WHEN DO YOU PLAY KHABIBULIN?

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

  • Phixieus666

    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?????

      • Phixieus666

        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.

    • 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.

  • Phixieus666

    “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 %.

    • Ducey

      Well, to be fair, Danis’ NHL career stats go all the way back to ’05-’06. Not that relevant.

      This year he has struggled in the AHL as his save % is .905. He hasn’t done anything this year to suggest he would be better than NK.

      Even if he was better, the difference wouldn’t be enough to justify paying NK $3.5 M in the AHL.

      The best case senario is for Danis to get hot in the AHL and NK to do a good job in the NHL. The Oilers can then flip NK at the deadline and bring up Danis.

  • 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.

    • book¡e

      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.

  • 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.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I would definitely let Dubby redeem himself against the Sharks. It would be a great confidence builder for him to pull off a win. I know Habby needs some time in goal, but the fans unfortunately wouldn’t have confidence in him. If I was making the call, Habby would not start any games, but could end up finishing a few. Oilers need wins and I think Dubby is their best option. Good luck to the Oil.

  • Ducey

    This early in the season, its not about back to back starts……its about generating confidence and positioning for a bounce back after a loss……

    Start Dubnyk against Pheonix. If he wins, start him against San Jose.

    If he loses against Pheonix, then start Habby against the Sharks and let Dubnyk bounce back against Colorado.

  • DieHard

    He’s young. Hasn’t played a back to back yet; it’s been every other night. Play him against Phoenix and then San Jose. If he gets lit up early in SJ put Khabibulin in then he plays Colorado. If he plays full game in SJ then he and coach can discuss Colorado.

  • The Soup Fascist

    To answer your question, Gregor:

    When they play hockey in Hades.

    I don’t see why you would WANT to play him. Obviously, Khabby will not be an Oiler next year. Presumably, neither will Olivier Roy. So you need an NHL calibre goaltender next year anyway.

    Surely, there is a deal to be made with a team rich in goatending for a veteran backup with a reasonable contract or a guy who has not had an opportunity due to depth at that position. When that happens you pay Khabby to stay home – I know it is Mr. Katz’s money, not mine.

    Until then play Duby until he drops. If Khabby never sets foot on the ice as an Oiler, I am fine with that. I have heard he is a good teammate, good in the room – wonderful. He is no longer an NHL calibre goaltender and the season is far too short to let him confirm that.

      • Phixieus666

        Hades is both: initially brother of Zeus and Poseidon and the god of the underworld, among other things. Adopted by Christianity as a place for the spirtis of the dead … see wikipedia

        • Phixieus666

          hate to break it to ya but anyone can go and edit wikipedia, also in Christianity everything was originally written in Hebrew, the word Sheol very generally translates to Dades but is used in a context of punishment.

          • Whatever you think …

            I made no reference to any “God” as a person nor as an individual … that was you. Using the term
            “mytic god” does not necessarily convey humanity to the subject. I would argue that mythic anything is just that … a fable. But some dictionaries sugest “fictitious person” which sugests human characteristics for that subject.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Hades can reference the mythical god of the underworld or the domain he ruled. It is the definitive synonymn for “Hell”. Feel free to break out a Thesaurus.

        If still not acceptable to you, Poindexter, kindly substitute the word “H-E-Double Hockey sticks”.

        My point remains the same. Find a new tender and bid a fond “до свидания” to Khabby.

  • vetinari

    My first preference would have been to instead waive Khabibulin, keep Danis and then play Danis in the Phoenix game with Dubnyk batting cleanup in SJ and Colorado. As it stands, I would throw Khabibulin to the Sharks because as a veteran, if he wins, it’s a confidence booster and if he loses, it’s not likely to affect him the same away as it would Dubnyk.

    As for Peckham, instead of having a Potter/Fistric tug-of-war for playing time, we can instead have a Peckham/Potter/Fistric Mexican standoff. Something’s got to give in this equation and we need to move one of Peckham or Potter for a defenseman who doesn’t have to clear waivers and is too good to be buried long term in the AHL but may not be ready for day-to-day NHL duty.

