LaBarbera looks to add veteran depth to Blackhawks

LaBarbera looks to add veteran depth to Blackhawks
December 20, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Jason LaBarbera is used to the multiple moves.

The journeyman goaltender has called several NHL cities home, has had many different teammates and has several sets of leg pads to show for it.

“I have a lot sitting in my basement right now,” said LaBarbera, who was recalled by the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday afternoon. LaBarbera, acquired from the Edmonton Oilers last week — he’s still wearing his blue and orange pads for now — rebuilds the Blackhawks’ veteran depth at goaltender, which was depleted with Corey Crawford and Nikolai Khabibulin’s injuries.

“He gives us some experience, he’s played in the league and gives us depth at that position,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “With Antti (Raanta) being new and having a couple of kids in Rockford, we got a little thin. We’ll see along the way when we can get him in.”

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The Blackhawks’ schedule lightens up here around and right after the holidays, so it’s uncertain when LaBarbera will play. Crawford skated on his own today and yesterday, and Quenneville said Crawford could join team practices after the Christmas break. Raanta, who starts tonight against the Vancouver Canucks, has played well and handled the team’s recent workload just fine.

So LaBarbera will bide his time and just enjoy the latest change of scenery. With the rash of goalie injuries this season, he figured he’d be traded somewhere.

“I just didn’t know how, when, where, why, who,” LaBarbera said. “I never saw this many goalies get hurt before. It’s been interesting. Every day I was wondering, ‘Maybe I’ll go there. Maybe I’ll go here.’ It can be stressful at times but it’s part of the gig. You wait and see what happens and you go from there.”

Now LaBarbera is ensconced in his latest city. As he said, it’s part of the gig to move around the league when you’re not a No. 1 goaltender. LaBarbera will see what happens, but he’s certainly in a good place.

“Going from one extreme to another. It’s exciting to come to an organization like this,” he said. “(Moving often) is the reality of hockey and you deal with it. Whatever the opportunity, I want to be ready.”