SUN Hockey Pool

Munro won't breeze through

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Adam Munro isn't in the temporary confines of a hotel but not because he's been told to find an apartment.

Welcome to the tenuous life of a young goaltender trying to make his way in the NHL.

"No, I'm staying at Rene Bourque's place," explained the Chicago Blackhawks netminder. "That way, if they send me to the minors, I can get out of there as quick as the hotel."

That's not a likely scenario right now for Munro. With No. 1 goalie Nikolai Khabibulin out for an extended period of time, Munro is the de facto main man for the near future.

It doesn't hurt the 23-year-old is coming off his first NHL shutout, a 2-0 win over the Calgary Flames Thursday night.

'Hawks head coach Trent Yawney may be thrilled with Munro's 26-save outing but is quick to point out the bigger test comes today when the teams meet for the second half of their two-game set at the United Center.

"Our goaltending has been average and that's maybe been generous," said Yawney, the former Flames defenceman in his first NHL season as head coach. "With Adam, even in the minors last year he played very well -- he put us in the playoffs -- but there was no in-between. He was either outstanding or awful. There was no middle ground."

Playoff hopes in Chicago are slim, being 20 points back of eighth spot. If the 'Hawks are going to make a charge, it'll be Munro carrying the mail. Originally drafted by Chicago 29th overall in 2001, but not signed before re-entering the draft, he inked a free-agent deal in February 2004.

At the time, the 'Hawks had Michael Leighton and Craig Anderson as prospects but both have been let go. With Khabibulin's knee injury, suddenly Munro is a starter with all of 13 career games under his belt.

"It's funny but last year I went through the same thing," Munro said. "Both goalies went down at the same time, Anderson and Leighton, and I went from being number three to being thrown in at number one pretty quick. I'm trying to use that to help me out."


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