How the extreme DUI guilty decision may affect Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin

Thumbnail image for Bulin.jpgIn case you haven’t heard already, Nikolai Khabibulin was found guilty of the following charges.

  1. Driving under the influence of alcohol (with a BAC level above .08 percent).
  2. An extreme DUI
  3. Excessive speeding

Although the sentencing hearing hasn’t been determined just yet, it is certain that Khabibulin will face at least 30 days in prison for his bad judgment. Keep in mind, though, that such a penalty is the minimum punishment for the Russian goalie’s convictions.

The question is, what are some of the other possibilities that might result? Let’s take a look at the legal ramnifications first, according to this article from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal.

  • His maximum sentence is a whopping six months in jail.
  • He could serve time in the notorious Arizona correctional facility known as “Tent City.” That’s a place in which inmates eat substandard food and face considerable embarrassment as punishment for their indiscretions.

Let’s not forget some of the other legal headaches that most people would consider “peripheral.” (Source: Travis Hughes of SB Nation.)

  • He might have to pay over $2,000 worth of fines.
  • The state of Arizona might require him to do some community service.
  • I’ll let the document Hughes cited do the talking for this punishment.

Shall be required by the department, on receipt of the report of conviction, to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device pursuant to section 28-3319. In addition, the court may order the person to equip any motor vehicle the person operates with a certified ignition interlock device for more than twelve months beginning on the date of reinstatement of the person’s driving privilege following a suspension or revocation or on the date of the department’s receipt of the report of conviction, whichever occurs later.

Finally, let’s not forget the possible hockey repercussions. Matheson points out that Khabibulin would miss at least two weeks of training camp. While it’s far fetched (especially if the sentence is only for a month), the Edmonton Oilers may even attempt to use the “morals clause” in Khabibulin’s albatross contract to make his deal go away.*

* – There will most likely be more on this subject later.

So, again, we don’t have the dates in which his punishment will be revealed yet. That being said, this enormous headache keeps getting worse for the Oilers. Khabibulin’s judge simply owns the power to decide whether this will be a “migraine” or a “nuclear meltdown” for Edmonton.

What an ugly, ugly situation. Stay tuned for more on this subject soon.

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    Goalie nods: Budaj set to make Kings debut

    during a preseason game at Staples Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
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    Journeyman Peter Budaj looks as though he’ll make his first regular-season NHL appearance since April of 2014, when the Kings take on the Rangers at MSG.

    Recalled from AHL Ontario due to an injury to Jonathan Quick, Budaj gets the nod tonight after Quick’s backup, Jhonas Enroth, was beat for four goals on 29 shots in last night’s loss to the Islanders.

    Budaj, 33, has certainly earned another crack at the big leagues. After catching on with the Kings through a PTO in training camp, he’s been terrific in Ontario, going 26-9-3 with a 1.58 GAA and .935 save percentage. The Slovakian netminder also has eight shutouts this year.

    For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the start in goal, giving Henrik Lundqvist a night off.

    Elsewhere…

    Ben Scrivens, who appears to be the new No. 1 in Montreal, will go for his fourth straight win when the Habs visit Buffalo. Chad Johnson is in goal for the Sabres, who’ve really struggled of late.

    Marc-Andre Fleury goes for the Penguins, while it looks like Cam Ward is in for Carolina.

    — Really good matchup in Detroit as Semyon Varlamov goes up against Petr Mrazek who, according to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, has “crashed Braden Holtby’s Vezina party.”

    — Battle of All-Star netminders in Tampa Bay, as Ben Bishop goes for the Bolts while Pekka Rinne starts for Nashville.

    The red-hot Brian Elliott will continue to roll as St. Louis’ No. 1 in Florida. The Panthers will go with their old reliable, Roberto Luongo.

    Now that Karri Ramo’s on IR, it’s Jonas Hiller time for the Flames. He’ll start tonight in Arizona, against Louis Domingue.

    Therrien refutes report that Price is likely done for the season

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    Contrary to a report by La Presse newspaper, Montreal head coach Michel Therrien says that Canadiens goalie Carey Price could still play again this season.

    “We know what’s going on with Carey,” Therrien told reporters today. “It takes more time, obviously, than we were expecting. Like I said, he’s working extremely hard and he’s put in a lot of hours to make sure that he’s going to make that comeback. The fact that he’s working extremely hard is not to make sure that he’s going to look good this summer on the beach; he wants to come back and play for the Montreal Canadiens.”

    That being said, Price does not appear close to a return. He’s yet to practice with teammates. He’s yet to even skate in goalie gear.

    The Habs have 27 games left to get back into a playoff spot. They close out the regular season on April 9, less than two months from today.

    Related: With Price possibly done for the season, Scrivens has Dubnyk-like opportunity

    With trade deadline approaching, Canucks announce Edler out 6 weeks, Sutter 6-8 weeks

    Washington Capitals v Vancouver Canucks
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    The Vancouver Canucks announced today that they’ll be without defenseman Alex Edler (fractured fibula) for six weeks and center Brandon Sutter (broken jaw that required surgery) for six to eight weeks.

    So basically those two are gone for the remainder of regular season, save for possibly a few games at the tail end of the schedule.

    For a bubble team that doesn’t boast a ton of depth, the injuries are significant. Edler leads the Canucks in ice time, averaging almost 25 minutes per game. Sutter, arguably their best defensive center, already missed a big chunk of games earlier in the season following sports-hernia surgery.

    But GM Jim Benning still isn’t giving up on the playoffs. Yesterday, he went on Vancouver radio and suggested the Canucks could actually be buyers at the trade deadline.

    Benning only has a couple of weeks to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agents defenseman Dan Hamhuis and winger Radim Vrbata. The trade deadline is Feb. 29.

    The Canucks, currently just two points back of Nashville for the final wild-card spot, have a pair of winnable games coming up. They host Toronto Saturday and Minnesota Monday.

    Related: Preds entering key (and tough) stretch before trade deadline

    Jets activate Pavelec from IR, send Hellebuyck back to minors

    Winnipeg Jets v New York Islanders
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    Winnipeg’s goalie of the future is off to continue his development in the AHL.

    On Friday, the Jets activated veteran netminder Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve and, in a subsequent move, sent rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck back to their affiliate in Manitoba.

    Hellebuyck, 22, arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare, having starred for Team USA at the 2015 Worlds while being named an AHL All-Star as well.

    This was his first-ever stint with the Jets, and it went OK — Hellebuyck posted an 13-11-1 record, .918 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — but he did struggle of late, getting hooked in two of his last three outings.

    Now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Pavelec.

    His numbers prior to getting hurt weren’t any better than Hellebuyck’s — .906 save percentage, 2.82 GAA — and there will be considerable rust to knock off, given he’s been out since late November with a knee issue.

    There’s also the long-term implication.

    Pavelec, a lightning rod for criticism over the last few seasons, has one year left on his five-year, $19.5 million extension, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in July of ’17.

    It could be his last season in Winnipeg (assuming he’s not bought out of the final year of his deal), which makes one wonder what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has in store.

    It’s also worth noting there’s a third goalie in this equation: Michael Hutchinson, who’s a pending RFA.