Netminder Nikolai Khabibulin will indeed require back surgery, putting a premature end to the controversial acquisition's first season with the Edmonton Oilers.
He's been out since the last week of November while the club waited and hoped that the disc problem would heal on its own, but it hasn't.
Khabibulin will have surgery tomorrow in Los Angeles.
He played in 18 games before going down, posting a 7-9-2 record, 3.03 GAA and .910 save percentage.
Critics feared something like this would happen from the first day Khabibulin signed here.
The deal raised all kinds of eyebrows, given Khabibulin's age (he's 37 now), history of injuries (he's only played more than 50 games once in the last six seasons) and duration (four years, $15 million).