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.

  • I've been guilty of over reacting the Patrick Kane situation, and a little about the Oilers and the NYE bill (no regrets on the Flames H1N1 shots) I do wish that more players would take cabs or hire limos, but there must be something more to this story. Pain pills + alcohol is not a good combo for anyone.

  • danjo1

    It's just wishful thinking to hope that the Oilers can somehow use this situation to wiggle out from under that massive boulder-of-shame that is his contract…

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    If I am not mistaken the US does not consider DUI as a charge that will stop entrance into the US

    However Canada does. I wonder what the implication of being a Russian citizen is? As well will Canada let him back in because he was charged in the US?

    • I'm no lawyer, but as far as I know, you can't travel between us and canada if you have a criminal record, unless you apply and are granted permission from the country you wish to enter, which for normal joe blows can take several years (I know someone who was busted with possesion, not distribution, when they were a teenager and it took 10 years of applying to get into the states for vacation). I would assume a hockey player with cash can get persmission alot quicker than most of us.

      Now, in the article though, it clearly says he was only busted for misdemeanors, which I don't believe carry a criminal record.

      • yes I believe that is correct. I was thinking back to an earlier time before passports were required to enter the US. However that is all null and void at this point.

        However if he is "charged" I wonder what Canada's reaction will be.

        I think I read somewhere that there are special considerations that can be granted for individuals whose job required them to cross "borders" of other countries.

        Of course having money and the right people in place makes these things go easier as well

      • Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things

        I'd have to check the rules in that jurisdiction, but here in Manitoba CC (Criminal Code)-253-B is driving over .08, and that gives you a record.

        As far as employment is concerned, it's not uncommon for employees to sign contracts with DUI clauses. I work for Manitoba's driver and vehicle licensing division, and DUI is essentially instant termination.

    • There are lots of people in Canada that can't get into the states because of an impaired. I guess it depends on what happens if/when he gets charged.

      Unfortunately there are lots of people who pay good money to make these things disappear too.

          • Librarian Mike

            Saddleranch has $2 beer after the game, and really interesting enhanced waitresses. They
            also have have price alcohol and appetizers before the game, mangaer LANDON loves drunk customers from Canada.

            Guys, you can have one drink in AZ and get an impaired, their is very little crime in Scottsdale / Paradise Valley, so the cops focus on the drunks and speeders – the speed limit on Shea is 50 miles an hour – so you have to be lead footed to get a speedy ticket. This occurred in the early morning after Superbowl, not after the game at Glendale that night.

            Driving through photo radar with Alberta plates is a free pass, no worries.

            Sherriff Joe wants jailtime for all dui convicts – 10 days in jail with a waiver down to one day (in and out – charles barkley) if you get alcohol counselling.

            Here is some interesting reading, first offender….

            AZ does not use breathylzers, just field sobriety tests (FST)and blood.

            Sedan service home is about $25 plus tip since Paradise Valley is ground zero for Old Town and Kierland.

            It appears by the arrest report


            that Nik did not have legal representation and was TOO cooperative with officer Patterson.

            90% of all dui's in AZ plead guilty, time and due process is what NIK has earned, we all have that right.

            Does anyone believe that the Oilers were not in loop, looks like a cover their tracks, as this was not supposed to get out….. Allan Watt is not having a good day, with Lowe having to address this with no time to prepare for damage control.

      • Harlie

        yeah but he had his car with him and apparently he has a place down there. Just trying to find out if he is travelling with the team or staying at home, rippin it up.

  • VMR

    The difference is the Hawks would want to hold on to Kane's contract and would definitely be willing to overlook the breach whereas the Oilers should have every lawyer they have looking for a loophole to slip out from under their contract with Khabibulin.

  • The question I have, pending any outcome of the actual charges, is why Grossman didn't see fit to contact anybody with the Oilers to tell them his client and their goaltender had even been charged.

    As of right now, 3:10 p.m., I haven't heard back from Grossman, so I can't provide an answer as to why he chose to keep the team in the dark.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      What is the obligation of the player/agent in this matter? Regardless of whether or not we think he should've told the Oilers, does he have to? Or is there a timeline?

      • Mitch

        Another question Robin, Do the Oilers have a out if this matter is not disclosed to them during a certain time frame? Maybe Khabi wants out(which would help going forward). Maybe some one from there world class managment staff could answer this, they obviously do all their homework when it comes to offering these documents.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          I doubt he wants out. There is no way he'd make the kinda money he is to get from us anywhere else in the NHL. Maybe the KHL, but I doubt it.

      • VMR

        "Regardless" of the fact it's just the right thing to do?
        I don't know what the obligations of the agent are in terms of contract language, but Grossman damn sure should have picked up the phone and told the team that's paying his client $15 million what happened.

        • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

          Okay I don't agree, but can see where you are coming from.

          My second question is how did it take this long to figure out? February 8th? What date was that? When we played the Coyotes, how is it that no one caught wind of this.

          • Mitch

            Is Grossman, THE AGENT, accused of DUI? No. He should have called the Oilers, as I suggested. Do you have zero comprehension skills or do you just word things the way you do to piss me off.

            What part of the straightforward comment I made is contentious in your mind?

  • Dyckster

    There is NO WAY this will effect the status of his contract with the Oilers. If fitty cent Kane can kick the crap out of a cab driver with nary a slap on the wrist, Habi cruising chicks in his Ferrari after a couple of Pilsners is not going to deem his agreement with us null and void….book it Danno!

    • Ender

      While it's possible that Khabi could come out of this reletively unscathed, it's not a slam dunk. If he gets a criminal record in the States and as a result gets banned from entering the country, this could turn out very poorly for him. Other NHL players that have been arrested (Kane, Belfour, Staal) didn't face the same hurdle.

      • Dyckster

        How did it effect that tough guy in Detroit a few years back (his name escapes me at the present)? He had some immigration issues didn't he?

        EDIT: Bob Probert

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Really if this were to happen when would you rather have it happen? Now when the player is out and when the team is already a joke or say 2 years down the line when he is playing well and the team is in a playoff race?

      Edit: To add I wonder now that this is out with the Olympics being on if this will be a story that is passed on by the major sports networks. Maybe Grossman told Bulin to wait until the Olympics when no one is paying attention to the NHL?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I'd really like some more info on this situation before passing judgement. Seems to be a lot of people are calling for his head and his contract to be terminated. Kinda sad really that Oil Fans would say things like this without hearing all the details and especially before he was at least found guilty.

  • 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.