TBT: Former Coyote Khabibulin receives minimum sentence for DUI

Note:  I’ve been going through some of my old articles from my old sites and I’m going to post them every now and then.  This article is from August 31, 2010 when I covered Nikolai Kabibulin’s DUI sentencing in Scottsdale.  Back then when I wasn’t posting press releases to help get more visibility on Google (more frequent posting = more love from the Search Engines) I did churn out some good stuff.  Looking back on this 4 years later, I’m pretty impressed on how this turned out.  I’ll do some more ‘Throwback Thursday’ posts down the line.  There’s some good stuff I’ve been digging up.

SCOTTSDALE-This afternoon former Phoenix Coyotes and current Edmonton Oilers Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin received the Arizona State minimum sentence, for a February 8th DUI arrest near his home in Paradise Valley.

According to prosecuting attorney Caren Close, the minimum sentence for this case is 30 days in jail with a minimum fine of $507.60 for DUI assessment plus $500.00 Arizona Department of Public Safety fines along with Jail costs. In addition, Khabibulin will have to undergo Arizona State certified alcohol screening and counseling.

Khabibulin’s attorney, Mark DuBiel stated that the Oilers goaltender has been in the NHL/NHL Players Association Substance abuse program, as described in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, since the incident occurred in February.

DuBiel stated in a press conference following the sentencing that the paperwork for an appeal has already been filed. “We’ve started that process” DuBiel said. “(We) Filed the paperwork as soon as the judge signed all the proper sentencing documents”.  DuBiel continued, “The appellate process has officially started and that started with me filing the paperwork.”

It should be noted even though DuBiel filed the noticed for appeal, he still has to go through all the court records to determine what will be appealed. “We haven’t said what we’re appealing.  But the notice of appeal says that an appeal is coming.”

In addition, because the appeal was filed today, Khabibulin has not been officially sentenced. His sentence is stayed until the appeals process has run it’s course.

DuBiel would not comment on the outcome of the case or the facts of the case due to the ongoing status of the case and appeal.

Had Khabibulin not appealed the decision, he would have had to report for jail within a reasonable time after a period of 14 days following his sentencing. In the Sate of Arizona, 14 days is the time that Nikolai Khabibulin would have had to file an appeal following his sentencing.

Edmonton Oilers assistant General Manager Rick Olczyk was in Scottsdale today during the sentencing and declined to comment.  Olczyk referred all statements about the matter to Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini’s press conference that was scheduled to take place following Khabibulin’s sentencing.

As of right now, Khabibulin is free to leave the State of Arizona and the United States.   DuBiel stated that “Right now he’s (Khabibulin) looking forward to the season. That’s his main focus.”

Oilers fans are probably wondering now if Khabibulin will be welcomed into the Edmonton Oilers training camp.

Edmonton Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini simply stated during a press conference in Edmonton (following the sentencing):

“Can He (Khabibulin) come to training camp? Yes he can.”

Tambellini also wanted to make one other thing clear to the assembled media in Edmonton.

“Let me assure you that this organization is treating this matter very seriously”

Because of the appeal, the Oilers will not comment on the sentencing or any disciplinary action until the appeals process has run its course.

When reached by e-mail, the NHL Players Association declined to comment on today’s sentencing.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly released the following statement about today’s sentencing:

“We will make decisions on appropriate next steps, if any, in consultation with the club and with our program doctors responsible for administering our Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. No such decisions have been made at this time.”

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Are the Red Wings for Sale?



This afternoon on Bob McCown’s Sportsnet ‘Prime Time Sports’ radio show, he dropped a potential bombshell in the ‘Roundtable’ segment in that the reason why Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock may be looking to move to Toronto is that the Illich Family has put all their business holdings up for sale.


There’s potentially another factor here.  It may be a stretch but I am aware that the Illich Family has put their business interests up for sale.  That includes the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, and Little Ceasers Pizza.

He continues…

But they are making retirement plans and have decided that they will pursue the possibility of exiting their from business interests.  Can’t say how long it would take for somebody express an interest or conclude a deal but depending on how close Babcock is to the Illich’s maybe that plays a role into this somehow?  Just speculating.

