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5 августа 2005 года. 
Хабибулин перебирается в Чикаго. 

«Чикаго Блэкхаукс» продолжают улучшать свой состав с помощью свободных агентов . На этот раз «черным ястребам» удалось найти ключи к лучшему вратарю на свободном рынке Николаю Хабибулину, помогшему «Тампе Бэй Лайтнинг» стать обладателем Кубка Стэнли 2004 года. 

32-летний российский голкипер заключил с «Чикаго» четырехлетнее соглашение на общую сумму в $27 миллионов долларов (в среднем по $6.75 миллиона в год). По сообщениям прессы Тампы, «Лайтнинг» предлагали Хабибулину контракт в $5.5 миллионов в год. 

«Сегодня знаменательный день в истории нашего клуба,» - заявил генеральный менеджер «Чикаго» Дэйл Таллон после подписания Хабибулина. «Именно Ника мы хотели приобрести в самую первую очередь. Мы добивались этого всю неделю, сразу после открытия рынка свободных агентов». 

В 2003-04 гг Хабибулин имел показатели +28=7-19 в регулярном сезоне, пропуская по 2.33 шайбы за игру и отражая по 91.0% бросков. В плэй-офф он выиграл все 16 поединков, при семи поражениях. Во время «лок-аута» Николай выступал за казанский «Ак Барс», где провел 24 матча. 

«Мне нравится как «Блэкхаукс» усилили свой состав в последние пять дней,» - сказал Хабибулин в интервью американской прессе по телефону из Белоруссии. «Мне нравится в каком направлении движется команда, которая к тому же является из числа «оригинальной шестерки». «Блэкхаукс» молодая и талантливая команда. Я уже выигрывал Кубок Стэнли и хочу повторить это снова». 

Tortorella won't sing the blues
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published August 6, 2005


TAMPA - Nik's gone, so get over it. 

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published August 6, 2005

That was pretty much the attitude coach John Tortorella put forth when discussing the Lightning's future without Nikolai Khabibulin.

"I'm not going to say, "Oh, god, where are we going from here?' " Tortorella said. "I think we have good people in this organization. The reason why you win is your team, and I think we're trying to get a lot of the major parts back here to compete again."

The main parts are forwards Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis, defenseman Dan Boyle, each unsigned, and a goalie.

Someone wondered if Tampa Bay could have won the Cup without Khabibulin.

"The goaltender will always be the focal point come playoffs and Nik was the best come playoff time last year," Tortorella said. "But I'm not going to disrespect the organization or Nik's teammates by saying that. I've seen how the supporting cast has come along."

Still, nothing is certain until the entire cast is in place.

"He was a big piece of the puzzle," St. Louis said of Khabibulin. "But we have a lot of big pieces. I hope all the pieces that are left are going to be here."

"In a perfect world, you'd like to keep your team together and take another whack at this," Tortorella said. "I'll put it to you this way. We will have 44 people in camp Sept. 12. We will have 44 people who want to be part of the Lightning."

Habby trails

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
Published August 6, 2005

 TAMPA - Jay Feaster was not going to sugarcoat the painful truth.

The Lightning general manager had just announced to the crowd attending the team's open house at the St. Pete Times Forum that goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, one of the key performers in 2004's run to the Stanley Cup, had signed with the Blackhawks.

The fans moaned, and Feaster said, "Is this a setback? It is."

But those are the consequences of the new collective bargaining agreement that put a $39-million cap on salaries.

Chicago gave Khabibulin a four-year deal worth $27-million, $6.75-million a season, which makes him the NHL's highest-paid goalie.

The Lightning, struggling to also fit Vinny Lecavalier, league MVP Martin St. Louis and Dan Boyle into its budget, offered $5.5-million a season in packages of three, four and five years.

"It's quite a contract," Feaster said of Chicago's offer. "It's something we couldn't match. In order for us to do what we have to do to keep this team together as much as we can, mathematically it was impossible."

"We really wanted to make it work with Tampa," Khabibulin's agent Jay Grossman said. "We understood the difficulties we faced and respected that.

