a 44.4 percent success rate. They had allowed a league-high four goals while being short-handed seven times. This after finishing third in the NHL last season at 87.2 percent.

New personnel, sparked by the departure of Michael Frolik in a trade with the Jets, and too much indecision has been the downfall.

"We know what we have to do," veteran Marian Hossa said. "We didn't change anything from last year. For whatever reason, we kind of hesitate. ... We just have to get into a rhythm and get back to our system. Just get comfortable with it and don't think too much -- go out there and kill it."

Added forward Marcus Kruger: "It hasn't been even close to where we want it to be." Status report: Hossa said the back-to-back games with the Islanders and Sabres will be a good test for his back, which caused him to miss the exhibition season but so far no regular-season contests.

"That's going to be a good test, definitely," Hossa said. "So far, it's good and I'm pleased. It doesn't limit me."

Quenneville said the current plan is for Hossa, who previously said he will sit out some games if his back isn't 100 percent, to play Friday and Saturday nights.

Страничка Николая Хабибулина на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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