Report: Coyotes to Winnipeg rumors false

Earlier today we reported on a story that the NHL had a ‘deal in principle’ worked out with an ownership group based out of Toronto, to move the franchise to Winnipeg if the league couldn’t sell the team by June.

An update by Tim Campbell in the Winnipeg Free Press states such a plan is merely the third option for the league, and that True North spokesman Scott Brown is saying that the report in the Phoenix Business Journal is false.

An important note in the story is that the city council of Glendale, Arizona will be meeting tomorrow to discuss possible lease concessions; the financial aspects of the arena lease are one of the biggest issues facing a potential sale of the team to keep the team local.

The NHL is doing all it can to keep the team in Arizona, and like we said earlier the supposed deal with David Thomson was merely — if true — a backup plan if the first two two potential owners didn’t work out.

(H/T to James Mirtle for the link)

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?