Jim Matheson’s article on Nikolai Khabibulin doesn’t sound too positive.
Starter Nikolai Khabibulin, who hasn’t been on the ice in about three weeks, continues to rehab his sore back and he is not close to being ready to stop shots. The Oilers have released no solid information on his condition while he has been in for treatment during the Roar of the Rings and to do some light exercise.
I’ve seen whispers elsewhere that the injury might be serious. I’ve been kind of wondering whether this back injury is pre-existing, the extent to which a recurrence could have been predicted and the extent of the Oilers due diligence on the guy – remember, he was signed pretty quickly on July 1.
As it so happens, Khabibulin’s agent is on Twitter. I figured I’d ask him some questions. The following exchange ensued:
mc79hockey: @jay_grossman How does UFA work with respect to physicals? When we hear that someone has been signed, does it mean “subject to med review”?
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey exc.Q. Players subject to full physical at camp or contract suspended until healthy, subject to 2nd opinion etc
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Thks. Oilers review any meds on Khabby before signing? Or do teams risk signings with bad med history who can pass physical?
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey ahh, get it. Trick Q. He will be fine for you guys, see Chicago, Tampa. Bit of a slow start/injury,strong finish is what counts
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Not a trick Q – thought you did a great job for your client; Tambo, uh, less so. I can hardly wait for 2012-13!
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey don’t blame tambo. GM 101says you get a coach,102 a goalie. He got best on market. Lots of others can’t say the same. Be patient
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman I don’t expect you to criticize a guy who paid your guy. I wouldn’t. Hope it works out. Did he review any meds b4 signing?
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey full physical at camp required. If I were you, be a lot more critical of those that didn’t sign Bulin wall than did. Look it up.
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman If med history indicates chronic groin/back problems that aren’t bothering him at camp, can team declare physical failed?
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman If you’re interested, I wrote a piece on July 1 explaining why Khabby was a bad fit for OIl: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3163
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman As far as teams that passed him by regretting it? Anderson, Roli and Niittymaki all look good. Plus, less $ and term/risk.
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey you probably spoke to soon, but I will read it and get back to you for sure!
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey analyze their career and 08-9 stats and get back to me. I’m big on experience, pressure, Cups. Only #Brodeur bests this decade
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Khabby’s 08-09 is outlier – 1 year sample too small. 5 goalies won 1st Cup in last 8 years. Plus, Oil didn’t get 2000 Khabby.
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman What he did in last decade relevant insofar as it predicts future. Big dif between 26 year old goalie and 36 year old.
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Oh – If med history indicates chronic groin/back problems that aren’t bothering him at camp, can team declare physical failed?
Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey a) does not have chronic back/ groin probs. B) no.
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Will take you at your word, but if I was handing out $15MM, I’d want to see the med records. Insane risk for Oilers to take.
mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Particularly where guy has missed 40 games w/ back/groin problems in last 4 years.
Developing, as they say, although I’m pretty sure I know what inference I’m drawing with respect to the review of medical documentation prior to signing him. I would bet that Grossman gracefully avoids the question, as I would if I was in his position.