Sometimes coaches like to give players a chance to shine against old teams. That won’t be the case when the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight, as they’ll roll with Corey Crawford in net. Nikolai Khabibulin hasn’t been playing well for the ‘Hawks since signing in Chicago as a free agent, and he won’t have a chance to right his game against a former team in the Jets.
Corey Crawford starting tomorrow vs. WPG. Handzus and Mills NOT making the trip to the ‘Peg. This just in: Toews is from there. #Blackhawks
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) November 1, 2013
This could be viewed as a bit of a no-brainer call for coach Joel Quenneville. Chicago has had three days off since downing the Ottawa Senators on October 29. That means Crawford is plenty rested, and will be good to go for the contest. If Khabibulin wasn’t sporing a 4.73 GAA then maybe he would have got the call to go against Winnipeg.
There’s no doubt about which goalie gives Chicago the better chance to win tonight though. It would appear that the ‘Hawks are missing Ray Emery a bit after he departed to play for the Philadelphia Flyers. Backups are important during 82-game seasons, and so far Chicago hasn’t been able to lean on Khabibulin at all.
It was Winnipeg (now Phoenix) that drafted the Bulin Wall into the NHL back in 1992 in the ninth round. The former 204th overall selection has carved out quite a career for himself since then, but his better playing days are clearly behind him.