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Khabibulin set to return Friday against Avs
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin


Associated Press

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Published: 12/9/2008 4:45 PM | Updated: 12/10/2008 12:11 AM

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Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin pronounced himself healthy and ready to play after returning to practice Tuesday for the first time since suffering a lower body injury on Nov. 26 at San Jose.

However, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville plans to give Khabibulin a few more days of practice and will start Cristobal Huet tonight against the Ottawa Senators at the United Center.

Khabibulin is expected to start Friday at Colorado.

"I think it'll maybe be good for him to watch a game from the bench, and we'll target Friday for him," Quenneville said.

Khabibulin moved well and said he was pain free during Tuesday's workout.

"As far as the injury, I'm fine now and I just need a few more shots and I'll be ready," Khabibulin said.

Hunt is 2-2-1 in five starts since Khabibulin's injury.

"Huet has been fine," Quenneville said.

Roster shuffle: Left wing Pascal Pelletier was recalled from Rockford on Tuesday to play tonight while Kris Versteeg serves his one-game suspension for instigating a fight with Kyle Turris of the Coyotes with two seconds to play Sunday.

The 25-year-old Pelletier leads Rockford with 13 goals, 6 of them coming in the last seven games. He will play on the fourth line with Colin Fraser and Craig Adams.

"I just tried to work hard and hope to get the chance to come up," Pelletier said.

"The guys all speak highly of him," Joel Quenneville said. "It looked like he's got some skill and some patience with the puck. He's been hot lately and played well and earned the opportunity."

To make room for Pelletier's salary cap hit, Adam Burish was placed on injured reserve with his broken toe, retroactive to Nov. 26. Burish remains out indefinitely.

Ben Eager will take Versteeg's spot on the line with Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien.

"Benny has been playing well, and when he gets an opportunity, he's taken advantage of it," Quenneville said.

Minor deal: The Hawks traded a conditional draft pick to Vancouver on Tuesday for defenseman Jimmy Sharrow, who was assigned to Rockford.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Sharrow had 1 goal and 5 assists with 4 penalty minutes in 17 games with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.