Khabibulin: busted in Arizona

Recovering from season-ending back surgery isn’t the only challenge facing Nikolai Khabibulin these days. Khabibulin is also in trouble with the law after being charged with driving under the influence and speeding in Scottsdale, Arizona back on Feb. 8.

Here’s an account of the charges against Khabibulin, first reported on an Arizona blog, by Curtis Stock of the Edmonton Journal

"Edmonton Oiler goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has been arrested in Arizona on charges of driving under the influence and speeding.

 Khabibulin, who had season-ending back surgery on Jan. 14, was arrested by Scottsdale police on Feb. 8. After agreeing to take the standard Field Sobriety Test as well as consenting to take a blood test, Khabibulin was cited for a blood level alcohol content of .08 or more. He was also charged with exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 miles per hour.

Radar clocked Khabibulin driving his black Ferrari 70 mph in a 45-mph zone, the police report says."


I put in a phone call to Khabibulin’s New York-based agent, Jay Grossman, after the story broke this afternoon, but didn’t get a reply from him before posting this.

Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe, in Vancouver for the Olympics, was asked about the situation on Oilers Lunch, hosted by Bob Stauffer.

Said Lowe: "Well, we’re just hearing about it ourselves actually, quite frankly unfortunately. So, we really don’t have too much to say until we get the full details.

"We’ve been trying to track down Nikolai, who is, like a lot of guys, or most guys, on a holiday during the Olympics. Hopefully, it’s not the case, but if it is confirmed, (we’d) be very disappointed that we’re just finding out this way.

"Like I say, we’ll just defer any comment until we talk to him ourselves."

Obviously, neither Khabibulin nor Grossman saw fit to contact the Oilers to inform the team of the charges.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Okay, so there have been some pretty serious rumours floating around about some billionaire picking up the Thrashers and moving them to Winnipeg. I haven't actually read a story about it but a few people I know (that don't know each other) have been talking about it.

    Anybody hear anything about that?

    • Deep Oil

      Actually, more on Ice Edge not coming up with the subsidies from the City of Glendale to stay in AZ – Bettman will have egg on his face with the board……and pulling the chute….. Thompson family backing the team in Winnipeg, a real billionaire from the media days prior to the bust. Forbes is not a good source, but Thompson is possibly the second richest person in Canada with over 22 billion in assets.

          • Dyckster

            According to the building's website, seating capacity for hockey is 15,015. 2000 add'l seats would be the minimum amount they would need to add to adapt to an NHL team.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            In reality, they don't seat to 15k. The building packed to the rafters with floor seating for a show (ie. Pearl Jam) is 18000 and change. I believe they only sell to 13000 for hockey.

          • Dyckster

            Are the 2015 seats not sold due to viewing limitations? If so, then 4000 add'l would be more accurate. And if they already do have 2000 virtually unusable seats, where are they going to find room to add 4000 (even 6000) more?

            I've never been there so I'm curious.

            Man, I miss the days of watching a Sunday afternoon Bomber's game, walking to Chi Chi's for a burrito and 19 beers, then going to the Arena for an evening Jet's game…sigh.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            I moved here in 1997, so the Jets were long gone by the time I showed up.

            My office is connected to the MTS Centre by skywalk, though. I walk through the concourse every morning because it has the closest Tim Hortons.

            They have a lounge on one end of the ice behind the goal that they could convert to formal seating without too much trouble. The real problem is the footprint of the building. Even with 15000 seats, they're extremely narrow. I have my doubts about being able to add 4000 more.

          • Dyckster

            From this persons uneducated position, the return of the NHL to The Peg seems to be a remote possibilty at best. Would an insufficient building not be a major hurdle?

            Oh ya, Bulin got busted for being under suspicion of driving while intoxicated? Sorry to thread jack Robin.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            That's what I thought when I first moved here. My attitude (being spoiled by Edmonton's glory days) was that if people didn't sell out Jets games while they were here, they wouldn't if they came back.

            When they built the MTS Centre, that was reinforced due to the inadequate seating capacity (which I thought, at the time, would be the nail in the coffin).

            I followed this whole Jim Balsillie debacle pretty closely when it was going on, though. Bettman going on record saying Winnipeg is first in line for expansion suggests that maybe the seating capacity isn't as big an issue as I thought it would be.

          • This is what I don't understand. Aren't there a few NHL teams in the US that aren't even getting 10k for each game? If you can sell out 15k somewhere, you're doing way better, aren't you? Isn't that, like, an IMMEDIATE IMPROVEMENT?

            I bet you could charge more money in the 'peg, even if you had the same attendance.

          • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

            Gregor and I got into it awhile back.

            The rationale, apparently, is that (at some point in the future) these Southern teams -could- pack a 19,000 seat arena, at which point they're much further ahead.

            I completely agree with you – I'm firmly seated in the "bird in hand" camp.

          • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

            I think another concern would be: Theirs a decent chance small market Canadian teams will have the same disadvantages in the future that they had in the late 80's/early 90's… and it would look pretty stupid on the NHL to move a team back to Winnipeg (or Quebec) only to have to pull the plug a 2nd time, 10 years down the road.