Source (Starts at 34:42 minute mark of his 10/17 Roundable podcast)


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NHL Expansion Roundtable: Seattle – Part 2



I was poking around the internet as I sometimes do and while browsing Twitter feeds from NHL reporters I came across this article by Jeff Ponder at the Hockey Writers called ‘NHL Expansion Roundtable: Seattle’.

Now for those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in Seattle and spent the majority of my life there. I became a hockey fan there and followed the Vancouver Canucks pretty religiously. Around 2007 I moved to Phoenix and became an NHL reporter covering the Phoenix (now Arizona) Coyotes for a few seasons before focusing on the NHL in general.

I wanted to provide my own insight into the questions that were asked to the roundtable  because I know what the landscape was and is like in Seattle and I saw not only the Phoenix Coyotes behind the scenes for a few seasons but also saw the game of hockey grow from infancy to its current adolescence in Arizona.

Here are my own answers to the questions posed to the roundtable. For those of you who have been following me and my writing or stalk me here (or even on the Twitters) you probably already know what I’m going to discuss.

Seattle has not had a professional hockey team since the 1970s (the Seattle Totems). Would fans flock to games in Seattle?

They would at first but the key for a successful franchise in Seattle is to start with the absolute best minds in the front office from top to bottom. This is one of the main reasons why the Phoenix Coyotes got into all the trouble you read about in the news. Wayne Gretzky was running the show in Phoenix before and during the driving of the Phoenix Coyotes into the ground. He hired friends into key front office positions instead of the best hockey minds. Did you know Danny Briere was drafted by the Coyotes? Of course not because the Coyotes traded Briere away for what seemed like a bag of pucks or magic beans (I’m still trying to figure that one out).

The other key to starting a successful NHL franchise isn’t just putting butts in seats, its much more involved than just that.  As I’ve seen in Phoenix over the years here, the other key to grow an NHL franchise is to grow the game of hockey in the community.

Other teams around the NHL have traditions of hockey that have extremely deep roots from kids all the way to college levels. In Phoenix, it’s taken the entire time of the franchise’s existence in Arizona for hockey to start sprouting roots. High School hockey is growing by leaps and bounds, players from the Phoenix area are getting recruited by major NCAA colleges, players have been drafted into the NHL, and every major college in Arizona (Arizona State, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University) fields a club hockey team (Arizona State is the #1 ranked club team in the nation AND are the defending National Champions). For a franchise to be successful in Seattle, hockey is going to have to become as much of a tradition in the area as Football, Basketball, and Soccer is.

This is where your fan base is going to come from in addition to the current hockey fans in the area.  I know the game of hockey is alive in Seattle but nowhere to where it can be in say 10 or 15 years.

A large majority of people in Seattle are Vancouver Canucks fans, as it is their closest team. How do you think this will affect the Canucks fan base, if at all?

One of the things that people outside the state of Washington do not realize is that the Vancouver feed of CBC is on all basic cable systems in Western Washington (at least it was before I moved away). I became a fan of the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks watching CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada while a student at the University of Washington.   I personally used to drive to Vancouver and back in one night to go to games (playoffs were especially tough too).

During the 90’s and into the 2000’s it was very common to see residents of Washington State be Vancouver Canucks season ticket holders as well as fans from other teams that would travel to Vancouver to see the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, and other NHL teams play.

I think the thing that people don’t realize is if/when an NHL team comes to Seattle is that they’re going to have a HUGE influx of Canucks fans making the trip to Seattle for games because tickets there are some of the most expensive in the league. In Phoenix, we get HUGE influxes of fans from Detroit, Chicago (especially if the Blackhawks come to town during Spring Training – the Phoenix area is the Spring Training home to the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs), Vancouver, Toronto and so on. Most of the time this happens it’s because tickets in their respective home towns are so expensive.

What would be the best team name for the franchise?

