Groin injury ices Khabibulin

Nikolai Khabibulin is out with a groin injury. (JORDAN VERLAGE/EDMONTON SUN)

Nikolai Khabibulin is out with a groin injury. (JORDAN VERLAGE/EDMONTON SUN)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:08 PM ET

It seemed only a matter of time, the way Nikolai Khabibulin was being bombarded with pucks, that something on his body would break down.

Turns out the groin was the first to go.

He’s out with what the Oilers medical staff is describing - not to get too technical, here - as a tweak. How long he’ll stay on the shelf remains to be seen, but in the meantime they’re calling Martin Gerber to help Devan Dubnyk out between the pipes.

“We might be putting him on IR (which means he’s out for a week at least), and if that’s the case obviously we’re going to need some help,” said head coach Tom Renney, adding Khabibulin felt something give during Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to Chicago. “After the second period we had a quick chat and I didn’t want to risk it. That’s why we took him out.”

Khabibulin is out three games earlier than he was last year, when a back injury ended his season. This isn’t as serious, although groin injuries and goalies are a dangerous mix.

“At that position it’s something you have to be really careful with, naturally,” said Renney. “So we will be.”

Unless the Oilers can’t help themselves and jump right back into a three goalie situation by calling two keepers up from Oklahoma City, Dubnyk will finally get a little room to grow. He goes from being one of three goalies early in the season to the last man standing. Jeff Deslauriers is down in Oklahoma City, not exactly loving the fact he isn’t the one being called up.

“You fight so hard to be here because when you are one of the two there is going to be that opportunity, possibly, to get some games if something happens,” said Dubnyk.

Khabibulin had been taking a terrible beating in the Edmonton net, going 0-4 with a .789 save percentage and allowing 22 goals in his last four starts, so giving Dubnyk a long look isn’t a terrible development.

“That’s part of the job of being a backup, if something happens you’re the guy,” said Dubnyk. “I just tried to stay prepared the whole season, through long droughts. Nothing is going to change whether I’m playing every game or every three weeks. I’m just going to go have fun with it.”


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