Nikolai Khabibulin remains day-to-day with an “lower-body” injury

PuckAgency client Nikolai Khabibulin was scratched from a potential start tonight in St. Louis to face the Blues with an apparent “lower-body” injury. This injury doesn’t appear to be serious and it is possible Khabby could start tomorrow night at home vs. Dallas. Khabibulin has put together a Vezina-type year thus far, as he is 6th in save percentage (.924) and 10th in goals against average (2.37) on one of the NHL’s elite teams.

Published: 2/13/2009 12:02 AM
Khabibulin expected to make quick return

By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Nikolai Khabibulin isn’t expected to be sidelined long after suffering what the Blackhawks called a “minor” lower body injury late in Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Atlanta.

Rookie goalie Antti Niemi was recalled from Rockford on Thursday and will back up Cristobal Huet tonight in St. Louis as the Hawks close their eight-game road trip against the Blues at Scottrade Center.

“As far as Khabby goes, it’s a short-term thing,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville told on Thursday. “We expect him back quickly. I’m confident he’ll be back on the ice in the next day or two.”

This is Khabibulin’s second lower-body problem of the season. He suffered what was believed to be a groin injury Nov. 26 at San Jose and missed the next six games.

Niemi was 13-12-2 at Rockford with a 2.47 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. It’s his first recall since signing with the Hawks last summer as a free agent out of Finland.

“He’s big and takes up a lot of the net,” Quenneville said. “He moves well and he’s quick.”

Corey Crawford was recalled when Khabibulin was injured in November but never appeared in a game.