Edmonton Oilers Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin DUI Nets Him 30 Days in Jail
Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin withdrew his appeal request in his drunk-driving case and has accepted a 30-day jail sentence instead.
Of February 8, 2010 Khabibulin was pulled over by police while driving his Ferrari near his home in the Phoenix when they clocked him doing 70 mph in a 45 mph zone. The officer suspected that Khabibulin was under the influence of alcohol and gave him a field sobriety test which he failed and was arrested on the scene. His blood-alcohol level measured .164 more than twice the legal limit.
On August 27, 2010 Khabibulin was found guilty of excessive speed, extreme DUI and DUI over the .08 level. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and immediately filed an appeal. Yesterday Khabibiulin dropped his appeal and accepted his sentence. In a statement released to the press he said: “Despite assurances by legal counsel regarding the strength of my appeals case, I have decided to withdraw my appeal and proceed with sentencing. Once completed, I eagerly anticipate a timely return to Edmonton for training camp, where I will strive to be the best player, teammate and citizen possible.”
Khabibulin, known to fans in the NHL as The Bulin Wall, is a 16-year veteran of the NHL. He made a splash with his solid net minding with the Phoenix Coyotes in the late 1990’s which led to a bitter contract dispute and him holding out for the entire 1998-99 season. He was then traded to Tampa Bay where he helped lead the team to their first playoff appearance in seven years and the franchises’ first ever Stanley Cup in 2004. During the NHL lockout he returned to his native Russia to play for one season. When the lockout ended Khabibulin was a free agent and signed with the Chicago Blackhawks. He has played for the Edmonton Oilers since 2009, but has not found much success there. His last two seasons have found him battling various injuries. In 1992 Khabibulin was part of the Russian National team that won the Gold Medal at the Albertville games. He was the third goaltender on the roster and did not play during the games. Because of this the coach refused to give him a medal, instead keeping it for himself. This led Khabibulin to boycott the Russian team for several years. A decade later when he was a member of the 2002 Russian team that won the Bronze Medal in the Salt Lake Games he was finally award his 1992 Gold Medal in a private ceremony.
Khabibulin will serve half of his sentence in jail and the other half on house arrest. By dropping his appeal and serving his sentence now he will have completed his sentence in time to join his team for the start of training camp and avoid any distraction an ongoing case could have brought during the season.