Leave poor Sidney Crosby alone


I have to be honest here: I didn’t know about the Sidney Crosby
“snub” of David Letterman until earlier today and my immediate reaction
was “who cares?”.

If this had happened in the middle of July or
some other time when the Pittsburgh Penguins wasn’t actively playing an
NHL season, then I can understand the anger or dismay that he is “too
much of a celebrity” and can just turn down gigs like that. But the guy
had just finished up the Olympics, his team was on the road in New York
and getting ready to play a game, and you have to respect his decision
to focus on hockey.

I know he’s already done a ton of interviews
but this one was a bit different. From what I can tell, the sit downs
he’s had have been where they come to him, and they most likely worked
around his schedule. Going on Letterman is a different animal
altogether, and would take a considerable amount of time out of his day.
Not a whole lot, but it’s certainly going to be out of the way from his
normal routine.

Penguins GM Ray Shero wants everyone to lay off
as well:

“At some point there’s a responsibility, that he takes very
seriously, about being a hockey player and preparing,” Shero said
Tuesday at the NHL’s GM meetings. “To me, any criticism for Sidney isn’t
warranted. He does so much for the game, so much for the league. …

“He’s trying to do it all and it’s unfortunate he can’t do it all.
But he does a lot.”

I know not everyone loves Crosby and that there is some overexposure
backlash happening, especially among hard core fans. But the NHL needs
to have superstars to market and Crosby is one of them. But he can’t do
everything that is asked of him, and I was surprised at the reaction
this has received. That he gets attacked when he turns down something
like this is ridiculous.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?