Khabibulin with the Oilers in 2009
January 13, 1973 |
Sverdlovsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Weight||208 lb (94 kg; 14 st 12 lb)|
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ak Bars Kazan
|National team|| Russia
|NHL Draft||204th overall, 1992
Nikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin (i//; Russian: Николай Иванович Хабибулин; IPA: [xəbʲɪˈbulʲɪn], born January 13, 1973) is a Russian professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). He is known by his nickname The Bulin Wall He has previously played for the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning and Chicago Blackhawks.
Khabibulin has excelled at the international level winning two Olympic medals (gold and bronze) and was named Best Goaltender at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He was the first Russian goalie ever to win the Stanley Cup, doing so with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004. He is also a 4-time NHL All-Star.
Playing career 
Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes 
He was selected in the ninth round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Winnipeg Jets. In the 1993–94 season Nikolai played with the touring Russian Penguins and by the start of the NHL season in January 1995 was playing in the NHL. In 1996, he moved with the Jets to Phoenix, Arizona, where they became the Coyotes. In his five seasons with the Jets/Coyotes franchise, he played in 60 games three times (including two instances playing 70 games), a heavy workload for a goaltender. Although the team made the playoffs each of these years, some claimed that their first-round exits were partly due to Khabibulin being fatigued from playing so many games.
After the 1998–99 season, Nikolai became embroiled in a bitter contract dispute with the Coyotes, and ended up holding out for an entire season. During this year, he played for the Long Beach Ice Dogs of the International Hockey League (IHL), earning the league's MVP trophy.
Tampa Bay Lightning 
On March 5, 2001, Khabibulin was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Mike Johnson, Paul Mara, Ruslan Zainullin, and the New York Islanders' second round choice (previously acquired, Phoenix selected Matthew Spiller). He quickly signed a contract with Tampa Bay and by the next season, re-emerged as a premier goaltender. At the 2002 NHL All-Star Game his flawless, 20 save, third period allowed the World All-Stars to rally for a come-back 8-5 win. Though Eric Daze of Chicago was chosen as the All-Star MVP, Khabibulin's play was the talk of both locker rooms. Indeed, many players were surprised that Khabibulin wasn't named MVP, an honor they felt was deserved and obvious. Apparently voting was conducted with about 5 minutes remaining in the game while the North American All-Stars still held the lead. Joined by budding superstars Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and Brad Richards, Khabibulin helped lead the Lightning back to the playoffs in 2003 (their first appearance since 1996) and then to a Stanley Cup in 2004 — the first in franchise history. Khabibulin recorded five shutouts in 23 playoff games, including three shutouts in the first-round match-up against the New York Islanders (tied for an NHL record for most shutouts in a playoff round). Unlike his time in Phoenix, Khabibulin could enjoy extended rest when needed due to the skill of his backup, John Grahame.
Chicago Blackhawks 
As the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) ratified a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Khabibulin became a free agent when play was set to resume. Coming off his Stanley Cup win the previous NHL season, the Chicago Blackhawks signed him to a four-year, $27 million deal, making him the highest paid goalie in the league. But injuries and inconsistent play plagued him during his tenure in Chicago. In his first season with the Blackhawks, he recorded a 3.35 goals against average (GAA) — the highest of his career since his rookie season in Winnipeg — and Chicago finished second to last in the Western Conference.
In July 2008, the Blackhawks signed goaltender Cristobal Huet, previously of the Washington Capitals. The signing of Huet was thought to have effectively displaced Khabibulin as the starting goalie, especially given he was put on waivers on September 29, 2008, but cleared. In light of Huet and Khabibulin's combined salaries (Huet was signed to a contract averaging $5.6 million per season), it was speculated Khabibulin would be traded to provide cap space. However, he spent the entire season with the team, playing in 42 games, and by the start of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he had retrenched himself as starting goaltender. Khabibulin and the Blackhawks defeated the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks to progress to the Western Conference Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. During the third game of the series, Khabibulin surrendered three goals in one period, after shutting out the Red Wings in the previous period. He was replaced by Cristobal Huet for the third period due to a lower body injury. Khabibulin missed the remaining three games of the series because of the injury.
Edmonton Oilers 
His Oilers debut on October 3 against the Calgary Flames was a blunder, however. While trying to field a clearing pass in the final minute of the third period, he mishandled the puck and gave up the game-winning goal to Flames' right wing David Moss.
Khabibulin kicked off the 2010–11 NHL season with a 37 save performance in a 4–0 victory over the Calgary Flames. However, injuries once again limited his action. He recorded a sub-par 10–32–3 record as the Oilers were once again last place in the Western Conference.
Due to Khabibulin's strong play in October of the 2011-2012 season, with a 5-0-2 record, with a league leading .960 save percentage, and a 1.12 GAA, he was named the third star of the month. However, Khabibulin's play fell off in the second half of the season and he ended the season with an average 2.65 GAA and a .910 save percentage. In the lockout shortened 2012-2013 season, his former backup Devan Dubnyk replaced Khabibulin as the starting goaltender of the Edmonton Oilers. This is Khabibulin's first season as a backup.
International play 
Khabibulin at the 2002 Winter Olympics.
|Men's ice hockey|
|Competitor for Russia & CIS|
|Bronze||2002 Salt Lake City|
|World Junior Championships|
Khabibulin made his international debut with the Soviet Union at the 1991 European Junior Championships. He appeared in the 1992 World Junior Championships the next year and won a gold medal with the CIS, appearing in six games. Khabibulin and the national team had begun the tournament as the Soviet Union, but the state was dissolved following the round robin on New Year's Day, thus they proceeded to compete as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
That same year, Khabibulin appeared in the 1992 Winter Olympics with the CIS as the third goaltender. Controversy arose after the CIS captured the gold medal when legendary Russian coach Viktor Tikhonov kept a medal for himself (coaches and management are not awarded medals in Olympic hockey) instead of allowing Khabibulin to have one, as Khabibulin had not played a game in the tournament. This is speculated to be the reason for Khabibulin boycotting the Russian team in later international tournaments.
