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updated: 1/7/2014 5:12 PM

Khabibulin out 4-5 months after surgery

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  • Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin will miss four to five months after having shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

    Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin will miss four to five months after having shoulder surgery on Tuesday.
    Associated Press/file


Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin will miss four to five months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said Khabibulin, who hasn't played since suffering a groin injury against the Nashville Predators on Nov. 16, may be able to return this season.

"It was one of those things where you try to rehab it to avoid surgery," Bowman said. "With him being out with the groin, he could work on it the last six weeks or so. It just never got better to the point where it wasn't going to heal without surgery.

"He could come back. He just had the surgery (Tuesday) so we'll have to see how the recovery goes. Time frame on that is 4-5 months, so we'll just have to see how it goes down the road."

Hawks team physician Michael Terry supervised the procedure at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and anticipates a full recovery.

The 40-year-old Khabibulin was signed to a one-year, $2 million deal in the off-season. He is 1-0-1 with a 5.01 goals-against average and .811 save percentage in four games this season.

Rookie Antti Raanta will continue to fill in for Khabibulin as the team's No. 2 goaltender. He is 11-1-3 with a 2.27 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

"He's been great for us," Bowman said. "We signed him last summer hoping he would be able to do that and you don't really know until they come over to North America how they're going to adjust to the different-sized rink, but it hasn't taken him very long.

"He looks really comfortable; certainly the guys play well in front of him. I think it's been a nice combination."

Don't forget Sweden:

There's been so much attention focused on Canada and the Team USA ahead of the Olympics, people tend to forget about Sweden.

The Swedes are loaded with Henrik Lundqvist in goal and Henrik Zetterberg, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Steen up front.

The defense consists of Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Niklas Kronwall, Eric Karlsson, Alex Edler, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jonathan Ericsson and Henrik Tallinder.

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