Detroit Red Wings still in pursuit of Mike Modano


modanorthstars.jpgSports fans all have their worst nightmare scenarios, particularly when it comes to a great, long-time player suiting up for a hated rival. It would be like Wayne Gretzky wearing a Calgary Flames sweater or Mario Lemieux skating for the Philadelphia Flyers. Some things just seem wrong.

So Dallas Stars fans must be at least a little horrified by the concept of Mike Modano – the face of their franchise – finishing his career wearing the Winged Wheel in Detroit. Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas shares the Red Wings’ courtship of their former rival’s star.

“They’re selling it pretty hard,” Modano said. “Having a team like Detroit really interested in me is flattering. I could have some fun playing with some great players and a great organization. There’s a lot of upside to it. But for me, I need to figure out in my head what I want to do.”

It seemed like Modano had the perfect send-off in Dallas (and Minnesota), but it’s his right to choose when he retires. Watching him play for the Red Wings would be painful for Stars fans, but in sports, sometimes you have to accept such disturbing visions.

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?