Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/11/14 at 11:12 AM ET
from Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times,
The Lightning left wing was arrested April 12 in Tampa and charged with cocaine possession (police say they found 1.3 grams in his back pocket) and DUI (police say he had Breathalyzer blood-alcohol readings of 0.112 and 0.116, well above the 0.08 at which someone legally is considered impaired in Florida). The drug charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, the DUI charge six months.
Malone has pleaded not guilty, but given the circumstances, that seems a formality while his attorney tries to work out a deal with prosecutors. No trial date has been set.
What is less clear is what this all means for Malone's relationship with the team.
For now, at least, it seems the Lightning will make its determination based on whether Malone, a well-liked teammate, still can contribute on the ice. Legal problems or not, that is not a good equation for the player, who even before a terrible 2013-14 season was believed a possible buyout target.
That Malone is in the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program run jointly by the league and players association might not matter. Though the collective bargaining agreement does not specifically address the issue, it is believed the NHL's position is a player in the program can be bought out because his absence from the team is not hockey related.
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