Yeesh, all the good Seattle region related sports names have been taken. I think it’s pretty dumb to use the Metropolitans or Totems as and NHL team name. I think it’s time to come up with a team name that’s not region specific and can be something that could last generations. Also with a team name comes team colors. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE OH PLEASE STOP USING DIARRHEA GREEN AND BLUE FOR COLORS!!!! STOP THE INSANITY!!!

Rumors are swirling that the NBA is looking to return to the Seattle area, as well. Could both the NHL and NBA succeed in Seattle if they returned around the same time?

If they were both expansion franchises? The competition for getting people to come to games for two new teams would be astronomical. That said, I think it was extremely stupid for the potential NHL franchise owners and the City of Seattle to hinge a new arena on having BOTH the NBA and NHL bring franchises to town. I don’t have the time, tolerance, or patience to go over how insanely inept the local City, State, and County governments are (and have been over the years) being regarding this.   They (the City of Seattle) let former Sonics owner Barry Ackerley build Key Arena into an NBA only arena (look how that worked out) and now they’re doing this? Stop worrying about getting re-elected all the time, grow a pair, and let the first league who is ready to come to Seattle come.  Then build an arena for the NBA AND NHL. Seriously, the logic behind these moves/restrictions baffles me.

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Your ‘You’re Fu*king Old!’ Moment Of The Day – Heavy Metal Edition


This is something new and off topic I’m going to post every now and then.  Basically when a classic milestone in our culture comes up, I’ll post it using some variation of the title above.

30 Years ago today Iron Maiden’s metal masterpiece ‘Powerslave’ was released.   This is one of the last really good metal albums that is great to listen to from start to finish.

Here’s the full album for your listening pleasure.

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Dan Bickley, Monkey Poop, The Arizona Coyotes, and NHL Expansion to Las Vegas

I just got done reading Dan Bickley’s latest column entitled ‘Coyotes fans should embrace concept of NHL expansion’ and sat back for a bit pondering a few moments regarding this entire topic. Most of that pondering was how he got paid for churning out such an inferior article.

For those of you who don’t live in the greater Phoenix area, when Dan Bickley writes about the Coyotes in his articles they are, from time to time, the literary version of a monkey throwing its own poop up against a wall and calling it an article. Seriously. If ever there was a local writer who was so out of touch with a sport locally in Phoenix its Dan Bickley and his random babblings about the NHL.

Now he does bring up a good point in that the Coyotes will see a windfall from any potential expansion fees. However, anyone with a computer and a connection to the internet could deduce that pretty quickly from any number of articles out there.

Monkey. Poop.

Now if Bickley had actually attended Coyotes games over the years and was in touch with the goings on in the league he would have noticed that when teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, or even the Detroit Red Wings came to town they brought their own legion of fans to Phoenix. Many of these fans came to these Coyotes home games as part of a vacation to get away from the cold winters in the Great White North. In addition there was always another group of visiting fans who came to see games in Phoenix because they either couldn’t get tickets to see their team in their home arenas or tickets were just too expensive.

This business will all be lost to Las Vegas if an NHL expansion team ever materializes.

I’m all for expansion to new and deserving cities but its the Arizona Coyotes who stand to lose long time business to fans such as the ones explained above to Las Vegas. It’s not about the short term payoff for the Coyotes and the NHL it’s about the bigger picture for long term franchise sustainability.

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5 People Who Need To Have A Huge 2014-2015 Season

With the 2014/2015 season approaching quickly I wanted to put five people in the spotlight that you all should keep your eyes on over the course of the coming season.  As I see it, the 2014-2015 season will define the five people below now and for seasons to come.



Ondřej Pavelec – Goaltender – Winnipeg Jets

Ondřej Pavelec is a player I’m trying to figure out why he’s still in the league with so many other better players available for the Jets to leverage. Without a doubt, he is the most overpaid goaltender in the league (three years left on his contract at $3.9 million per – figures via capgeek.com) with, at best, average stats. When I say Pavelec has ‘average stats’ I’m being really nice here.

Pavelec is to the Winnipeg Jets as Rick DiPietro was to the New York Islanders….without the injuries, of course. Last season, Pavelec played 57 games with a 22-26 win/loss record, a .901 save percentage, and a 3.01 Goals Against average. These are hardly acceptable stats for a #1 NHL netminder.

