Tag: DUI

Nikolai Khabibulin

Life after Tent City; Nikolai Khabibulin looks forward to proving doubters wrong

The story of Nikolai Khabibulin’s tumultuous offseason has been well documented. After a DUI trial (and subsequent conviction), Khabibulin was sentenced to 15 days split between work release and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City in Arizona. 108 degree heat and close quarters weren’t exactly the type of accommodations that he’s grown accustomed to over his 15 seasons in the NHL. This just in: doing “hard time” isn’t a pleasant experience.

With the punishment in his rearview mirror, he took some time to reflect on the experience with the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson. Khabibulin shared experiences that may have differed from most inmates’ experiences. He also shared how the public nature of his trial and punishment affected not only himself, but his family as well.

“There were a lot of people I talked to. Contractors, some are CEOs of companies, some regular people and we all talked about the things we did. We all said if we could get this back, we’d never do it. It’s tough to deal with, especially when you’re in the media. My daughter just turned 19 and she reads the Internet. She wasn’t very happy. It’s not like she was giving me a hard time … she would say something funny to me, but I know she was crying the first few days I was there. That was hard on me. I’m pretty sure with what I’ve done, she’ll learn from this too.”

Now that he’s out and has presumably learned his lesson the hard way, he can attempt to turn his attention to his job: the upcoming hockey season. After earning his current 4-year, $15 million contract with a dominant 2008-09 season in Chicago, he’s struggled to find his form in an Oilers jersey. He looked like he had rediscovered his game during his final season with the Blackhawks as he racked up a 25-8-7 record with a .919 save percentage and a 2.33 goals against average. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that was only two seasons ago.

There’s no questioning that it’s been a rocky Albertan road for Khabibulin thus far. His total record for the Oilers has been 17-41-6 while he’s given up an average of more than 3 goals per game. Then again, the Bulin Wall isn’t the only player who has struggled over the last two seasons in Edmonton. It takes more than one player to earn #1 overall draft picks for two consecutive years.

Despite the chaotic summer and rough two seasons in Edmonton, Khabibulin believes he still has something left in the tank. The Tent City story may have dominated headlines, but it’s the work the netminder has put in behind-the-scenes that he believes will help him turn things around this season. Again, from Matheson’s article:

“When you go on a long losing streak and nothing seems to go right, it’s more discouraging than having lost your confidence. I’ve put a lot of work in this summer, starting earlier, not many days off. I have a little extra motivation this year to be in better shape (he was coming off back surgery last fall) and be quicker. I still have the motivation. You see a guy like (Dwayne) Roloson who is almost 42, who had a pretty good regular season and a really good playoff. I think that’s encouraging for anybody.”

Edmonton fans would love to see Khabibulin channel his inner-Roloson. After all, this is a fanbase who had an up-close and personal look at Roloson’s finest moment as the Oilers rode the goaltender to within a single game of their sixth Stanley Cup. He’s shown in the past that he’s capable of being an elite goaltender when he’s motivated. He was motivated in his final season with the Lightning and helped Tampa win their only Stanley Cup. He was motivated yet again in Chicago and had one of the best seasons in his career.

We’ll see if he’s as motivated as he says he is. If so, back-up goaltender Devan Dubnyk better make sure his baseball cap fits comfortably.

Former Maple Leafs captain Rick Vaive takes the stand in drunk driving case

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Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Rick Vaive took the stand in his own drunken driving case after pleading not guilty to impaired driving charges. Vaive was arrested on July 14 with a blood-alcohol level twice the league limit after having a 6-pack during a round of golf that day. Vaive explained that even enough though he had six beers before getting behind the wheel for the three hour drive home, he was not drunk. He added that he didn’t know how many drinks it would take for him to get drunk because he “hasn’t been drunk in some time.” Regarding the case at hand, Vaive make clear that the 6-pack of beer was enough:

“I would say probably anything over six would be my limit. My rule is three, actually.”

Upon his arrest, Vaive called Trevor Whiffen (his agent) that night from the police station. In court today, Whiffen said “he appeared lucid and his speech was not slurred.” It’s good to know that he sober when he called his agent. As for when he was behind the wheel of his car? The blood-alcohol test said otherwise.

The former 5th overall pick by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1979 draft played with five NHL teams over the course of his career, but did his best work for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the early 1980s. He had three consecutive 50 goal seasons starting in the 1981-82 season totally 157 goals. Not only was he the type of player who could score 93 points in a season, but he also would drop the mitts from time to time for his teammates. A perfect juxtaposition for his career was in 1980-81 when he racked up 229 PIMs, only to come back the next season and pot Maple Leafs’ record 54 goals. His three stellar seasons are still in the Top 4 in Maple Leafs history.

The next step in the process is to wait. The judge won’t rule on the case for six months, as scheduling issues pushed the decision back until February. At that point, the judge will rule on the case and if found guilty, sentence the 52-year-old former NHL star. The minimum fine for an impaired driving charge in Ontario is $1000, while the maximum jail sentence could be up to five years.

No, Tent City will not be an option for Vaive.