Nikolai Khabibulin will drop legal avenues and serve his time in order to be ready for training camp (details courtesy James Mirtle). After a drawn out process that seemed to be nowhere near its conclusion, the possibility of spending time in jail during the NHL season made the decision for him.
There is good news for Oiler fans in regard to NK. Tom Renney told Bob Stauffer today that Khabibulin will need to perform in order to keep an NHL job.
Coach Renney when asked if Khabibulin can rebound: “He better. No one knows that better than Khabbi does. My exit interview with him was very poignant. He knows what is in front of him and should he not be able to seize that then the dynamic changes and he’s well aware of that.”
Last season, Khabibulin’s SP was 45th out of 47 “regulars” (he beat bruiser Rick DiPietro and Ty “2006 G1″ Conklin) and 71st among 87 goalies overall. His final number (.890) improved after a devastating start (15gp, 4.07 .879) buried the young Oilers despite young Dubnyk being 4gp, 2.99 .923 at the time of Khabiblin’s November 2010 injury.
The interview was very encouraging for this Oiler fan. Should NK come into camp and turn back time then it’s all good; otherwise, the Oilers will move Dubnyk into the starting role and possibly employ Yann Danis in a backup role.
This has nothing to do with his legal troubles. No one is promised a job in the best league in the world. It must be earned. It sounds like Tom Renney has the courage of his convictions in regard to the goaltending in 11-12.