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?
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.
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?
- 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.