Nikolai Khabibulin hits the Injured Reserve list yet again.
The Edmonton Oilers Twitter account announced, in a somewhat backwards fashion, that Nikolai Khabibulin was placed on the Injured Reserve list and Yann Danis was recalled from Oklahoma City. They announced the Danis news first:
Then the Khabibulin news:
#Oilers have also placed goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin on Injured Reserve— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 27, 2013
Khabibulin began the season on the disabled list and retuned in time to start four games and appear in one other game in relief. Khabibulin's ailment has been described as a groin injury and he has left the road trip and returned to Edmonton. Khabibulin he underwent hip surgery in April of 2012 and was not ready to start the season in January. This is Khabibulin's fourth trip to the IR in three seasons.
Khaibulin has been one of the best goalies in the NHL before December in each of the last two seasons, but the worst goaltender in the NHL after December. Unfortunately, as Jonathan Willis points out, it's just luck:
In short: it just so happens that his hot streaks have coincided with the beginning of the season the last two years – it would be a mistake to believe that this makes Khabibulin viable as long as his playing time is kept low.