The four seasons Nikolai Khabibulin spent in Edmonton were the most difficult years in Oilers NHL history. Khabibulin walks away a richer man in dollars, but it was a colossal waste of time.


  • Boxcars: 47, 3.40
  • SP: .890
  • W-L-T: 10-32-4
  • SP behind backup: .026


  • Boxcars: 40, 2.65
  • SP: .910
  • W-L-T: 12-20-7
  • SP behind starter: .004


  • Boxcars: 12, 2.54
  • SP: .923
  • W-L-T: 4-6-1
  • SP behind starter: .003 in front of DD
  1. Thank GOD that’s over. Yeah, we all knew it would be a tough haul and it was one of the truly difficult contracts in team history.
  2. You liked him going in. Always liked Khabibulin, but that contract was too much and too long and we all knew it from the beginning.
  3. What was the biggest problem? Couldn’t stay healthy, never above average during his time here. Predictable, since he was ancient when he signed. And of course the organization was so inspired by his presence they decided to rebuild the entire bloody team midway through year one.
  4. He was sure happy to come here. That was a retirement contract, who wouldn’t be happy with it?
  5. He was a good teammate. For that money, I’d be a GREAT teammate.
  6. One slip up during his time here, though. Super Bowl Sunday? Bad, bad choice.
  7. Why aren’t you angry with him? The Oilers signed him to FOUR YEARS! How did you expect this to look at the end? Actually, he played better this past season than anyone had a right to expect for a man his age. This isn’t about being mad at Khabibulin, it’s about being mad at the Oilers.
  8. He never made a difference. Khabibulin signed, got hurt, and then by the following tc they were in rebuild mode. Khabibulin–like the other veterans–was dooomed as doomed can be.
  9. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave?” Yes, although this is Springsteen’s year.
  10. Down in the Jackson Cage? Yes.
  11. This is a horrible song. I like it.
  12. It’s overmodulated. A perfect match for the last 4 years.
  13. He’s going to sign elsewhere. Who cares? Seriously. That’s like saying “hey Steve Tambellini has been hired by the Flames!” Who CARES?
  14. Cranky. FOUR YEARS!
  15. Baby. Go to hell.
  16. You’ll be sorry when the Oilers win a Stanley because of Tambellini’s hard work. Right, right. Tambellini will write a book “How to Build A Dynasty” and it’ll sit in the bookstores next to “Great War Strategies of France.”
  17. So it’s all management’s fault? Who else can you blame?
  18. The fans weren’t supportive. (blank stare).

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  1. Bar_Qu says:

    Well, I was going to say I like this song, but I’m worried your alter-ego is going to reach through the internet to hit me. Belligerent today.

    Not much you can say about NK other than hme did he best on a poor team. But that contract defines Tambellini’s tenure in Edmonton. Shiny baubles overpaid to acquire.

  2. mrzael says:

    Speaking of Tamby, has he ever commented publicly after being fired?

  3. Pajamah says:


    Still assessing what to say.

    Glad both he and Khabby are gone. What dark days of Oiler history

  4. dessert1111 says:

    I’m just a little relieved he’ll no longer be driving Yakupov to practice

  5. Lowetide says:

    Gonchar just signed in Dallas, $5M per season (times 2).

  6. dulock says:

    I always felt that Khabby’s deal was a re-do of the Roloson deal. 36 year old netminder coming off a deep playoff run that ended in injury but had a decent track record with some warts on it. They lost Rollie because they only wanted the one extra year instead of two. Rollie signs at 3.66 for 3 NK at 3.75 for four. NK’s deal looks like they tried to learn from a mistake without considering one major factorn injury history.

  7. Melman says:

    McQuaid for a 5th, Boychuk for Hendrcks, Kelly for a 2nd, Rask for Raycroft – it’s interesting to see how Boston has built their team. Mix of good drafting, savvy trades and he big Z via UFA.

  8. BlacqueJacque says:

    I’m going to get a bit anal here, but France has won more battles than any country in history. Until the rise of Germany they were *the* continental power. A better example would be Italy.

