I like the Blackhawks. They’re saying they’re going to let multi-million dollar goalies Cristobal Huet and Nikolai Khabibulin compete for the starting job. And here’s the epitome of the Blackhawks management philosophy, lest anyone forget you can’t entirely change the culture of a club overnight:
“[Khabibulin is] in Belarus,” said GM Dale Tallon. “It’s hard to get ahold of him there…But I did talk to his agent the day after [Huet's signing], and we had a great conversation…I’m sure [Khabibulin] was taken aback, and rightly so. No one saw this coming, except within our staff. But this is all about winning. It’s not about keeping people happy.”
Of course. Why would you pay a small fortune to arguably the most important person on the team and then not care if they’re happy.
Obviously, the Blackhawks are going to try their hardest to move Khabibulin, but it sounds like Huet will be the main starter, with Khabibulin getting enough work to showcase his skills, with the goal of moving him. I don’t know how much they’ll get for Khabibulin as the February trade deadline approaches, since this is the last year of his contract and he would be a rental. But if a major starter goes down, you have to think the Blackhawks will be the first phone call, and then maybe they will be able to get something decent back for the goalie. I wonder if Huet and Brian Campbell, two of this season’s big free agent Blackhawk acquisitions, have taken note of the importance of player happiness in Chicago.
Also, in case anyone was wondering, it doesn’t look like Chad Kilger will play for the Panthers this year. Kilger was traded to the Panthers at the trade deadline and never showed up. If he plays anywhere this season, it’ll be with the Panthers, since they still hold his rights. Kind of a strange deal down in Florida.