The Winnipeg Jets have been in the news for all the wrong reasons this summer. The question now is how much of an effect it will have on the ice this season. Shortly after the Jets signed free agents Alexei Ponikarovsky and Olli Jokinen, giving a boost to the front-six forward group, there was more action in the courtroom than anywhere else. First, it was revealed that goaltender Ondrej Pavelec was convicted of drunk driving in his native Czech Republic after an incident in May. He hit a car that was stopped, and his blood-alcohol level was 0.20, which is more than twice the legal limit in Manitoba. He was given a 20-month driving suspension but didn't have to serve any jail time. If that wasn't bad enough, he hid the incident from the Jets during their contract negotiations. Pavelec signed a five-year, $19.5 million contract in June. "The organization was deeply disappointed to learn of this information and is fully aware of the seriousness of this matter," the Jets said in a statement. "We will determine our course of action once we have the chance to meet and discuss with Ondrej in person, which we expect to do at the earliest possible opportunity." Pavelec, of course, was repentant, but only after he was caught. "I'm disappointed in myself for this error in judgment," Pavelec said in a statement. "I'm thankful no one was injured as a result of my actions. I want to sincerely apologize to our fans, the Winnipeg Jets organization and to my teammates for any embarrassment this has caused. I'm truly sorry for letting you all down." It's unknown if Pavelec's conviction in the Czech Republic will have any effect on his travels with the Jets in North America, but he can continue to drive in Canada. Then, if that wasn't embarrassment enough for the organization, defenseman Dustin Byfuglien went to trial on drunk boating charges on July 23 in Minneapolis. A plea deal was reached shortly before the trial was to begin, and Byfuglien got off with a fine for careless boating. Byfuglien also has to spend two days doing community service, such as collecting trash.
- Winnipeg Jets
- Ondrej Pavelec