Fare thee well, ‘Bulin Wall.
On Friday, Russian news outlet Championat reported that longtime NHL netminder Nikolai Khabibulin officially ended his playing career, announcing his retirement in conjunction with his desire to move into management.
Khabibulin, 42, will go down as one of the greatest Russian netminders in NHL history. He sits second to only Evgeni Nabokov in career wins — 333 to Nabokov’s 353 — but garnered some serious hardware and accolades during a 20-year playing career.
Most famously, Khabibulin backstopped Tampa Bay to its first-ever Stanley Cup in 2004, leading those playoffs in wins and shutouts.
A four-time All-Star, Khabibulin played for Winnipeg, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Chicago and Edmonton over his career and was a decorated international participant, playing in three Olympics (helping the Unified Team capture gold in ’92, and Russia win bronze in ’02).
His last NHL action came during the ’13-14 campaign, when he appeared in four games with the Blackhawks.