Between the Circles

Between the Circles

Huet or Khabibulin?

Posted by TimS on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 23:24
NEW YORK - I've known Savvy for 20 years and sometimes I can get a read on what he's thinking. I thought I saw a twinkle in his eye the other day when talking about Khabibulin, making me think for a second he would pull off the surprise and start him in goal Friday against the Rangers in the opener. Then I thought, how in the heck do you not start Huet in the first game of the season in a difficult environment after all that has happened with Khabibulin in the last week? The guy hasn't played a game since last spring and every win is going to be vital to making the playoffs. If the Hawks think Huet is their No. 1 goalie, and they do, he has to start. And if Huet plays well, he should start again on Saturday in Washington and Monday's home opener against Nashville.

Khabibulin speaks

Posted by TimS on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 15:19
There was no ducking out a back door on Wednesday. Nik spoke to the media after practice but said very little. He wouldn't talk about the negotiations that apparently broke down over the weekend between his agent and a team in Russia. "I'm still here and when I play I'm going to do the best I can to help the team win and make the playoffs," Khabibulin said. He claimed he wasn't frustrated. "Why would I be?" Nik said. "I'll play when I get the chance. I'm still part of the team. I'm happy to be here." Khabibulin avoided the question when asked if he felt he wasn't wanted. "Dale never expressed that," Nik said. Savvy said he still won't announce his starting goalie for Friday's opener in New York until that morning...

Barker to Rockford

Posted by TimS on Tue, 10/07/2008 - 14:31
I hate to be a told you so, but defenseman Cam Barker didn't make the Hawks' 22-man roster for Friday's opener. Barker was assigned to Rockford on Tuesday along with goalie Antti Niemi and defenseman Aaron Johnson. Barker had his $2.8 million cap hit working against him, which is a huge number for a fifth or sixth defenseman. Dale said it was mostly a hockey decision to send out Barker and keep Niklas Hjalmarsson, who will be paired with Brent Seabrook. "It was more defense vs. offense and we felt Hjalmarsson had a better camp defensively," Tallon said. Savvy said Barker needed to go to Rockford and improve his feet. We've heard that for three years.

Khabibulin on the ice

Posted by TimS on Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:22
Interesting developments at Hawks practice Tuesday. Khabibulin is on the ice and Cam Barker is not. There has been no official word from the Hawks on any roster moves. Barker appeared to be the odd-man out on defense all along based on his $2.8 million cap hit, which goes off the books should he be traded or sent to the minors. Also missing from practice are free agents Kevyn Adams and Keith Carney, both of whom came to camp on a tryout basis. As for lines, Jonathan Toews is centering for Martin Havlat and Andrew Ladd while Patrick Sharp is between Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien. The third line is Dave Bolland, Jack Skille and Kris Versteeg. On defense, Duncan Keith is paired with Brian Campbell; Brent Seabrook with Niklas Hjalmarsson; and Brent Sopel with Jordan Hendry.

Kane beefs up

Posted by TimS on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 18:38
Saw Patrick Kane at the United Center today and he has bulked up. Big time. He said he is at 175 pounds, up 10 or 12 from last year, and it looks to be all upper body muscle. Kane wants to score more goals, setting his sights on 35 to 40 after bagging 21 as a rookie. The kid is going to be a monster player... Dale (Tallon, the GM, and it's going to be just Dale from now on in this space) confirmed Geoff Sanderson won't be coming to training camp on a tryout basis. Sanderson wanted a contract and the Hawks are in no position to offer him one being about only $1.5 million under the NHL's salary cap... Kevyn Adams is coming to camp as a tryout and likely will be signed at some point to add depth at about $600,000...

Blackhawks blog launches

Posted by TimS on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 16:15
With the season just around the corner, here comes a blog about the Hawks.