Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins

Montreal trades Ryan O’Byrne to Colorado for prospect Michael Bournival

With the number of injures the Colorado Avalanche have along their blue line (Kyle Cumiskey, Adam Foote, Kyle Quincey) you had to figure with them running with a contingency of former Boston University standouts wasn’t going to last too long. It didn’t and the Avs were able to trade for Canadiens defenseman Ryan O’Byrne today. In exchange, the Avs send prospect Michael Bournival to the Habs. Bournival was a third round pick in the 2010 NHL draft and he’s currently playing for Shawinigan in the QMJHL.

O’Byrne is a tough, physical defenseman who found himself buried on the depth chart in Montreal. He’s also got a history of making high profile mistakes both on the ice (like when scoring this goal into his own net) and off of it (being arrested, and later cleared, for stealing a purse). For the Avs, he’ll slot in just fine as the big body physical presence they’re lacking with Foote and Quincey out of the lineup. The Habs are able to add another forward prospect to their coffers and they’ll be able to keep a close eye on Bournival with him playing in Quebec Major-Juniors. In reality, he’s a kid we won’t hear much about for a few years, if at all.

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?