WHEN DO YOU PLAY KHABIBULIN?

Jason Gregor
January 29 2013 11:30AM

The Oilers have placed Yann Danis on waivers, because Nikolai Khabibulin has declared he is ready to play.

The big question is when do you play Khabibulin?

The Oilers can't play Devan Dubnyk all 48 games and with a road trip that includes three games in three and a half days we are going to see Khabibulin at some point.

The Oilers play in Phoenix on Wednesday, San Jose Thursday and then a matinee Saturday in Denver.

What will Krueger do?

OPTIONS

He splits the back-to-back games between Khabibulin and Dubnyk.

He plays Dubnyk in Phoenix and Khabibulin in San Jose, or vice versa.

He plays Dubnyk Wednesday and Thursday and then gives Khabibulin his first start v. Colorado.

WHAT I SEE

San Jose is red-hot, I don't see why you'd feed Khabibulin to the Sharks (hello Gene). 

I'd start Dubnyk in Phoenix, because getting a win to start the road trip is important, and Dubnyk was great over the final 40 minutes last night.

I'd also start him in San Jose.

Dubnyk is young and playing back-to-back shouldn't be that big of an issue for him, plus it is against one of the hottest teams in the league, and the team that lit him up last week. I'd want to see how he rebounds against the Sharks, but also how he handles a back-to-back scenario.

Also, if you let Khabibulin start in Colorado that would give Dubnyk three days off, Friday-Sunday, so if he is fatigued he can rest then.

Khabibulin hasn't started a game since March 30th, 2012. He hasn't won a game since February 11th, 2012. He will either be rusty or going off adrenaline and play well. Playing against his former team, Coyotes, isn't a factor at this point considering he hasn't played for them since 1999.

You might look at his career record v. the Coyotes, 9-4-1 with a 1.91 GAA and .931 SV%, and say he has to play there, but you'd be mistaken. He's only faced Phoenix once as an Oiler and he lost. He gave up three goals on 17 shots on March 11th, 2011, so the "former team" angle doesn't work in this scenario.

THE OTHER SIDE

Some will suggest that the Oilers best chances of winning are in Phoenix and Colorado so why not play Dubnyk there and give Khabibulin the Sharks. If you end up winning that is a bonus.

I doubt any team, especially a young one like the Oilers; enter a game believing they will lose. You could play the odds and suggest the Sharks are the toughest opponent, and on paper they are, but we've all witnessed many games over the years where a team that shouldn't win ends up winning.

I'm not a believer in the loser mentality, instead I'd want to see my how my goalie of the future responds and reacts against one of the best teams in the league.

KRUEGER TACTICS

I've been impressed by some of Krueger's strategies. I like how sometimes he uses quick changes on his powerplay, and then brings out one of his PP units right after the PP. I also like how he is wary of not overplaying his veterans.

I'm curious to see what strategy he will employ with his goaltenders.

What would you do, and why?

QUICK HIT

  • Theo Peckham will travel with the team and he has been added to the 23-man roster. Ben Eager will have to be moved to IR to make room on the roster. The Oilers will carry 13 forwards, 8 D-men and 2 goalies until Ryan Jones or Ben Eager return.

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Spydyr
January 29 2013, 11:34AM
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His Fist game should be in the KHL.Next year

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#2 Akram
January 29 2013, 11:40AM
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I would play Khaby against his former team in Phx and play Dubinator against the Sharks and Avs.

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#3 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 29 2013, 11:41AM
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Dubnyk starts in PHX no matter what IMO. Players might not want to think about how the first one is easier so play your starter, but the fact remains the coach needs to get as many points as possible. Play Dubie and make the decision against SJ on Thursday.

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#4 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
January 29 2013, 11:44AM
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Side note, Danis clears what is the plan for the AHL and ECHL? I thought the reason the guy we picked up off waivers wanted out of PHI was because he was in the ECHL. So does that mean Roy-Bunz in the ECHL?

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#5 Citizen David
January 29 2013, 11:47AM
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I would start Khabby against the coyotes and Dubbey the other two. The coyotes are a team that I think we should beat if we play how we have in the games we won, they really don't scare me one bit. Then again, I've never understood fatigue (see Kiprosoff, see Roloson down the stetch to the playoffs, see the playoffs where goalies play every game and no one seems to be bothered by it) so Dubbey should play all three.

