The PHT Nightcap: Tuesday, September 7th

Even in the depressingly hockey-free summer, we expect to be a productive bunch here at Pro Hockey Talk. Sometimes it might be difficult to follow our pace. We understand that. For that reason, whenever we can, we’ll put all of the day’s stories in one convenient post called the PHT Nightcap. Enjoy, hockey fans.

Johan Franzen looks healthy, excited for next year – He’s still a very injury prone player, but when he’s healthy he is terrifying.

Dan Ellis’ bad night on Twitter – Generally, if you’re making more than a million per year you might want to complain to other millionaires, not normal people. Even if you’re just kidding around.

Two potential teams that could be moved to Quebec – I’ll give you a hint at the two teams in question: they both play in the Southeast division. What, that’s not good enough?

Panthers ticket plan conjures ghosts of the 1972 Miami Dolphins football team – One of my favorite joke gimmicks involves referring to “ghosts” of living people. Example: When someone besmirches the Montreal Canadiens, I warn them about angering the ghost of Guy Lafleur.

Wild forward James Sheppard could miss 3-4 months after ATV accident – Rumor has it the ATV was inhabited by the same “Christen”-like evil spirit as Erik Johnson’s golf cart. (OK, I made up that rumor right now.)

Brian Rolston hasn’t been asked to waive his no-trade clause – Maybe because the Devils know that no one wants him for that price?

Canadiens sign Jeff Halpern – A solid, if often banged up bottom six forward. Nickname suggestion: “Hamburger” Halpern.

Avalanche, Peter Mueller struggle to make a deal – You can’t blame the Avs for having trouble gauging Mueller’s value. Is he the player who excelled in Colorado or the one who floundered in Phoenix?

Kirk Maltby closer to signing a two-way deal with the Red Wings – Kind of sad that a veteran like Maltby needs a two-way deal, but it is true that he’s only a borderline NHL player at this point.

Ducks, Bobby Ryan finally reach a deal – It seems like a pretty good contract for both sides, even if neither one can be completely happy.

Discussing NHL ’11 player ratings

Quebec province claims it will cover 45 percent of new arena costs – Who now if they’re can be New-‘diques, but Quebec politicians are certainly pushing hard for another NHL team.

Chicago Blackhawks promote GM Stan Bowman, give him a VP title – We’ll see if he deserves that promotion in the next few seasons.

Tampa Bay hires a new goalie consultant Frantz Jean – Insert Dan Ellis Twitter joke here.

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?