Pavelec has been given the nod for this season as the #1 netminder by the Jets. However, given his average stats throughout his career and the excellent chance that he will match last season’s output, it may be time for the Jets to start planning on jettisoning Pavelec for a better player.

I’ve always been of the opinion that one of the main problems with the Jets reaching the next level is that they need to upgrade many of their players across the board, including Pavelec. This season, we get to see if Pavelec is actually a #1 goaltender or if he’s just collecting paychecks until his contract year or if he just has a bad defensive corps in front of him.

What ‘cha got Ondřej?  Are you really a #1 goaltender?  Show us.

Dallas Eakins

Dallas Eakins – Head Coach – Edmonton Oilers

Watching the Edmonton Oilers last season was a lesson in how not to coach an NHL team. From the start of the season the coaching staff could not stop or adjust to most if not all of the problems the Oilers faced night in and night out. An ineffective power play, an ineffective penalty kill, a Swiss cheese defense (full of holes), and so on.

When the 2013-2014 season was over we all got a good look at the bigger problems with the Oilers across the board.  For one, Dallas Eakins was pretty much coach in name only in that he wasn’t able to choose his own coaching staff and truly make the team his own.  We also got a first look at the steps that Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish has been taking to gut the coaching staff/front office and right the proverbial ship.

This season Dallas Eakins finally gets to put his own stamp on the team. Eakins has more than enough support from his new coaching staff who have the experience and know how to help take this team from missing the playoffs for eight straight seasons to potentially punching their ticket to the postseason. The Edmonton Oilers are overdue to take their talented roster to the next level and we get to see if Dallas Eakins can actually do the job or not.

Eakins measure of success this season won’t be if he wins a cup or not, it’s if he can fix what’s wrong with the roster and leverage all the talent on his roster correctly.


Semyon Varlamov – Goaltender – Colorado Avalanche  

In addition to the Colorado Avalanche’s amazing season last year, who thought that Semyon Varlamov would have been one of the main reasons for the Avalanche’s success? I sure didn’t see it coming. The big question for Varlamov this coming season is if he can still operate at the same high level that he did last season.

I’m expecting Varlamov to bring his ‘A’ game next season as he has the potential to have a Patrick Roy like season in leading the Avalanche straight to the Cup Final.  Sure that’s pretty lofty expectations but in the very least he needs to take the Colorado Avalanche to the next level.


Doug Wilson – General Manager – San Jose Sharks

I’m going to start by saying that it’s a miracle that Doug Wilson still has a job. Wilson been overseeing a San Jose Sharks team that has been one of the most lethal and consistent regular season teams in NHL history. However, dating back to 2006 the Sharks overall performance in the playoffs have all had one consistent characteristic – they all lacked focus, determination, the will to win it all, and mostly a roster that is extremely fragile mentally.

The changes this off season for Wilson was one that should have taken place at least one year after they made it to the Western Conference Final versus Vancouver in 2011. The Sharks recent changes included stripping Joe Thornton of his Captaincy and jettisoning a lot of the dead weight that prevented the team from winning it all. Some people call this a rebuild but so far it’s been a re-tooling.

Let’s face it, this is Doug Wilson’s make or break year. Anything less than a deep run into the playoffs that ends with a Stanley Cup Championship or a series that ends with a battle that is not related to the team’s mental fragility won’t be accepted.


PK Subban – Defenseman – Montreal Canadiens

I’m not going to get deep into analyzing this contract. Subban is WAY overpaid for a player who is projected in the years to come to be an elite franchise defenseman….just not now.  However, based on last season’s regular season performances, Subban was anything but consistently elite. Not $9 million dollars a year elite anyways.

This coming season PK is going to be under the most powerful microscope in recent memory by local and league media along with Canadiens fans.  If he mails in performances like he did sometimes last season or anything that does not resembles his normal game, he’s going to hear it….from everyone.  Subban has to take a huge next step to becoming an elite NHL Defenseman starting this season.  With huge contracts comes huge responsibilities.

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