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Nikolai Khabibulin’s DUI case will go to trial

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Nikolai Khabibulin, the only goaltender currently contract with the Edmonton Oilers, now finds himself facing possible jail after an Arizona court ruled today that he will face trial for his DUI charges stemming from a February arrest.

From Jim Kerr of News 880:

The lawyer for the 37-year-old was in an Arizona courtroom today attempting to have his client’s impaired driving charges dropped. Mark DuBiel argued that Khabibulin shouldn’t have had to undergo a field sobriety test because he had recently undergone back surgery.

DuBiel says his client’s constitutional rights were violated and it would have been hard for him to pass the tests even if he was sober. The motion to suppress was denied though.

Obviously, we don’t know all of the facts in the case, but it seems as though there may be solid case against Khabibulin -- back surgery or not. He’s facing charges for speeding over 70 mph in a 45 mph zone and is charged with a DUI with a blood-alcohol lever of .08 or more.

Listen, I understand the attempts at trying to get the charges dismissed based on a technicality. It happens all the time. Yet I have zero tolerance for drunk drivers, or even those getting behind the wheel who have had just “a few drinks.” That may be harsh, but if there is any chance that Khabibulin was driving while intoxicated then he deserves to face those charges in court.

He’ll likely get nothing but probation, although it’s unclear what steps the Oilers or even the NHL might take as part of their own punishment.