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Rambler's Top100

31 октября 2001 года.
The Bulin Wall tough in Tampa // Toronto Sun

By LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

The National Hockey League has changed in the two years since Nikolai Khabibulin hung a "gone fishing" sign from his crossbar. 

There are three new teams, opposing forwards are allowed to crowd the crease, and four-on-four overtime can be a goaltender's nightmare. 

"It seems like players are getting bigger, with better (one-piece) sticks that make them shoot harder," Khabibulin said yesterday morning at the Air Canada Centre. 

But the one thing that hasn't changed is Khabibulin's status as a world-class stopper. A two-year contract hiatus while a member of the Phoenix Coyotes and a transfer to the Tampa Bay Lightning last March, the second worst team in the league, hasn't dulled his edge. 

Going into last night's 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs, the Bulin Wall had a .920 save percentage to go with a career 9-6-3 record against Toronto, including three shutouts. 

"I think he's the most under-rated goaltender in the NHL," said Travis Green, a former Coyote and present Leaf. "Being out in the west in Phoenix (a non-hockey town), they didn't make the playoffs often and people attributed that to the goalie. But he's awesome." 

The Lightning traded for the 28-year-old Khabibulin and signed him to a three-year deal plus an option at a base salary of $14 million US that can reach $25 million if he hits the incentive clauses. 

Heading into last night, Tampa was just a game under .500, on a 4-2-1 roll since the team dropped its first three. 

"We're trying to develop a system rather than play as individuals and the last few games we've played well," Khabibulin said. "Management's going to build the right type of team." 

General manager Rick Dudley has tried to balance one of the youngest teams in the league (five players under 22) with veterans that include forward Dave Andreychuk and defenceman Grant Ledyard. But like the Leafs with Curtis Joseph, the Lightning often rely too heavily on their last line of defence in Khabibulin. Dudley is beating the bushes these days for a defenceman. 

"Other than the (5-0) debacle at home against Florida (Oct. 7) when no one showed up, our games have been competitive," coach John Tortorella said. "In our past five games, we've cut (the opposition's) scoring chances down to 9.5 a game. 

"We have to do that. There's not too much room for error with our club. This team we're playing makes a ton of mistakes and Curtis Joseph is there every time. We're getting a taste of that now and I think it has helped our confidence." 

Страничка Николая Хабибулина на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


11 октября. Показатели Хабибулина продолжают подать. 

7 октября. Воробьев помог Хабибулину одержать первую победу в составе «Блэкхаукс». 

23 сентября. Хабибулин пока не показывает свой лучшей игры. 

5 августа. Хабибулин перебирается в Чикаго. 

29 марта. Хабибулин и Лекавалиер в центре внимания прессы Тампы. 

2 февраля. Николай Хабибулин: "Думать в воротах - непозволительная роскошь" - Спорт-Экспресс

22 ноября. Афанасенков против Хабибулина // "Спорт-Экспресс"

23 октября. Хабибулин и Каспарайтис - в "Ак Барсе" - "Спорт-Экспресс"


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года