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Lalime To Have Back Surgery

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

As training camp opens today, Dale Tallon and the Blackhawks will have to look for a new backup plan.

Goaltender Patrick Lalime will have back surgery Friday and is expected to miss 2-3 months of action. A free agent acquisition this summer, Lalime was slated to be the Blackhawks' number two goalie this season behind Nikolai Khabibulin.

Lalime missed the last 9 games of the 2005-06 season due to a torn ACL, which he is fully recovered from. But working out in preparation for this year, Lalime recently began experiencing some back pain and the Blackhawks medical staff concluded that surgery would be necessary.

The Blackhawks want 2nd round pick Corey Crawford to continue his development in Norfolk, which means off-season addition Sebastien Caron is the likely front-runner to fill in for Lalime. Brian Boucher, who was added to the training camp roster Wednesday as a tryout, will also get consideration.

Caron started 26 games for Pittsburgh last season and was 8-9-5 with one shutout. In three seasons with the Penguins, Caron was 24-47-12 with a 3.49 GAA.

Boucher split time between Phoenix and Calgary last season, going 1-2-0 in three games with the Flames. He was 3-6-0 with a 3.87 GAA in 11 starts with the Coyotes. Boucher is 75-85-30 in six pro seasons with Philadelphia, Phoenix and Calgary, boasting a career GAA of 2.74.

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