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:
Spoke with Khabibulin after Chicago game and he was fine. Yesterday was an off day for the team. Today he’s on IR. #Curious.
— Rob Tychkowski (@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI) February 27, 2013
Nikolai Khabibulin didn’t look hurt vs. Chicago but he’s been placed on IR by Edmonton. For a second time this season Yann Danis called up
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) February 27, 2013
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.