For the Edmonton Oilers, the Nikolai Khabibulin contract is the gift that keeps on giving.
The latest twist sees the injured goaltender arrested for speeding and driving under the influence. According to TMZ.com, Khabibulin was clocked doing 70 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, and was charged for having a blood alcohol level above .08.
Adding insult to injury, Oilers president Kevin Lowe acknowledged that neither Khabibulin or his agent, Jay Grossman, informed the team of the arrest, which took place on February 8. Talking to radio host Bob Stauffer, Lowe declined to discuss the matter until he knew the details:
“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.”
Signing Khabibulin was the single biggest move made by Oilers G.M. Steve Tambellini in a year and a half on the job, and even before this latest twist things had not been going well. During the preseason, the Oilers were caught by surprise when Khabibulin was forced to leave a game because of issues with dehydration, issues which had previously bothered him in Chicago. Later, although Khabibulin was healthy to start the season, he was limited to 18 games because of a back injury which resulted in season-ending surgery.