And The Band Plays On – Khabibulin’s Trial Postponed Again


Ball of confusion
That’s what the world is today
Hey, hey.

Love and Rockets – “Ball of Confusion” (original by the Temptations)

The Edmonton Oilers’ and Nikolai Khabibulin’s 2010-11 season just got a little bit cloudier.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin makes a save against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period at the Pepsi Center in Denver on November 8, 2009. Colorado with 26 points ties the San Jose Sharks for the NHL lead and with a win over Edmonton will takeover the NHL points lead. UPI/Gary C. Caskey... Photo via Newscom

Photo courtesy Yardbarker.com

The trial for Nikolai Khabibulin’s DUI charge has hit yet another snag.  A judge today postponed the trial until late September, where he will face a trial by jury.

“Late September” and “Jury Trial” are two terms that no one really wants to hear at Camp Oilers.  He can all but forget preseason action, which is kind of unfortunate as I’d bet that this guy’s gotten a bit rusty not having stopped a shot since oh, November 2009.

Khabibulin’s trial delay ensures that Edmonton will be toting three goaltenders around at the start of the season.  Barring something bizarre at Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers’ arbitration hearing,  I think we can all get comfy with Devan Dubnyk and Deslauriers splitting time in front of the pipes at the beginning of the season.

WHAT COULD HAPPEN?

I’m sure Khabibulin would love to have his trial acquitted on a technicality, or an improper evidence gathering charge.

I’m putting that under the ‘not bloody likely to happen’ category.

If he has to plead “guilty” to ANYTHING, it’d be extremely precarious moment for his future as an Edmonton Oiler.  If he’s physically able to play but is being held from playing by something like the inability to legally enter Canada, I would lean to believe that the Oilers would have a hard time honouring the remainder of his contract.

If Khabibulin isn’t allowed to cross the border into Canada, a giant whale of a contract dispute may become the next big story.

Here’s hoping that whatever the outcome may be, this matter gets put to bed sooner rather than later.

We can only hope.