"We simply looked for the best combination of playing with a competitive team and at the same time getting the financial compensation justified based on what Nik has accomplished."

And though Grossman said it wasn't part of the considerations, Khabibulin, 32, gets to work with legendary Russian goaltender Vladislav Tretiak, whom Khabibulin idolized growing up in Sverdlovsk and who is the Blackhawks' goaltending consultant.

He also joins former Lightning defenseman Jassen Cullimore, who signed with Chicago last summer.

"Definitely disappointing," Lecavalier said. "He's a big part of the club, a big reason we won the Stanley Cup. To see him go is very sad."

"It's just the way it is with the cap," center Brad Richards said. "In a perfect world we could all come back and try to win it again, but people have to make their own decisions."

Khabibulin's departure should be the catalyst for a chain of events that might shape the Lightning for years to come.

Feaster now has more flexibility to sign Lecavalier, St. Louis and Boyle. It also sets the stage for an interesting fight for the No. 1 goalie spot.

John Grahame, Khabibulin's backup, has the early lead. But Feaster said the team will bring in a goalie for a preseason competition that should be intense.

It is believed unrestricted free agent Sean Burke, last with the Flyers, is at the top of the list.

Other available free agents include Mike Dunham, Curtis Joseph, Chris Osgood, Ron Tugnutt, Byron Dafoe, Felix Potvin and Trevor Kidd.

There also could be a trade. Feaster, knowing Khabibulin could bolt, said he began laying the groundwork for deals at last month's draft in Ottawa.

As for signing Lecavalier, St. Louis and Boyle, coach John Tortorella said there is much work to do.

"The bank vault just doesn't open up here now because we haven't signed Nik," he said. "We still have a budget to be concerned about. We still have long term to look at. We're not going to start pouring money to these guys just to get them signed. Again, I say market value vs. team value. Then we'll find out where these guys are going to be."

Khabibulin struggled at times during the 2003-04 regular season but still won 28 games and set a team record with a 2.33 goals-against average. He was 16-7 in the playoffs with a 1.71 goals-against average and was second in the MVP voting behind Richards.

Grossman said the lines of communication were always open during negotiations. Still, Feaster said he had no chance to match Chicago's offer.

"He called and asked us to make another offer," Feaster said. "There was an opportunity to make an offer not knowing what was out there."

Grossman said Khabibulin's decision was not all about money, and both he and his client credited Chicago, with one playoff appearance the past seven seasons, for the recent signings of defensemen Adrian Aucoin and Jaroslav Spacek and winger Martin Lapointe.

"I like what the Blackhawks have done," Khabibulin said from Belarus during a conference call. "I really like the direction they're going. I've won the Stanley Cup and I want to do it again."

The extra $5-million he will earn over the length of the contract compared to Tampa Bay's offer doesn't hurt.

"The Blackhawks," Khabibulin said, "had the best offer."

And the Lightning has memories of a player who in three seasons plus two games set almost every significant team goaltending record.

"When Nik Khabibulin came to this franchise, he put the legs under the team," Feaster said. "He gave us the opportunity to win day in and day out. ... I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for what he has accomplished here here. I would have preferred he look at this and said, "We could win it again,' and stayed and made it work for everybody."

Страничка Николая Хабибулина на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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"

19 июля. Голкипер «Тампа-Бей» Николай Хабибулин: Кубок Стэнли оказался в Белоруссии из-за жены - Советский Спорт

18 июня. “Лайтнинг” продлили договор с Хабибулиным. 

15 июня. Николай Хабибулин: У меня в фамилии одна «л»! - Советский Спорт

7 июня. Khabibulin delivers for Lightning - Canadian Press

11 мая. Khabibulin still on even keel after loss - St.Peterburg Times

8 мая. I'm Nik Khabibulin. Glad to meet you - St.Peterburg Times

29 января. Khabibulin option likely to be paid - St.Peterburgh Times

4 ноября. Хабибулин - лучший игрок обороны в НХЛ за октябрь 2003 года. 

5 сентября. Хабибулин остаётся первым номером в Тампе. 


"ЗВЁЗДЫ С ВОСТОКА" @ c 1997 года