    • Phixieus666

      I don’t know man, Potter actually looked decent last night. Whitney has been the guy catching my eye and not in a good play. He keeps making big mistakes and a lot of them are leading to goals. At this point I almost think trading Whitney would make sense. I’d like to see how Fistric and Potter are as a pairing though.

      I don’t know what it is with Whitney, foot speed doesn’t seem to be the issue but the decision making and timing is just completely out of wack.

      • vetinari

        @P666 – to me, I’d rather keep Pottery and Fisty (isn’t that the only way they do nicknames now?) and move Peckham. As for Whitney, I’d give him another month to see what his top end is and then decide his fate/role with the team. In a cap world, no one would take a gimpy $4M/year player off your hands anyways.

  • vetinari

    It looks to me like Oilers management is still in evaluation mode. Why would you make a change/trade when you still haven’t established whether Dubnyk can be a legitimate starter? I think they wait until the offseason to sort out thier Goaltending needs (or at least until the trade deadline).

    This 48 game season is make it or break it evaluation time for Dubnyk. Until then, I think they’ll stay status quo.

  • Clay

    My vote is : Dubby= Pheonix and San Jose
    Habby= Colorado

    Dubnyk is young and should be able and must play back to back games… many guys do. Besides, he will have the 3 days rest after that.

    You have to see what is left in Habbys tank , before you go chasing trades at this stage.
    Besides who will give you their prime goalie anyway.? Big Lou is not the answer for the Oilers either.. bad contract, and he would never come to Edmonton, Its about 50 deg. to cold for him.

    Also lets really find out what Dubnyk is made of?
    He has not really proven his No. 1 status and salary at this point.

  • Phixieus666

    WHY wasn’t Habby sent to OKC for a 2 game conditioning stint and the same goes for Peckham . Danis probably deserved a shot at 1 game . Tambellini & Co ????????

  • Play Dubby till he drops.This is his 9 th year in the organization. Its all or nothing after the contract the Oilers shelled out for him this summer. Number 1 money should be playing until he drops. DD needs to show the organization that he is the guy. Not Khabby. Not Danis. I am Kreuger I go to DD and tell him you play till you tell me you can’t. This isn’t about NK anymore. His show is done and tambo should be scratching the cheque to buy him out. Its bs that he still on the roster. For what. His body of work as an Oiler has been woeful. Its time for DD to do assume the number 1 role. You don’t pay back ups 3.75 million.

  • For me it doesn’t really matter that much who is between the pipes in the short term. The focus should be on getting defensive assignments straight and knowing who to cover when someone moves out of position briefly. THAT is much more important for this young team than who is left in net to save their butts when they give up yet another wide-open opportunity.

  • Talbot17

    When do you play him? never. or rarely. Dubnyk is capable and has stated he can play back to backs, wants to, and wants the chance. I see his capability turning into a Kipper type role like Calgary has going. Its a short season, let him get this time to run with the full time role for once. I would not give Khabby more than 9 games this year.

  • Romanus

    I would also start Khabby on Saturday against the Avs. This Coyotes games is really important to get this road trip started off right. The game in San Jose will be tough but it seems like pretty much every year we go to the Shark Tank and our goaltender steals us a game that we don’t deserve to win. Dubnyk should get a chance to bounce back against a team that embarassed us. Fear can be a great motivator. The Colorado game is the closer on the road trip and by then I think that Dubnyk will need the break. Also, afternoon games always seem to be a bit sleepy and we have lots of scorers who play well against the Avs.

    I’m a little surprised that Peckham wasn’t sent to OKC for a conditioning stint. I don’t think he deserves to be in the lineup anytime soon so he might still end up in OKC briefly when somebody like Ryan Jones gets healthy.

  • Brendan Adams

    Ideally, he wouldn’t play at all. I don’t think it’s even worth the risk in a shortened season. Alas, it’s clear that management thinks there is some value on having him rather than Danis on the team. That value, I think, has more to do with OKC needing a decent goaltender than the Oilers needing Khabibulin. If never isn’t an option, let him take Colorado. Phoenix was a huge problem for the Oil last year and San Jose is on a complete tear. Colorado is the safe bet.