  9. jonrmcleod says:

    Most people don’t like the Khabibulin signing because of his age/health and the cost/term. But his save % with the Oilers was similar to his career numbers. This season’s .923 was tied for his highest. His 2010-11 was obviously terrible. But how many goalies would look good with that team? I don’t like the contract, but maybe the perception is worse than reality?

  10. Mr DeBakey says:

    I don’t like the contract, but maybe the perception is worse than reality?

    It was the contract for sure.
    He clearly wasn’t the best option, Roloson & Anderson were miles better.
    And of the 2nd tier options, they could’ve had Biron for $600,000.
    Remember, the Oilers were a Cap team at the time

  11. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave?”

    God Damnit LT….

    I hate, hate, hate, hate the Eagles. Crap Band.

    “it’ll sit in the bookstores next two “Great War Strategies of France.”

    Interesting typo… I’m guessing you were thinking of of the two calamities of the 20th century for French Warfare.

    This little guy named Napoleon was pretty successful. This handbook was fairly popular for a time:

    The Sun King had some pretty successful campaigns… of course, he expended huge stacks of cash.

    Further back, those crafty Gauls gave Rome hell for a long time.

  12. Lowetide says:

    Rom: I am convinced Gram Parsons death robbed the world of a country rock band who could write lyrics that were pro-women. Actually, not even pro-women, just less anti-female. Christ, even their love songs are negative!

  13. RexLibris says:

    Hey LT,

    I was going to chime in on some of your alter-ego’s opinions but I see Rom beat me to it.

    Those French did pretty well at Poitiers, more or less called the shots in Europe for the better part of 800 years, did a real number on Constantinople, and that little guy on the horse had a decent run for awhile.

    Of course, after that they kind of hit a rough patch. Those darned Teutons. They did bring us the Bikini, though, so that kind of makes up for it, no?

    On Khabibulin, the glass-half-full view is that the 4-year deal ended up bringing about the highest draft picks in franchise history and was one of the key factors in finally kicking some sense into the very thick skulls of management/ownership that they needed to change strategies.

    Say what we want about Tambellini’s lucky tie at the draft lottery, I think we could also credit Khabibulin’s lucky vertebrae/hips.

    Another positive is that the $4 million/year cap hit kept some salary room in limbo for the time when more competent decisions could be made on better players. That is a bit of a logical reach, but there is some convenient timing here with his money coming off the books and Paajarvi, Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins needing new contracts

    Oh, and point 13, Steve Tambellini hired by the Flames, that might actually improve their management structure. With Gauthier and Tambellini out of work now I can honestly say that I think the Flames are the worst-run franchise in the league (yes, that is taking Garth Snow into account)..

  14. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rom: I am convinced Gram Parsons death robbed the world of a country rock band who could write lyrics that were pro-women. Actually, not even pro-women, just less anti-female. Christ, even their love songs are negative!

    The bitterness of heartbreak — the subject of most country music — tends to mark country tunes with a pretty sharp edge towards the ladies we love most days.

    Gram, though, was an introspective, contemplative sort who could still bring the jams when needed. A great loss.

    The 90s indie scene picked up his threads in a kind of fuck you to “New Country” with the regrettable, though somewhat apt appellation “Alt Country.” I gather your music hunting stopped around the time Grand Funk’s mega tours reached peak arena.

    Give these a try:

    Uncle Tupelo, from Illinois. Short lived band started the craze of “alt country” bands. This track is my fav. the steel guitar is magic:

    Jeff Tweedy, from Uncle Tupelo, formed Wilco, easily the most famous “alt country” band. He’s done really interesting projects with Billy Bragg and Mavis Staples, but mostly he’s known for fronting Wilco. Great live band!!! I can’t underscore that enough… great live! great players and a big sound.

    probably the biggest “single” from these types of bands, the Jayhawks:

    A more recent version, a pair of tunes by the recently deceased Jason Molina:

  15. Lowetide says:

    The French gave us Bardot, I’m fine with them. I just don’t think the ‘war division’ should be writing books. Or negotiating with terrorists and kidnappers for that matter.

