Nikolai Khabibulin Hammered for DUI

Antony TaContributor IFebruary 20, 2010

UNIONDALE, NY - NOVEMBER 02:  Nikolai Khabibulin #35 of the Edmonton Oilers tends net against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on November 2, 2009 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

They say that no news is good news.

When it comes to the Oilers this season, the trend seems to be twice as true. For a season that has amounted to great disappointment and many man games lost, the Oilers managed to find another way to make negative headlines.

Nikolai Khabibulin, the Oilers' oft-injured 37-year-old goaltender, took a break from the infirmary of herniated discs and decided to go for a joy ride in Arizona.

He neglected to stay sober for this joy ride.

Now, I'd like to think that the lack of response from Oilers' management is good news. I almost hope to blame this on Nikolai's prescription meds. Perhaps he was a bit liberal with his use of mouthwash before leaving the house?

Whatever the case, he wasn't fit for driving when he chose to do so.

But then again, despite playing well when healthy, Khabibulin's performance and injury history is well shy of the standard set by other goaltenders of his price range. He's not exactly a spring chicken when it comes to age, either. As if Khabibulin hadn't already given Edmonton fans enough reasons to dislike his contract, this DUI charge would further muddy his place with fans.

Coupled with past instances such as Ethan Moreau's hit-and-run, the episode with the Calgary Italian restaurant (whether or not the incident was entirely true) and other such occurrences, the Oilers have had nothing bad publicity lately.

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We all know the Oilers do excellent work in the community.

Building schools.

Erecting "Habitats for Humanity."

Reading to children.

Khabibulin's DUI may take the cake when it comes to bad choices by individual Oilers' players, but we as fans can't forget what the team is doing for the city. Oilers' fans just need something to believe in. Something to rally their cause around, despite the dismal season and bad publicity.

Believe it or not, Taylor Hall or Cam Fowler or Tyler Seguin be damned, tanking the season is not that cause. Khabibulin sure as hell isn't the flag bearer for this motley assembly.

Whatever the cause may be, the Oilers would do themselves a ton of favor by eliminating all the bad press.

Otherwise, who can believe in this team anymore?

Khabibulin sure doesn't seem to.


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