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#6 Rama Lama
January 29 2013, 11:47AM
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I would play Khabi on Wed and after he get injured in the second period ........ride Dubbby all the way.

Khabi needs to go to the light!

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#7 swindle
January 29 2013, 11:49AM
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They should play him against Phoenix if Smith still isn't ready to play. It would be better to give him a battle against Johnson or Labarbera and its' the first game of a back to back.

If Smith is looking like he's going to play, then give Khabibulin Colorado and give Dubnyk the chance to redeem himself versus San Jose.

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#8 Mark-LW
January 29 2013, 11:50AM
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He should have been put on waivers instead of Danis

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#9 CaptainLander
January 29 2013, 11:51AM
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I think Dubey should play all three.

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#10 geoilersgist
January 29 2013, 11:52AM
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I agree with you gregor that they should let Dubby play against both PHX and SJ. At some point they need to see how he can handle the back to backs. Especially if Dubby wins in PHX you have to let him roll with it.

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#11 Will
January 29 2013, 11:53AM
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Let Yan Dubnyk play back to back, then see how Yan Dannis does as backup against Colorado on Saturday. Don't play the odds to lose. Play Dubnyk against the Yotes because we haven't played this team yet and don't know how it will go, then let him try and have a bounce back against the sharks. Win that game, and the team is on a high going back to Colorado, thus letting Yan Dannis try his luck against a depleted Colorado squad. Lose against the sharks, and let Dubnyk have a rest as Yan Dannis plays a depleted Colorado squad, behind a team angry they just lost again in San Jose.

I predict we lose against both Phoenix and Colorado, but trouse the sharks ala Chicago last year. I'm basing my prediction based on the most unlikely prediction, which seems to be the safest way to predict things in the opening of the shortened season.

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#12 geoilersgist
January 29 2013, 11:56AM
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@Will

Danis has been put on waivers to head back to OKC. Khabby is back

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#13 Miyagi's Chopsticks
January 29 2013, 12:00PM
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When you're able to select when you play your starter, I think you should choose to play your best goalie against divisional opponents first.

As such, I would have Dubnyk in against Colorado and Phoenix.

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#14 Will
January 29 2013, 12:03PM
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geoilersgist wrote:

Danis has been put on waivers to head back to OKC. Khabby is back

Sad. Well, damn. Khabby in Colorado I guess. I still think that gives the team its best chance of winning, as Colorado looks to be the weakest competition of the three and Dubnyk seems like he's kind of starting to get into a good groove right now. They should see how that plays out over the next two.

You never know, he could end up stealing it from the sharks if he plays like he did against LA.

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#15 Phixieus666
January 29 2013, 12:04PM
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I say wing it. You can't look at individual teams and say "we should beat them but that other team isn't as likely". You can't to do that. You need to play like you are sure you can win every game regardless of who it is. That is what champions do and you can't be champions unless you start acting like it.

I say play Dubby until he needs a night off. If he gets run down after the PHX game then put Bulin in if not just let it roll. Another part of being a Champion is knowing when you need to take a break and recover. Rely on Dubby's decision, he will know when he needs a break. That adds more responsibility to the player and more trust between players and coaches.

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#16 The Goalie 1976
January 29 2013, 12:07PM
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Since Dubynk has yet to play 2 good games in a row, I would see how ready Habby is and start him VS Pho. They don't have a lot of firepower, and it might give him the best chance to win and build confidence.

Dubynk will want the Sharks game to redeem himself, then start him VS Col the following game too.

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#17 Phixieus666
January 29 2013, 12:08PM
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Also if things aren't looking so good in warm ups or practice make a swap. The game against SJ Dubby was fighting it all day, that would have been the time to give him the night off.

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#18 James Cole
January 29 2013, 12:09PM
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I was distracted last night by the 10 sitting behind the Av's bench did anyone else see her???! Great game great article!

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#19 brad
January 29 2013, 12:09PM
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Start dooby all 3 if I was coach but if I has to choose 1 game for NK it'd be against SJ.

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#20 The Goalie 1976
January 29 2013, 12:10PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

I say wing it. You can't look at individual teams and say "we should beat them but that other team isn't as likely". You can't to do that. You need to play like you are sure you can win every game regardless of who it is. That is what champions do and you can't be champions unless you start acting like it.

