Khabibulin impaired driving trial delayed once again

khabibulindui.jpgThe trial for Edmonton Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin in his impaired driving case has been delayed once again. Sarah McClellan of the Edmonton Journal shares the news.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin arrived in an Arizona court Wednesday for the second time this month to appear before a jury on charges of impaired driving and speeding, but his case was once again postponed.

“The calendar’s congested,” said Khabibulin’s attorney Mark DuBiel as he exited a Scottsdale Municipal courtroom with Khabibulin.

Judge B. Monte Morgan offered DuBiel two options: a court date at the end of August without a jury in which Morgan would act as the judge and jury, or a date at the end of September with a jury trial.

“We don’t know which one we’re gonna take yet because we have to talk to the hockey club first,” DuBiel said.

Morgan also suggested an interim judge take the case, but DuBiel said that was a route the prosecutor would not like to take.

Khabibulin is going to have to face the music on this charge eventually and it’s one that looks pretty ugly considering the seemingly tame-ish nature of the charge. Khabibulin was cited for an extreme DUI and took a blood test to check the alcohol content in his system. The results came up as being more than twice the legal limit. Not good. With the trial now being delayed until September, Khabibulin’s participation in Oilers training camp will now face a major distraction.
Given that Khabibulin’s contract with the Oilers is rather interminably long for the 37 year-old (he’s got three years left at $3.375 million per), we took a look at what the Oilers could do a couple weeks ago should Khabibulin face jail time and found that the Oilers could void his contract if things got that far. Whether the Oilers would do that and battle with the NHLPA would remain to be seen.

Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.