Rene Bourque, Jaroslav Halak and Steve Stamkos named this week’s three stars

The NHL named its three stars of the week, handing out a big pat on the back to Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque, St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak and Tampa Bay Lightning center Steve Stamkos.

Here is a quick rundown of each player’s week, via the league’s press release and a few spare thoughts of my own.

First star: Rene Bourque

Bourque scored a League-leading six goals, including three game-winners, and added an assist in four games for the Flames, who posted a 3-1-0 record and climbed to first place in the Northwest Division.

For the past two seasons, Bourque has been one of the league’s most underrated players. He scored 27 goals in 2009-10, providing one of the few bright spots in a pretty bleak season for the Flames. He probably won’t maintain his torrid goal scoring pace (he is averaging a goal per game, after all), but there’s a good chance that he’ll reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career this season.

Second star: Jaroslav Halak

You have to think that the St. Louis Blues are smitten to see their big ticket item of a goalie earn a weekly award already. He absolutely earned it, though, as you can see from this summary of his achievements via the league.

Halak posted a 2-0-1 record with a 1.62 goals-against average, .944 save percentage and one shutout, helping the Blues improve to 4-1-2 on the season.

The most impressive thing is the opponents Halak managed to earn those stats against. He squeezed five out of a possible six points in two games against the Chicago Blackhawks and one against the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, the two wins he earned this week came in back-to-back games against the last two Stanley Cup winners. Not bad.

Third star: Steve Stamkos

Here is the ridiculous stats Stamkos put up against the Stars, Islanders, Thrashers and Predators.

Versus Stars: one goal, two assists

Versus Islanders: one assist

Versus Thrashers: three goals, one assist

Versus Predators: one assist

In other words, he scored four goals and four assists to keep his (dare I say it?) Hart Trophy-worthy pace going. Could this be a year full of player of the week awards for Stamkos? If he keeps this up, absolutely.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.

Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

And here’s a statement from TSN: