Friday, August 05, 2005

 

Blackhawks: Stop the Insanity!

Oh...my...gawd!!!

The Chicago Blackhawks finally decide to spend money for once, and they have no idea how to do it properly! (TSN Story)


The most coveted goaltender in the free agent market has finally found a home, as veteran netminder Nikolai Khabibulin has signed with the Chicago Blackhawks.

It is a four-year deal worth $27 million US.
$6.75mil/year for one player is a pretty foolish way to spend money in today's NHL, unless that player is a 'franchise' and elite player like Jerome Iginla in Calgary.

I realize this year's UFA Goalie market is really weak, but Khabibulin is far from a franchise player. Is he really even an upgrade on Jocelyn Thibault?

Thibault - Age 30
2003-04 14GP 5-7-2 2.85GAA .913 SV%
2002-03 62GP 26-28-7 2.37GAA .915 SV%
2001-02 67GP 33-23-9 2.48GAA .902 SV%

Khabiblin - Age 32
2003-04 55GP 28-19-7 2.33GAA .910 SV%
2002-03 65GP 30-22-11 2.47GAA .911 SV%
2001-02 70GP 24-32-10 2.36GAA .920 SV%

Now, I have panned Thibault in the past...he really isn't more than an average NHL goalie at best. Still, apart from 03-04, he's given the Blackhawks a durable goaltender that has performed admirably behind a crappy team. Thibault has great fundamentals and he's a pretty steady hand. I don't think the Hawks were really troubled in goal with him there. The Save% numbers are slightly favouring T-Bo the past 2 NHL seasons, and the Hawks have a crappier team than the Bolts.

Khabibulin, on the other hand, is a goalie with his best days behind him. Khabi is a reflexive goaltender and more prone to making mistakes and taking a career tumble. His 03-04 playoff performance (.933 SV%) was outstanding, but he was so unreliable in the 02-03 playoffs that he was pulled for John Grahame!

If given the choice, I would take Khabi over Thibault...if their salaries were about the same. I would not take Khabibulin for $6.75 mil.... the only goalie that would ever deserve that kind of money would be a Dominik Hasek/Patrick Roy type in their prime.

Bill Wirtz, have you been drinking some of the product from your liquor stores? How can you explain such foolishness? I feel sorry for ChickenHawks fans. On one hand, they finally open up the wallets...but now they are crippling their team in the long run and hurting their chances at real success.
(As a Blues fan, part of me is laughing at the Hawks for this continuing bungling of the team...but given our situation, I can't laugh much)


Comments:
I cannot say enough how glad I am that I am not a Chicago sports fan, and more than likely never will be thanks to the priss of a boss I had when I worked at a Hallmark store. Suuuuuure, it was ok for him to talk about his frickin' Cubs, baseball, and Chicago in general (he had a Cubs pocket schedule taped up on the wall of his office!!), but heaven forbid if I wanted to talk Canes and hockey. (rolls her eyes)

I can say this with confidence: Thibault is, at least historically, better than Khabibulin, as you *very well noted* Jes. I'll never forget how two-three years ago, Thibault (along with Brodeur) saved my ass in a head-to-head fantasy hockey league in which I participated.

Yes siree, the Blackhawks have officially lost it...and I'm convinced that Habby's getting paid as much as he got was because just like the Ducks' Giguere in 2003, he was high off being in the "most recent" SC Finals. Despite the fact that, IIRC, John Graham helped just as much, if not more than Habby, in the Bolts getting to sip out of Lord Stanley.
 
Dale Talon was an idiot as a TV/Radio color man. Would one expect him to be any better as a GM? If you are a Chicago fan (and thankfully, i am not), this has to look an awful lot like the Hawk Harrelson fiasco with the Sox a few years ago!
 
Jes, that's a great post. I really haven't been mourning (like some have been here in TB) over the loss of Khabibulin... It opens up things financially because Khabby wanted elite money for semi-elite play.

You make mention of his poor performance in the playoffs in 2002-03... Check the history stats from his playoff appearences before he joined the Lightning. They were dismal.

He lacks focus at times and he MAY keep the Blackhawks in games this season because he faces a plethora of shots (that's when he excells - facing an all out onslaught) but with their lack of offense, it's not going to matter.

You said that you would pay Roy / Hasek (in their prime) that kind of money that Khabby is getting. What about Brodeur?
 
The playoffs can make or break a players reputation. Robyn Regehr went from obscurity to a member of the World Cup Championship team, and (hopefully) an Olympian next year.

Khabibulin was the true playoff MVP, in my opinion, and that is what the Blackhawks are paying for.

Problem is, the Blackhacks do not yet have the team to make the playoffs, especially if Khabibulin gets "moody" like he was known to in Tampa.
 
I should also mention that as a Flames fan, I would like to personally kick Bill Wirtz in the balls, as he managed to drive the price up for Kiprusoff by a half million at least.
 
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