Nikolai Khabibulin’s terrible off-season might get a lot better on Friday. Or a lot worse. Khabibulin’s trial for extreme DUI is set to happen then provided it isn’t delayed like it has been the last few times. Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal lays the facts on us on what will be in Khabibulin’s future should things not go his way.
If he’s found guilty, Khabibulin could spend a minimum of 30 days in jail for the misdemeanour. The maximum sentence is six months. He could be sent to Tent City, the military camp in the Arizona desert where the convicted wear prison stripes. They have also been known to wear pink underwear under the watchful eye of hard-line sheriff Joe Arpaio, the legendary lawman who has been featured on the CBS News program 60 Minutes.
Khabibulin would miss two weeks of Oilers training camp, which starts with medicals on Sept. 17. It would further complicate a hardscrabble road for the veteran goalie, who only played 18 games last season before his back gave out on him and he required surgery.
Clearly this trial has major implications on what happens with the Oilers this season. Having a player go to jail doesn’t happen very often in the NHL and clearly if Khabibulin goes to jail their decision to retain both Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers looks smarter. If Khabibulin is cleared, then the Oilers will have a bit of a crowded crease with three goalies on one-way NHL contracts.
We realize that Nik Khabibulin isn’t really on many fans’ radar, especially playing in Edmonton, but given the charges he’s facing (speeding, extreme DUI), the real threat of jail time and the fact that Khabibulin is a former Stanley Cup-winning goalie it’s a story that’s a bit under the radar and all too serious.
The goaltending situation in Philadelphia has become a lot more clear today, as they’ve signed Michal Neuvirth to a contract extension.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, it’s a two-year deal worth a total of $5 million ($2.5 million cap hit).
Neuvirth was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.
The 28-year-old has been between the pipes for nine of his team’s last 11 games, but he’s dropped four of his last five decisions. He has a 10-9-1 record with a 2.90 goals-against-average and a .887 save percentage in 24 games.
The duo of Neuvirth and Steve Mason hasn’t worked out too well in Philadelphia. Both players have struggled to find consistency in their game, which has been problematic for the Flyers.
Even though Neuvirth will be back, they can still shake things up by moving on from Mason, who is also scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st.
The Flyers also re-signed forward Pierre Edouard Bellemare earlier today.
Philadelphia has re-upped with checking forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare on a two-year extension, per Sportsnet.
It’s believed to be a $2.9 million pact, one that carries a $1.45M average annual cap hit. That’s a nice raise for the 31-year-old, who’s in the last of a two-year pact at $712,500 per.
Bellemare joined the Flyers for the ’14-15 campaign, following a lengthy career in Europe that included stops in his native France, and a lengthy spell in Sweden. He’s emerged as a good energy guy in the bottom-six forward group, one that can kill penalties and chip in with a bit of offense.
Today’s news might come as a bit of a surprise for Flyers fans, however. Bellemare was a pending UFA and, given he’s on the wrong side of 30, there was speculation he’d be sold at the deadline in the hopes of recouping some assets.
Some tough news if you’re a fan of the New York Rangers.
According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, Jesper Fast will miss some time with what’s believed to be a separated shoulder.
Fast suffered the injury after being flattened by Alex Ovechkin in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.
The 25-year-old has been a key contributor for New York this season. He’s up to five goals and 15 assists in 59 games. He’s also second in shorthanded ice time and in hits among all Rangers forwards.
The Rangers went into last night’s game without Mika Zibanejad and they also lost Chris Kreider momentarily yesterday, but he was able to return.
Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is expected to provide an update on Fast’s status after today’s practice, but don’t expect the news to be good.
The Montreal Canadiens are keeping busy.
Just one day after acquiring Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings and Brendan Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers in separate deals, general manager Marc Bergevin completed another trade before the deadline when he acquired forward Dwight King from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional 2018 fourth-round draft pick.
It will become a third-round pick if he re-signs with the Canadiens this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
In 63 games this season King has eight goals and seven assists.
He also adds to the Canadiens’ apparent season-long attempt to become a grittier and tougher team, now joining a roster that now has seen Ott, Shea Weber, and Andrew Shaw join it over the past eight months.
For the Kings, it is a move that clears out a bit of salary cap space, perhaps opening the door for them to complete a deal with Colorado for Jarome Iginla, something that seems to be a work in progress on Wednesday.
Canadiens corner market on pests, add Steve Ott
Canadiens get Davidson for Desharnais