I say play Dubby until he needs a night off. If he gets run down after the PHX game then put Bulin in if not just let it roll. Another part of being a Champion is knowing when you need to take a break and recover. Rely on Dubby's decision, he will know when he needs a break. That adds more responsibility to the player and more trust between players and coaches.

This is very well said. Under normal circumstances I would 100% agree. BUT I think Habby might be finished even as a backup, and I want to see sooner rather than later if the Oilers need to trade for a proper backup. I say start the old fart and see if he's still got something in the tank. If he does then revert to your above deployment.

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#21 Spydyr
January 29 2013, 12:14PM
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Mark-LW wrote:

He should have been put on waivers instead of Danis

Exactly.....But how do you do that to your MVP?

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#22 Bryan in SK
January 29 2013, 12:14PM
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Q. When do you play Khabibulin?

A. You don't.

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#23 madjam
January 29 2013, 12:15PM
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Dubbie is young enough to handle all the games . Khabby stays on as backup for now until Dubnyk tires or has a bad game .

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#24 Clay
January 29 2013, 12:17PM
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Playing Rehab is more or less a guaranteed loss. He's beyond finished in the NHL, and the idea of letting him play at all in a shortened season is akin to throwing games.

Even risking an AHL asset like Danis to waivers for the sake of having Khabibulin as a backup is bad management.

They should have sent Khabibulin to OKC on a conditioning stint, let him re-injure himself, and be done with it.

Dubnyk doesn't look tired to me, he's young, and he's eager to prove himself. I'd play him as often as possible, and if he can go 48 games, perfect.

He hasn't played in almost a year, and had to sit out the shortened training camp - it would take him half a dozen games to get in to "game shape"... The Oilers just can't afford to waste that many games if they have any designs on the playoffs.

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#25 yeeps
January 29 2013, 12:18PM
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Khabibulin should play the game against Colorado. Oilers always seem to struggle with afternoon games and seeing as the game against Colorado is in the early afternoon after a busy road trip I think it might give the team a bit of an extra energy shot to have a tender play his first game of the season.

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#26 Where's Your Towel
January 29 2013, 12:22PM
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I like the "Play Dubs until he needs a rest" plan.

He's got the contract, he needs to act like a sole #1 and have some responsibility for knowing his readiness, his energy level, and communicating it to the coach.

Khabi plays when Dubs needs a rest. I don't care about building Khabi's confidence. I want Dubs playing whenever he can.

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#27 The Goalie 1976
January 29 2013, 12:25PM
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The faster Habby starts (and likely looses looking awful for 60 min) the faster Tamby will replace him.

Remember the front office still believes he might be able to play. Start him ASAP so we can all be shown that he needs to be replaced. Why wait until 6 other teams need a goalie, then the price goes waaaay up. Right now there is a supply of backups available, but limited demand. That will change in 4 weeks.

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#29 bdiddy18
January 29 2013, 12:28PM
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Don't mess with Dubnyk's momentum - he starts the back to back and sure give Khaby a start in Colorado.

Gregor is to logical - I can't debate him - lol.

I would also reward Belanger-Hart-Pajarvi with a third line status and demote Horcoff-Smyth-Pettrell to where they should be 4th line.

Horc/Smyth minutes are managed better and they would get more than a 4th liner anyways because of the special teams.

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#30 Mr DeBakey
January 29 2013, 12:28PM
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"WHEN DO YOU PLAY KHABIBULIN?"

Never. Ever. Why would you? Seriously.

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#31 oliveoilers
January 29 2013, 12:34PM
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Can we send 'The boobs behind Tippet' a complementary octane top?

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#32 Thinker
January 29 2013, 12:44PM
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I play dubnyk every game minus sj. Khabi gets the start so that management has an excuse to trade him.

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#33 Will
January 29 2013, 12:47PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Did you read the article? haha

I did, well written and entertaining as always, somehow I missed that tag line, which answers a lot of questions I had rolling around in my head as I read on.

It's been interesting this year seeing how plugging different players in on different nights is affecting the outcome. I like the Fistric Potter thing, even though I would prefer Fistric every night over potter, and the recent fourth line switch was also nice to see.