  16. Bar_Qu says:

    I think franco-philes get a bit sensitive about their reputation as military incompetents, but the 20th century didn’t do them any credit. But its like getting upset that Cdns are viewed as peaceful, polite push-overs. Stereotypes aren’t correct, but they are there.

    The only time NK could’ve hurt the Oil was this season & he did reasonably well (when unhurt). The deal was the killer, made by a guy hired to know better.

  17. Lois Lowe says:

    Say what you will about the French military. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t want to be a part of the Foreign Legion nor would I want to fight them. Speaking of European military history, did you guys know that the Russian army finally made the big switch to socks as standard kit?

    Khabibulin was likely wearing portyanki under his skates during his tenure with Edmonton, but he does have a Stanley Cup ring and was good in the room.

    Das vedanya Nikolai!

  18. Lowetide says:

    Rom: Thanks, I’ll give them a spin. My shopping for tunes in the country section ended up sending me into Joe Ely and Dylan copies, so if you didn’t sing with Emmylou I never knew you.

  19. art vandelay says:

    I think the Flames are the worst-run franchise in the league (yes, that is taking Garth Snow into account)..
    Since when did the Oilers give up the crown?

  20. Ryan says:

    Boys, it’s Paajarvi vs. Datysuk. Yup, you read correctly. Cast your vote!

  21. TheOtherJohn says:

    In fairness LT France had a really good run 1793 through 1815, and were fighting essentially all of the European world. Also have to ignore nearly everything that happened in Spain (where French field Marshall’s reputations went to die)

  22. dessert1111 says:

    Boys, it’s Paajarvi vs. Datysuk.Yup, you read correctly.Cast your vote!

    I just watched the previous round matchup of Datysuk vs Matthias and have no idea how Matthias lost. I guess the name of a player has a lot to do with how their play is perceived, but man that was a nice short-handed goal by Matthias.

  23. RexLibris says:

    art vandelay,

    Early days yet, but when Tambellini was fired they had to give up the seat, based on track record.

    If MacTavish trades a 7th overall pick for Scottie Upshall then they can go back to the front of the line, but until then Feaster gets the nod with his Sarich/Babchuk/MacDonald signings, etc.

  24. RexLibris says:

    Boys, it’s Paajarvi vs. Datysuk.Yup, you read correctly.Cast your vote!

    Saw that. I’d love to see two Oilers with the PoY in three years (Eberle won it year before last, iirc).

    Might also be a bit of positive reinforcement on how he needs to play.

  25. Lois Lowe says:

    The real question is: was the Jankowski pick or Moroz pick the more ridiculous reach?

  26. Gordies Elbow says:

    art vandelay:
    I think the Flames are the worst-run franchise in the league (yes, that is taking Garth Snow into account)..
    Since when did the Oilers give up the crown?

    The day Feaster attempted to sign Ryan O’Reilly to that offer sheet.

    Could you imagine what would have happened if they had lost him on waivers? Feaster can disagree with the NHL on the interpretation, but he risked a very high pick on a player that may have never been able to suit up for the Flames.

    “Wandering in the desert?” – Check
    “If the idea is, ‘Burn it to the ground,’ then (Flames president) Ken (King) can find another manager to do it.” – Check
    ”I’ve just seen the guy who’s going to be – 10 years from now – he’s going to be talked about as the best player in this draft” – Check.

    Feaster is the worst GM in Alberta, and might just be the worst GM in Alberta in a decade.

    And that’s saying something.

  27. TheOtherJohn says:


    Lay off the Moroz pick. Don’t remember who posted it but I have read that he is “Fing tough”. How tough you ask? So tough they are actually making a movie of Mitch Moroz life story with Henry Cavill in the title role. It opens June 14th

    That aint a reach pick, thats a godsend!

  28. RexLibris says:

    One last note on France, the reputation they have today is largely based on Anglo-American interpretations of the history of WWII.

    When taken in the context of a male fighting population that had been truly decimated, and faced with the loss of their capital and a geography that presented few natural defenses, it is understandable why they surrendered.

