Arizona police arrest Oilers goalie Khabibulin, charge him with drunk driving

EDMONTON – Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin is facing charges of drunk driving and speeding following an incident in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Khabibulin was pulled over in a black Ferrari that was seen speeding down a street just after midnight Feb. 8, officer Dave Pubins said Wednesday.

“The officer estimated the driver’s speed to be well over 60 miles an hour, and the speed limit there was 45. In fact, his radar got the vehicle travelling at 70,” Pubins said.

“The driver identified himself as Nikolai Khabibulin and the officer noticed that Khabibulin had an odour of alcohol emanating from him. Khabibulin also admitted to drinking earlier in the evening.”

Khabibulin said he had consumed one glass of wine, according to a report prepared by the arresting officer, but had watery, bloodshot eyes and was speaking slowly.

He was booked on charges of driving under the influence and excessive speed and then released. He is due back in court Feb. 26.

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Oilers General manger Steve Tambellini issued a statement late Wednesday saying the team was “aware of the reports from Phoenix.”

“Nikolai has been fully cooperative with the authorities,” Tambellini said in a statement. “Until the continuing legal process is completed we will have no further comment.”

Khabibulin joined the Oilers in the off-season after stints with the Chicago Blackhawks, Phoenix Coyotes and the Winnipeg Jets, as well as a run with the Tampa Bay Lightning that included a Stanley Cup win in 2004.

The Oilers had high hopes for the 37-year-old Russian, and signed him to a four-year, US$15-million deal. But he has missed most of the season with back problems, and had season-ending surgery for a herniated disc last month.