With Jones and Eager eventually coming back, I wonder what the coach does then. This is the first time in a long time, I've actually seen an Oiler coach coach, and not just throw lines out. Kreuger seems to come into every game, and every shift with a plan, not just a bench a guy for a bad game mentality, but an actual outline of what a game takes to win. And until we run into injury trouble, I see that continuing throughout the shortened season.

So back to the article, it will be neat to see what Kruger's plan is for the goalie's over the next three road games.

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#34 Ducey
January 29 2013, 01:03PM
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Sure hope this isn't the "other team needs to do something with a player" move Gillis was talking about in relation to the Luongo trade.

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#35 Phixieus666
January 29 2013, 01:04PM
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James Cole wrote:

I was distracted last night by the 10 sitting behind the Av's bench did anyone else see her???! Great game great article!

I saw a few tens in the crowd. None of them Octane Cheerleaders by the way.

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#36 book¡e
January 29 2013, 01:05PM
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Those who are arguing that Danis should be given a shot need to go look at Danis' AHL, NHL, and KHL records before stating that. What part of Danis' previous play justifies having him as an NHL backup.

NK is no longer an option as an NHL starter, he can't perform when called upon frequently. However, review his performance last year and tell me why he is not an effective goalie when asked to play 10-12 games.

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#37 Phixieus666
January 29 2013, 01:07PM
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The Goalie 1976 wrote:

This is very well said. Under normal circumstances I would 100% agree. BUT I think Habby might be finished even as a backup, and I want to see sooner rather than later if the Oilers need to trade for a proper backup. I say start the old fart and see if he's still got something in the tank. If he does then revert to your above deployment.

What would it matter. He's not in the short or long term picture for the Oilers. Once his contract is up that's it. If they could trade him they probably would. They don't want to buy him out because they are trying to show loyalty to their players which is good. Once more season and a shortened one. I'm alright with that but next season he better not be on the roster.

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#38 John Chambers
January 29 2013, 01:12PM
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Trade Anaheim's 2nd rounder for Ben Bishop and give NK early retirement.

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#39 book¡e
January 29 2013, 01:23PM
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John Chambers wrote:

Trade Anaheim's 2nd rounder for Ben Bishop and give NK early retirement.

Bishop has done nothing to demonstrate that he is or can be a better back up than NK.

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#40 Phixieus666
January 29 2013, 01:29PM
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So gotta throw this out there. TOR apparently may be considering a rebuild more like the Oil did although slightly different given that they do have a fair few pieces already. But mention the likes of Kessel, Phaneuf, and Bozak to name a few might be up for trades being that they will be UFA's after the season and may demand too much.

I think Phaneuf and Bozak would be two guys that Edm should look at. What would you offer to get the likes of those two?

I think swapping out Whitney for Phaneuf would do amazing things to the Oilers defense. Could you imagine Phaneuf and J Schultz on a line. Big Nasty with possibly one of the best offensive D-men in the last decade.

What if Whitney, one of Marincin/Gernat, Horcoff, a first rounder in 2014 and a 2nd in 2013 could get you those two? Maybe throw in the rights to Omark or add another prospect? maybe they want Gagner instead of Horcs, if thats the case I'd take Marincin and Gernat off the table. The Oilers totally have the pieces, at least I think, to make a deal like that.

So if the Leafs are looking at changing things what would you do?????

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#41 Spydyr
January 29 2013, 01:34PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

So gotta throw this out there. TOR apparently may be considering a rebuild more like the Oil did although slightly different given that they do have a fair few pieces already. But mention the likes of Kessel, Phaneuf, and Bozak to name a few might be up for trades being that they will be UFA's after the season and may demand too much.

I think Phaneuf and Bozak would be two guys that Edm should look at. What would you offer to get the likes of those two?

I think swapping out Whitney for Phaneuf would do amazing things to the Oilers defense. Could you imagine Phaneuf and J Schultz on a line. Big Nasty with possibly one of the best offensive D-men in the last decade.

What if Whitney, one of Marincin/Gernat, Horcoff, a first rounder in 2014 and a 2nd in 2013 could get you those two? Maybe throw in the rights to Omark or add another prospect? maybe they want Gagner instead of Horcs, if thats the case I'd take Marincin and Gernat off the table. The Oilers totally have the pieces, at least I think, to make a deal like that.

So if the Leafs are looking at changing things what would you do?????

Why would you give up that much for UFA's?

