Oil fans: Give 'Bulin a break

JEFF CUMMINGS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 AM ET

Edmonton Oilers netminder Nikolai Khabibulin may be in a lot of hot water with hockey fans across the city, but some say the club should stand by their man.

"He needs to be treated like everybody else," said Darren Eglen, an Oilers fan and manager at Suzy Cue's Sports Lounge, 6550 28 Ave. "But I think the Oilers should hold onto him. He should get some sort of fine from the league for what he did."

Khabibulin was convicted in a Scottsdale, Ariz., courtroom Friday of "extreme" driving under the influence, excessive speed and driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level over .08.

Police pulled over the Russian star on Feb. 8 after he was clocked at 70 mph while driving a Ferrari in a residential neighbourhood in Scottsdale, shortly before 12:40 a.m.

Police in Arizona say his blood alcohol content was .164, more than the legal limit.

"This is really unfortunate for him, but it's a tough thing for a fan to deal with," said Oilers fan Ron Carlin, manager of Jox Sports Bar & Grill at 15327 97 St. "But I don't feel any sympathy for him, he could have killed somebody."

A sentencing decision will be made on Tuesday at 4 p.m. Edmonton time and it's expected Oilers GM Steve Tambellini will address the media soon after the decision.

Extreme drunk driving carries with it a mandatory 30-day jail sentence. The maximum sentence for the offence is six months.

The Oilers inked Khabibulin to a four-year contract worth $15 million in July 2009 .

"(This offence) doesn't affect his career -- this is something that he will deal with personally," said Eglen.


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