    Where the French could rightly be held to account, but so often are not, is in their support for the VIchy deportation policies. Without getting into it here, that is a black mark on the soul of the nation more than occupation.

    Never been as big a fan of Bardot as some, LT. Now, Raquel Welch, Audrey Hepburn, Norma Jean, Veronica Lake…well, enough said.

  29. Gordies Elbow says:

    Lois Lowe:
    The real question is: was the Jankowski pick or Moroz pick the more ridiculous reach?

    Mark Jankowski, 21st overall, 6’2″, 172lbs:
    Providence, 34gp – 7g – 11a – 18pts – 10pim

    Juhar Kharia, 63rd overall, 6’3″, 195lbs:
    Michigan Tech, 37gp – 6g – 19a – 25pts – 49pim

    Calgary could have had Teuvo Teravainen or Olli Maatta, and ended up with Jankowski. Personally, while I didn’t like the Moroz pick, I could see why Edmonton would take him. I still can’t fathom why Feaster/Weisbrod drafted the way they did. Planning to tank, and wanted players that were NCAA? Dunno.

  30. RexLibris says:

    Lois Lowe:
    The real question is: was the Jankowski pick or Moroz pick the more ridiculous reach?

    I would suggest Jankowski.

    Reasons being that there were better (by some definitions safer, but also more thoroughly tested) options on the table. Yet they traded down to recoup a pick in the range of the one they had earlier traded away in a toxic asset dump (Kotalik) and went with a prospect that they had seen and fallen for. It was a combination of loss of perspective (they had made up their minds and were going to ignore suggestions to the contrary in support of their own ego) and dangerous gambling (the Flames could not afford to blow another 1st round pick).

    That, taken with Feaster’s history of hyperbole suggests someone who is either ignorant of his own limitations or completely in denial of how his many failures suggest incompetence.

    Say what we will about Lowe (and I’m by no means an apologist) but he did win a few trades along the way and had the courage to stand up and say that what the organization had been doing was a dismal failure and needed to be torn down. He was miles from good, but still better than what is unfolding right now in Calgary.

  31. RexLibris says:

    Gordies Elbow,

    They believe they are the smartest men in the room.

    They set their sights on finding the best, unheralded prospects and drafting them, placing a premium on skill and hockey intelligence (with regards to the latter, defining intelligence in this case rests heavily on the one doing the testing).

    They believe they are doing what is best for the organization, but at least in Feaster’s case, have been sdetracked by ego and professional pride several times.

    Feaster in particular has a tendency to overthink, and over-develop deals, believing that if he diversifies the return enough he insulates himself against potential failure. The end result, though, is a watered down return that often results in little or no real benefit. Other times he becomes so focused on his principle return (a 1st round pick in both the Iginla and Bouwmeester trades) that he fails to appreciate possible alternatives that may be of greater benefit.

    For instance, it has been suggested that the Red Wings were offering Nyqvuist, Ouellet and a 2nd round pick for Bouwmeester. Feaster was adamant that he get a 1st round pick. Even if we subtract Nyqvuist from the deal, getting a defensive prospect like Ouellet and a 2nd round pick would arguably be a better deal than the one they got from St. Louis.

  32. Gordies Elbow says:


    I believe that it was Feaster’s insistence that he get a 2nd round pick back that led to the Jankowski pick. They wanted another pick, and this was the cost of doing business.

    I also think that they realize that bringing in players in the short term could negatively impact the long term planning, so they’ve increased their focus on acquiring NCAA players.

    They’ve started a pretty conventional rebuild, and if they get lucky with a few picks, might develop a new core around the Brodies and Baertschi’s of the world.

    If they’re unlucky? Not good enough to win it all, not bad enough to draft the skilled core.

    Personally, if anyone can make that team bad enough to draft well, I’d say it could be Feaster. Perhaps he should hire Tamby as a consultant? Or would that not play well in the media after the “desert” crack?

  33. 106 and 106 says:

    Kudos, LT,

    Funniest one so far – the blank stare ending was the kicker – got some fire to this one. Nice work.

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