At the 2002 Winter Olympics, in which the 1992 gold medal conflict was resolved, Khabibulin established himself as the national team's starting goaltender. He helped Russia to a bronze medal while appearing in all six games, and was named Best Goaltender of the tournament. Ten years later, at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Khabibulin was finally awarded his 1992 Olympic gold medal in a private locker room ceremony with teammates and the Russian Hockey Federation.
He was called up again in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, but he missed them due to injury. Russia's starting goalie was the San Jose Sharks' Evgeni Nabokov. Khabibulin did not play a game in either tournament, in which Russia failed to win a medal.
Personal life 
On February 8, 2010, Khabibulin was pulled over in Arizona by a police officer for surpassing the legal speed limit by 25 miles per hour. The officer noted various signs that suggested Khabibulin could have been under the influence of alcohol, and proceeded to administer a field sobriety test. Khabibulin was subsequently arrested and charged with speeding and impaired driving.
On July 7, 2010, Khabibulin's court case was postponed. On August 27, 2010, Khabibulin was found guilty of excessive speed, extreme DUI, and DUI over the 0.08 level. On August 31, 2010, he received the minimum sentence of 30 days in jail, which is now pending appeal. On July 26, 2011, Khabibulin withdrew the appeal, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He will be in a jail for half of the time, and be under house arrest for the other half.
Khabibulin helped Victoria Azarenka settle in Scottsdale when she moved from Belarus to pursue a career in tennis. His wife is friends with Azarenka's mother and decided to help her. They have become close friends since.
Awards and achievements 
- Played in the NHL All-Star Game 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003
- Won the James Gatschene Memorial Trophy (IHL) MVP) in 2000.
- Tied NHL record for most Shutouts in a Playoff Round (3)
- NHL 1997 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Save percentage Leader (.932)
- NHL 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Wins Leader (16)
- NHL 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Shutouts Leader (5)
- NHL 2011–12 season - Lowest GAA through the first 9 games of a season since the NHL expansion (1967-68 season) (0.98)
- 2004 NHL Stanley Cup Champion – Tampa Bay Lightning
- 1992 Winter Olympics (Ice Hockey) – Gold Medal
- 2002 Winter Olympics (Ice Hockey) – Bronze Medal
- 2002 Winter Olympics (Ice Hockey) – Best Goaltender Award (Directorate)
Career statistics 
Regular season 
Bolded numbers indicate season/ playoff leader
|1999–00||Long Beach Ice Dogs||IHL||33||21||11||1||1936||59||5||1.83||.930|
|2000–01||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||2||1||1||0||123||6||0||2.93||.913|
|2001–02||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||70||24||32||10||3896||153||7||2.36||.920|
|2002–03||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||65||30||22||11||3787||156||4||2.47||.911|
|2003–04||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||55||28||19||7||3274||127||3||2.33||.910|
|2004–05||Ak Bars Kazan||RSL||24||16||5||3||1457||40||5||1.65||—|
- Beginning in the 2005–06 NHL season, regular season games could no longer end in a tie.
|1999–00||Long Beach Ice Dogs||IHL||5||2||3||321||15||0||2.80||—|
|2002–03||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||10||5||5||644||26||0||2.42||.913|
|2003–04||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||23||16||7||1401||40||5||1.71||.933|
|2004–05||Ak Bars Kazan||RSL||2||0||2||118||6||0||3.05||—|
International statistics 
|Year||Team||Event||Place||GP||W||L||T / OT||MIN||GA||SO||GAA||SV%|
See also 
- or "Khabi". Nikolai Khabibulin (1994–present)
- "Khabibulin sharp as World All-Stars rally for win". USA Today. February 2, 2002.
- "Vote deadline may have cost Khabibulin the MVP award". CNN.
- "Khabibulin redefines reputation". St. Petersberg Times. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
- Diamos, Jason (August 6, 2005). "With Playoffs in Mind, Chicago Signs Khabibulin". New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
- "Khabibulin clears waivers". CBC. September 30, 2008. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
- Allen, Kevin (July 1, 2008). "Campbell, Huet heading for Chicago". USA Today. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
- "Report:Khabibulin in Sens-Kings-Hawks swap". Sporting News. Retrieved September 19, 2008.
- Ziehm, Len (May 20, 2009). "Wings win 3–2 in OT, put Hawks in 2-hole". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
- "Khabibulin out, Havlat in for Game 4". Miami Herald. May 24, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2009.[dead link]
- "OILERS GET THEIR NO. 1 GOALIE IN KHABIBULIN". TSN. July 1, 2009. Retrieved July 1, 2009.
- "Moss scores second goal with 48.7 seconds left on Khabibulin's misplayed puck". Associated Press. October 3, 2009. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
- "Edmonton Oilers Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to have back surgery". Associated Press. January 13, 2010. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- "Goalie gets his vintage gold". Seattle Times. February 16, 2002. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
- "Oilers' Khabibulin accused of drunk driving". CBC News. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
- "Oilers' Khabibulin DUI case put over". Toronto Sun. July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
- "Former Coyote Khabibulin receives minimum sentence for DUI". AZ Vibe. August 31, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2010.