August 31, 2010
The hockey-centric headline out of Tuesday's DUI sentencing of Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin(notes) in Scottsdale is that he's expected at training camp, a fact confirmed by Oilers GM Steve Tambellini after the verdict.
Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was sentenced to a month in jail on Tuesday for driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding.
He must also complete an alcohol program and pay fines and surcharges of $1,507.60. [...]
On Aug. 27, Khabibulin was found guilty of three charges: driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol count of .08 or more, excessive speeding and extreme driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content of .15 or more.
A minimum 30-day sentence is standard for extreme DUI.
The fine breakdown includes a $507.60 fine, a $500 DUI assessment and $500 Department of Public Safety assessment.
Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports that an "appeal was already filed according to Khabibulin's lawyer, so [the] sentence is put on hold while that's worked out, so he's free to go right now."
UPDATE: Here's video of Tambellini speaking to the media after the verdict:
AZ Vibe Sports, also covering the hearing, reported that Khabibulin's attorney didn't specify as to what, exactly, the appeal pertains. But as long as it's in play, it appears Khabibulin will be free to travel between the U.S. and Canada.
As for the hot-button issue of Khabibulin's contract status, with some wondering if a conviction could give the Oilers an out from the remaining three years of the deal, Dan Tencer of CHED radio reports that Tambellini offered "no comment when asked about possibility of voiding the contract."
John MacKinnon of the Edmonton Journal wrote that jail time could be punishment enough but that the Oilers also have to make an example out of Khabibulin. For the kids, of course:
How the club handles the Khabibulin case unavoidably sends messages, good or bad, to the rest of the team, especially the young players, about the team culture, about expectations of social responsibility and professional conduct.
Beyond that, the Katz Group also operates the Western Hockey League's Oil Kings, a major junior team, not to mention the family-oriented independent ball club, the Edmonton Capitals.
How are they handling it? Tambellini indicated, via Tencer, that the Oilers support Khabibulin, but are taking the matter seriously; and that the GM "doesn't believe alcohol is a regular issue with Nik."
Yet Khabibulin will be entering the NHL/NHLPA substance abuse program, which could fulfill the court's mandate Tuesday.
Where does it all lead? We're guessing that in this case, Khabibulin hopes Charles Barkley is a role model ...