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#42 Mr DeBakey
January 29 2013, 01:34PM
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"What part of Danis' previous play justifies having him as an NHL backup."

Before this season; 49 NHL games, 2.69 GAA, .912 Save %.

Last year, including the hot streak, NicK; 40 NHL games, 2.65 GAA, .910 Save %.

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#43 Phixieus666
January 29 2013, 01:40PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Why would you give up that much for UFA's?

All conditional on them signing ext's. Get permission to work out contracts before the trades. There would be no point in making the trades if you couldn't.

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#44 dessert1111
January 29 2013, 01:42PM
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Honestly I think I would've waived Khabibulin and kept Danis, but that ship has sailed (40 year old who hasn't played in nearly a year and when he did was terrible...was that even considered?).

I'd like to see Dubnyk play every single game he can unless he is obviously fatigued. Try him for all 3.

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#45 rubbertrout
January 29 2013, 01:45PM
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Phixieus666 wrote:

So gotta throw this out there. TOR apparently may be considering a rebuild more like the Oil did although slightly different given that they do have a fair few pieces already. But mention the likes of Kessel, Phaneuf, and Bozak to name a few might be up for trades being that they will be UFA's after the season and may demand too much.

I think Phaneuf and Bozak would be two guys that Edm should look at. What would you offer to get the likes of those two?

I think swapping out Whitney for Phaneuf would do amazing things to the Oilers defense. Could you imagine Phaneuf and J Schultz on a line. Big Nasty with possibly one of the best offensive D-men in the last decade.

What if Whitney, one of Marincin/Gernat, Horcoff, a first rounder in 2014 and a 2nd in 2013 could get you those two? Maybe throw in the rights to Omark or add another prospect? maybe they want Gagner instead of Horcs, if thats the case I'd take Marincin and Gernat off the table. The Oilers totally have the pieces, at least I think, to make a deal like that.

So if the Leafs are looking at changing things what would you do?????

Phanuef was terrible even when he had his Norris finalist season. He got lots of points but he always put himself out of position to get the big hit. Fundamentally he is not a very good player. When he didn't get the bounces and started missing the net (a lot) his numbers plummeted and he became an expensive player who had little defensive awareness who couldn't score (with a big contract). Plus the guy is apparently a prick in the room.

He is terrible and I would never ever ever want him on my team.

I don't think the G issues are resolved here yet as I'm not convinced that Dubnyk is the man for the job. I've been reasonably impressed by Kruger although I haven't seen enough to know how he is going to line match.

One thing is certain. Fistric needs to be in the lineup.

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#46 Dave
January 29 2013, 01:46PM
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As a former goalie I've always felt we played these situations wrong. Always play the #1 in all must win / expected to win games, because you can't afford to lose those games. When you play the #2 in must win games there is additional mental pressure of letting the team down. I've always felt when you played the #2 goalie in tougher situations he can often play over his head a little bit and the pressure to perform is a bit lower. Also when playing the # 2 in tougher games the team defense finds a way of tightening up to either support the #2 or to help avoid getting slaughtered.

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#47 thefullnelson
January 29 2013, 01:48PM
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When do you play Khabibulin?

When you're tired of winning.

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#48 thefullnelson
January 29 2013, 01:50PM
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@Thinker

We couldn't get an empty bag of potato chips for Bulin.

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#49 book¡e
January 29 2013, 01:52PM
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dessert1111 wrote:

Honestly I think I would've waived Khabibulin and kept Danis, but that ship has sailed (40 year old who hasn't played in nearly a year and when he did was terrible...was that even considered?).

I'd like to see Dubnyk play every single game he can unless he is obviously fatigued. Try him for all 3.

Given Danis' history of be demonstratively poorer in NHL games than Khabibulin was last year and an AHL record that has him ranked about 40th in the AHL, what is it that makes you rank Danis above Khabibulin?

Playing your goalie every single game is a sure way to see him struggle. It's why no team does it.

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#50 thefullnelson
January 29 2013, 01:53PM
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@The Goalie 1976

Sadly, my friend, Tamby is anything but fast! When Bulin starts laying eggs Tambi will give a mostly non-sensical interview where he'll mumble about poise and how the club thinks Bulin can replicate his amazing start from the other year.

When it's time to make meaningful moves, we'll give the ball to MacT. Let Tambi do what he does best... nothing.

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