          • Yeah, exactly. The only reason teams were leaving Canada at the time is because the CDN dollar dipped down past 70 cents on the US dollar. Maybe Wanye could chime in here, he seems to have worked around money before, but I don't think we'll be getting back into that territory anytime soon, and the NHL could definitely use a team that wasn't sucking tens of millions of dollars of precious revenue EACH YEAR.

  • OilFan

    Robin, do we know if he even contacted his agent?

    We both agree that mr. Grossman had am obligation to report it to the oilers but that would assume that khabibulin contacted his agent.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I see lots of judgement still being passed without us knowing anything. Do we know that the Oilers really didn't know about this? Is it possible maybe Bulin only had one glass of wine, but because of his back do the field sobriety tests?

    Granted the above is probably not true, but we sure seem to be doing guilty until proven innocent.

    • Deep Oil

      Getting off a DUI in AZ is almost impossible.
      90% plead guilty.

      Nik did not blow – no reading so people that say he blew over .08 are wrong.

      He has been charged with being slightly impaired.

      He gave blood, tests not back.
      If it comes back under .08 then he has a chance, but driving under the influence of prescription drugs is a NO NO.

      Either he didn't tell the team, or the Oilers
      were hiding this and got caught on their own
      radio show.

      Based on the arrest report, he needed to call a lawyer, not a friend – bad move.

      Last time I checked, he is innocent until proven guilty, but fighting a DUI in AZ is an uphill battle.

      Jail time of 10 days is mandatory for all misdemeanor convictions – really.

      Could of been worse, goaltender, fast car, booze, we have seen this before with Pelle

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        I heard nine days, but that really doesn't matter at this point.

        I question though if the Oilers really knew what would we expect them to do? Have a press conference saying what happened? Generally speaking when any athlete does something stupid do we hear the team come out with it first or the media? And usually the comment by the team is we are waiting to get for info.

        What is slightly impaired? Is that what our 24 hour suspensions use to be?

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      Is it possible that he only had one glass of wine? I guess, anything is possible but more than likely it was the vodka. You gotta remember he is Russian.

  • Dyckster

    Getting off the topic only slightly, a morning radio guy brought up a good point (IMO) this morning. With as bad a back as Bulin has, wouldn't getting in and out of a Ferrari be somewhat stressful on an already stressed out back. Made sense to me….

  • stilldrinkingthekoolaid

    Listen folks

    Drinking and driving is just plain wrong!

    There is imho no excuses and there should be NO leniency.

    I dont care if Gretzky himself was caught!

    On the light side, I wonder if Katz is feeling this way about getting the Oilers

    SPOCK: (to Stonn) "After a time, you may find that having is not so
    pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical; but
    it is often true."

    • Yeah, but I think we can all agree that if something bad DID ever happen to Gretzky it is the Patriotic Duty of the nearest Canadian when he commits the crime to take the rap for him.

      I know if I was walking down the street and saw the Great One standing over a corpse with a smoking gun and I could hear police sirens approaching in the background, I would take the gun from Gretzky and tell him to run while I held off the federales and took the rap.

      I would do this and so would all of you.

  • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

    Question for the masses…

    I'm living in the middle east where I can't open either the CTV or NBC streaming live webcasts. Anyone have a site where I can get the Olympics, and specifically hockey, live?

    I'd even change my name to Dakin or Ogden or Brownlee – whateverittakes, baby!


  • What about agreeing to move the team only if there was a plan already in place to build a new arena with more seats/luxury boxes, etc.?

    That way, they would only have to struggle with the 15k seats for 5-6 years until the new arena was built.

    The Moose can still play in the MTS centre, and the larger new arena will open up other things, like bigger concerts.

    • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

      I don't know if I could see that happening. The MTS Centre is still brand new, basically. It's already opened Winnipeg up to bigger concerts (thankfully) because the facilities are actually really nice, size notwithstanding. Lately anything that's been too big for the MTS Centre (ACDC, Bon Jovi) has been at the stadium.

      Winnipeg is also on a 'revitalize the downtown core' kick. They need the arena right downtown, and operating the current arena while building a new one wouldn't play into that plan unless they built the new one next-door…

    • If an NHL team went back to the 'peg the Moose would be gone. No way would they have the population to support both. Also there is no way on earth that they would build a new stadium there as they just opened the MTS a few years ago.

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        I'd be okay with that. The Moose are really great, but I can't help being disgusted with myself when I cheer for Canuck prospects.

        I agree. The fact that the Moose can draw crowds of 12000+ for regular season games bodes well for interest in an NHL franchise, though.

  • Deep Oil


    So I just saw that I can renew my seats for next year and the Oilers again raised the prices, about $200 for the year. On principal it just kills me…..Can you raise some attention on this issue.



  • Just about every company I've ever worked for, whether my job function was directly related to it or not, has a policy that employees disclose any and all run-ins with police resulting in charges. It's about reputation management and employee assistance.

    Just because Khabibulin's a hockey player doesn't mean he's absolved of such rules.

    He's on the team's payroll, and as an NHL and Oilers hockey player, he has to adhere to a code of conduct. I'd imagine that code includes similar clauses to "tell us if you get charged with misdemeanor or felony so we can help you make sure our good names don't get dragged through the mud."

    Bulin's agent was negligent. He should have nutted up and got in touch with the Oil immediately.