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Blues Likely to Keep Kasperi Kapanen After Drunk Driving Charge

St. Louis Blues forward Kasperi Kapanen is facing potentially serious legal trouble as he has been charged with aggravated drunk driving, according to reports by Finland’s national broadcasting company Yle. The allegations stem from an incident that occurred after his tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 2023 season, just before the trade deadline. The Blues are apparently just learning about the incident, which has led to speculation about Kapanen’s future with the team.

For now, it appears the Blues intend to keep the player and there are no suggestions about the club trying to trade Kapanen, void his contract, or buy him out. Early signs indicate that Kapanen and the Blues organization will handle this matter internally.

Kasperi Kapanen Blues drunk driving

The case was brought before a district court in Finland on August 23, with a scheduled hearing set for February 2024 in the district court of Pohjois-Savo. In Finland, drunk driving is considered aggravated if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is at least 1.2 per thousand or if they have at least 0.53 milligrams of alcohol per liter of exhaled air during or after driving, as reported by Yle.

In response to the charges, Kapanen issued a statement taking full responsibility for his actions, stating, “Last month I made an unacceptable error in judgment and take full responsibility for my actions. I offer my apologies to my family, the Blues organization, my teammates, and the fans. I understand the severity of my mistake and am committed to doing everything I can to earn back their trust.”

The 27-year-old forward was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Blues in February and is currently entering the final year of his existing contract, which carries a $3.2 million cap hit for the upcoming season. Upon learning of the news, Blues president and general manager Doug Armstrong expressed disappointment in Kapanen’s lapse of judgment and emphasized the need for the player to make necessary changes to avoid similar situations in the future. Rutherford said, “I have spoken with him and his agent. We are disappointed in his lapse of judgment and are entrusting him to make the necessary changes to avoid putting himself in a similar situation in the future.”

Kapanen Might Not Get Many More Strikes

Kapanen’s career has seen its fair share of ups and downs, including a trade from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2020. Despite his fleet-footed skating ability, his recent struggles to produce offensively contributed to his departure from the Penguins. He’s also run into problems in the past with other teams. In 2020, he was called out fairly publicly for oversleeping and missing an important on-ice session as part of the Maple Leafs. At the time, he said, “It was just an honest mistake. I was late to practice that day on Friday and they felt like sitting me out was something I deserved and I agree. So I’ve just got to take responsibility for that.”

As the legal proceedings unfold, Kasperi Kapanen’s future both on and off the ice will likely remain a topic of discussion, and the St. Louis Blues organization is closely monitoring the situation.

Next: Shanahan’s Run as Maple Leafs President Under the Microscope

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