|Khabibulin with the Blackhawks in 2008.|
|6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
207 lb (94 kg)
Soviet Championship League
Soviet Class B
Sputnik Nizhny Tagil
Ak Bars Kazan
Long Beach Ice Dogs
Tampa Bay Lightning
|Coaching||2019-present Russian National Junior Team|
2019-present Russian National B Team
2020-present Russian National Team
|Born||January 13, 1973,|
|NHL Draft||204th overall, 1992|
|Pro Career||1988 – 2014|
Nikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin (Russian: Николай Иванович Хабибулин) (born on January 13, 1973 in Yekaterinburg) is a Russian retired professional ice hockey goaltender. He is currently the goaltending coach for Russian National Junior Team, Russian National B Team and Russian National Team. He was often known by his nickname The Bulin Wall. Other nicknames included The Nyet Minder and The First Tsar.
Khabibulin's abilities were recognized with four appearances in the NHL All-Star Game and two Olympic medals. He became the first Russian goalie ever to win the Stanley Cup in 2004, winning the title with the Lightning.
- 1 Playing career
- 2 Personal life
- 3 International play
- 4 Awards
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Before NHL[edit | edit source]
Khabibulin began his senior career in season 1988-89 playing one game for Avtomobilist Sverdlovsk of the Soviet Championship League. He played in USSR and then in Russia also for Luch Sverdlovsk of the Soviet Class B, Sputnik Nizhny Tagil of the Class B, CSKA Moskva of the Soviet Championship League and later of the Superliga, CSKA Moskva-2 of the Class B and later of the Vysshaya Liga and for the Metallurg Serov of the Class B.
Winnipeg Jets/Phoenix Coyotes[edit | edit source]
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 of the IHL and by the start of the NHL season in January 1995 was playing in the NHL. During his first season with Jets, Khabibulin also played for Springfield Falcons of the AHL. 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 Coyotes made the playoffs each of these years, some claimed that this heavy workload led Khabibulin to be fatigued for the playoffs, contributing to the team's failure to make it to the second round of the playoffs.
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 IHL, earning the league's MVP trophy.
Tampa Bay Lightning[edit | edit source]
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, he re-emerged as a premier goaltender. Joined by 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[edit | edit source]
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 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[edit | edit source]
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.
On January 13, 2010, it was announced that Khabibulin will have surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. He missed the remainder of the regular season.
Khabibulin stayed with Oilers until the end of the 2012-13 NHL season.
Back with the Blackhawks[edit | edit source]
Khabibulin signed with Blackhawks for his last career season.
He played 4 games for Blackhawks in his last season.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
On February 8, 2010, Khabibulin was pulled over 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. 
International play[edit | edit source]
|Competitor for Russia|
|Bronze||2002||Salt Lake City|
|Competitor for CIS|
|World Junior Championships|
Khabibulin made his international debut with the Soviet Union at the 1991 European U18 Championship. 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 Unified Team as the third goaltender. Controversy arose after the Unified Team 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. 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.
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 six games.
Awards[edit | edit source]
Career statistics[edit | edit source]
Regular season[edit | edit source]
|1999–2000||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.
Playoffs[edit | edit source]
|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[edit | edit source]
|Year||Team||Event||Place||GP||W||L||T / OT||MIN||GA||SO||GAA||SV%|
References[edit | edit source]
- Nikolai Khabibulin (1994-present)
- Khabibulin’s curious legacy of losses against the Canucks. The Vancouver Sun (May 1, 2009). Retrieved on 2009-05-02.
- "Khabibulin redefines reputation". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
- Diamos, Jason. "With Playoffs in Mind, Chicago Signs Khabibulin", New York Times, 2005-08-06. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
- "Khabibulin clears waivers". CBC (2008-09-30). Retrieved on 2008-10-12.
- Allen, Kevin. "Campbell, Huet heading for Chicago", USA Today, 2008-07-01. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
- "Report:Khabibulin in Sens-Kings-Hawks swap". Sporting News. Retrieved on 2008-09-19.
- Ziehm, Len. "Wings win 3-2 in OT, put Hawks in 2-hole", Chicago Sun-Times, 2009-05-20. Retrieved on 2009-05-25.
- "Khabibulin out, Havlat in for Game 4", Miami Herald, 2009-05-24. Retrieved on 2009-05-25.
- "OILERS GET THEIR NO. 1 GOALIE IN KHABIBULIN", TSN, 2009-07-01. Retrieved on 2009-07-01.
- "Moss scores second goal with 48.7 seconds left on Khabibulin's misplayed puck". Associated Press. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2009-12-09.
- "Edmonton Oilers Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to have back surgery". Associated Press. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-01-13.
- "Oilers' Khabibulin accused of drunk driving", CBC News, 2010-02-17. Retrieved on 2010-02-18. Archived from the original on 2010-02-21.
- "Oilers' Khabibulin DUI case put over", Toronto Sun, 2010-07-07. Retrieved on 2010-07-08.
- "Former Coyote Khabibulin receives minimum sentence for DUI", AZ Vibe, 2010-31-08. Retrieved on 2010-31-08.
- "Goalie gets his vintage gold". Seattle Times. Retrieved on 2008-10-12.