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29 января 2000 года.
Khabibulin: "I'll never come back' to Coyotes" 
By Bob McManaman 
The Arizona Republic 

Apparently, the Coyotes could offer Nikolai Khabibulin the moon in terms of a new contract and it still wouldn't be enough to satisfy the unsigned Russian goalie. 

That's because Khabibulin said it "isn't about the money" anymore. He said his stalemate with the Valley's NHL team has become personal, that he never intends to play for the Coyotes again, and that he will continue to play in the minors instead for "as long as it takes." 

Khabibulin made his comments Friday during a 30-minute conference call, breaking his silence on the seven-month dispute with Phoenix by granting his first extensive interview on the subject. 

"The chances of staying with that organization is zero," Khabibulin said. "I'll never come back there under any circumstance." 

As a restricted free agent, Khabibulin's rights are owned by the Coyotes for another five seasons. That means they can let the 26-year-old sit until the 2004-2005 season without ever having to pay him a dime. 

Just like his nickname, the "Bulin Wall" doesn't plan to crack. 

"I'm very upset about what has happened, and I will sit out as long as it takes to be in the right situation," said Khabibulin, who is 1-2 with a 1.66 goals-against average in three starts for the Ice Dogs. 

Coyotes General Manager Bobby Smith, who has said repeatedly he will not make a trade to appease his frustrated goalie, didn't wish to get into a public sparring session over Khabibulin's remarks. 

"I don't really have a comment on it," he said. "We're a first-place team right now. We're in the middle of a very exciting playoff race. Our team is playing extremely well. We made our best effort to sign Nik before the season started, and we'll deal with this when the season ends." 

Smith offered a three-year deal worth $9 million to Khabibulin in June and never heard back from the player or his agent, Jay Grossman of New York. The day before training camp started in September, Smith extended the same offer with one stipulation -- that Khabibulin accept it within 48 hours. When he didn't, Smith signed free agent Bob Essensa. Later he traded for new No. 1 starter Sean Burke. 

Asked whether he felt he could force a trade, Khabibulin said: "I think eventually something has to happen. I'm going to sit as long as I have to to play in an organization that respects players. The chances of sitting down with this organization and negotiating a new deal is zero." 

Khabibulin can play in the minor leagues without losing any of his NHL eligibility. If he plays professionally in Europe, however, he would have to wait until the following season to play in the NHL. Any team can sign him to an offer sheet, but the Coyotes would likely match it immediately. If they declined, they would receive a series of first-round draft picks as compensation. 

Khabibulin opened the conference call by reading from a prepared statement, which read, in part: 

"As for my situation with the Phoenix Coyotes, I'm pessimistic about my prospects of ever playing for the organization again. I tried very hard to reach an agreement, but I don't feel the organization ever made an effort to reach a deal." 

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