Now that Corey Crawford has returned from a lower-body injury, the Chicago Blackhawks needed to chose between keeping veteran goaltender Jason LaBarbera or 24-year-old rookie Antti Raanta to serve as his understudy.
Given that Raanta excelled during Crawford’s absence to the point where he was named the co-winner of the NHL’s rookie of the month award, this move doesn’t come as a surprise. At the same time, there was an argument to be made for keeping LaBarbera.
With Crawford expected to get a clear majority of the starts now that he’s back, perhaps Raanta would have been better served by returning to the AHL where he could get more playing time. After all, Raanta is making the transition from European to North American hockey this season.
Nikolai Khabibulin remains sidelined with a lower-body injury that has already forced him to miss nearly a month and a half. Once Khabibulin is ready to return, the Blackhawks will make another adjustment.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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