Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers

Oilers put Khabibulin on injured reserve


Odd development out of Edmonton this morning — the Oilers have placed goalie Nikolai Khabibulin on IR and recalled Yann Danis from AHL Oklahoma City.

Odd, because a number of the local media members don’t recall seeing anything wrong with the 40-year-old netminder following a 31-save effort in Monday’s 3-2 OT loss to Chicago:

Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger has been riding his veteran netminder recently, starting Khabubilin in four of the last five games, often chalking it up to a “gut” decision over youngster Devan Dubnyk.

“Khabby’s surprised me,” Krueger told the Edmonton Journal. “He’s been an unbelievable competitor in the games he’s played for us.

“He’s showing us why he won a Stanley Cup in Tampa, just on his  battle level, coming off  such a long break without games and with the [hip] injury he had.”

What’s ironic is that Khabibulin recently commented on how good he was feeling, despite turning 40 in January.

“I am very happy with how things are going, especially physically,” he told the Journal.  “Yeah, I am happy I can play.”

Edmonton is currently in the midst of a season-high nine-game road trip because Rexall is hosting the Brier, an annual Canadian curling competition that captivates the nation. Curling comes in around 4th-5th on the Stuff Canadians Like power rankings, often jockeying for position with Caesers and the Tragically Hip.

The Oilers are in Dallas on Thursday, St. Louis on Friday, Minnesota on Sunday and Columbus on Tuesday. Khabibulin could return in time for the Thursday’s game in Detroit on Mar. 7.

Update: Krueger said Khabibulin tweaked his groin against Phoenix on Sunday, then re-aggravated it in overtime against Chicago.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.