Image (1) nikolaikhabibulin3-thumb-250x196-19078.jpg for post 3189

Khabibulin will spend 12 hours per day serving hard time… at home

4 Comments

Just yesterday we heard that Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was going through Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “tent city” to do some hard time. Tonight, we’ve found out that only half of that statement is true. He will still spend his sentence in Tent City—but it’s going to be difficult to sell anyone that this is hard time. Listen to this: from 9:00am until 9:00pm, he’ll be free to go wherever he wants and do pretty much as he pleases. When 9:00pm rolls around each night, he’ll be required to return to Tent City to do his time each night. As long as he agrees to cut his hair and stays away from alcohol for the 15 days, he’ll be free to kick back and do what he pleases in public.

A spokesman for the Sheriff’s office, Justin Griffin, broke it down for the Edmonton Journal:

“Should Khabibulin fail to abide by jail rules during his 15-day sentence, Griffin said the goalie will be remanded into full custody and will lose all privileges. If Khabibulin refuses to cut his hair, if he shows up late at the end of the days, if there’s alcohol on his breath or he appears intoxicated, that’s it. Pink shorts. Striped jumpsuit.”

Again, let’s be clear: as long as he cuts his hair and stays sober, he can spend 12 hours of each day in the comforts of his own home. And this is the tough part of the sentence. After the 15 nights in Tent City, then he’ll have 15 days of house arrest with an ankle monitor.

“According to a representative of Scottsdale City Court, he will spend 15 days in jail, with the other 15 days to be served at home with an electronic monitoring device. He will start serving the sentence this weekend. Khabibulin must also enter an alcohol treatment program.”

When he starts his sentence this weekend, he’ll be forced to stay in Tent City for at least 48 hours before he can go home during the day. There were promises that Khabibulin would not receive preferential treatment—which is still marginally true. Inmates in Maricopa County are oftentimes allowed to leave during the day so they can work their day jobs before returning to Tent City for the evenings. Even though Edmonton’s training camp doesn’t start until September and the season doesn’t begin until October, he will be able to spend his days at home under the work-release program. As the Edmonton Journal clarified, “it’s not uncommon for DUI offenders to get work release, but that decision rests in the judge’s hands.”

It’s commendable that Khabibulin dropped his appeal to face his sentence earlier this week—but there’s very little downside here. In Arizona, the minimum sentence for a DUI charge is 30 days in jail, $1000 minimum fine, and an alcohol abuse program. Khabibulin was charged with “extreme DUI and reckless driving,” yet will only spend 12 hours per day in Tent City. For half of his sentence. Yet, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that the Oilers’ goaltender wouldn’t get preferential treatment. Surely, this is how the average Joe’s situation would be handled, right?

Anisimov out six to eight weeks after undergoing ‘successful’ wrist surgery

Chicago Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov tries to handle a rebound from Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP Photo
1 Comment

Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.

“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.

The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.

Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.

He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.

Prior to his surgery, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.

Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016

With Letang suspended, Schultz out to ‘prove a lot of people wrong’ if he gets the call in Game 4

2 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins may hold a 2-1 series lead over the rival Washington Capitals, but they will be without defenseman Kris Letang for a pivotal Game 4 on Wednesday.

Perhaps for the Capitals, the absence of Letang — suspended one game for a high, late hit on Marcus Johansson in Game 3 — on the Penguins blue line can provide an opportunity to help swing the series back in their favor heading to Washington and home ice in Game 5.

“He’s the backbone of their defense,” Capitals blue liner Karl Alzner told CSN Mid-Atlantic.

“He goes back for pucks and gets them out of his zone with a pass or a flip. He transitions the puck and logs key minutes on their PP.”

In addition to seven points in eight games this post-season, which puts him into a tie for third among defensemen in the playoffs, Letang is also among the leaders in ice time, averaging 29:13 per game.

So yes, that’s a significant loss at this juncture of the series, even if for one game.

The Penguins were already without Olli Maatta for Game 3. He was injured on that late, high hit from Brooks Orpik. That forced Derrick Pouliot into the lineup for Pittsburgh. The 25-year-old Justin Schultz, who the Penguins acquired from Edmonton earlier this season, figures to be next in line for Pittsburgh with Letang out.

Schultz entered the league with plenty of hype surrounding him, billed as a dynamic offensive defenseman. But nothing seemed to pan out for him in Edmonton, there were growing concerns about his play in his own end, and his time there ended with a trade prior to the deadline.

This could mean added minutes, too, for Trevor Daley, who played 22:20 in Game 3.

Between Pouliot and Schultz, they have a combined two games worth of Stanley Cup playoff experience.

Video: Letang suspended one game for late hit with ‘significant head contact’ on Johansson

38 Comments

The National Hockey League has suspended Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang one game for a high, late hit on Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson during Game 3.

The incident occurred late in the first period of Monday’s game, as Johansson had passed the puck off after entering the Pittsburgh zone. Letang was given a minor penalty for interference.

“After Johansson moves the puck, Letang delivers a high, forceful hit that makes significant head contact,” stated the league’s Department of Player Safety in a video.

“It is important to note that Johansson is not eligible to be checked on this play. Players who are not in possession of the puck are never eligible to be checked. However, the interference rule provides a brief window during which a player who initiates a hit while his opponent is in possession of the puck may legally finish a check. This is not such a case.”

The DoPS did state that Letang didn’t leave his feet making the hit, but that they leave the ice due to the “force of the hit.”

“This is also not an illegal check to the head,” it states in the video. “While there is significant head contact here, the head is not the main point of contact.”

Following the game, both Letang and Johansson broke down the hit for the media, but of course, both had totally different opinions of what occurred.

The Penguins lead the series 2-1 and have the opportunity to take a stranglehold with a win in Game 4 on Wednesday. Of course, without Letang, that task gets even more difficult.

Meanwhile, the bad blood between the rival Penguins and Capitals continues. This series has already run afoul of the DoPS, with the Orpik suspension and Tom Wilson receiving a fine for kneeing Conor Sheary.

Ruff ‘not telling’ who will start tonight for Stars

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP
Leave a comment

 

Some intrigue in St. Louis, where Antti Niemi was the first Stars netminder off the ice this morning, only for Lindy Ruff to tell the media that tonight’s starter would be Kari Lehtonen.

Then, just to muddy the waters further, Ruff told reporters, “I’m not telling you who’s starting, so don’t ask.”

Typically, whichever goalie leaves the morning skate first is the starter.

But then, typically, a team doesn’t have a two-goalie system in the playoffs, so perhaps we should’t assume anything at this point. 

All we know for sure is that Lehtonen started the first two games of this series. He played well in Game 1, a 2-1 Stars victory, but got pulled in Game 2 after surrendering three goals on just five shots.

Niemi, meanwhile, was solid in relief in Game 2, allowing just one goal — David Backeswinner in overtime — on 20 shots. For that reason, many figured Ruff would turn to Niemi for Game 3, just like he turned to Niemi for Games 4 and 5 in the first round against Minnesota.

 

But, apparently, we’ll have to wait and see for sure.