Patrick Kane likely to come back tomorrow night for Chicago

Last night the Blackhawks welcomed back Marian Hossa to the lineup and saw him notch two assists in a 4-1 win over Columbus. Tomorrow night, the Hawks are hoping that Patrick Kane can do something similar against the Blues when he looks to make his return to the ice. Kane’s been skating with the team of late and today coach Joel Quenneville said that it’s looking like tomorrow will be the day Kane rejoins the team on the ice.

Kane has been out of the lineup of late after suffering what, at the time, appeared to be a scary leg injury after going awkwardly into the boards. For Chicago, getting Kane back in the lineup gets their lineup back to virtual full power. Chicago’s done just fine of late without Hossa, Kane, and Viktor Stalberg as goalie Corey Crawford has been playing out of his mind and shutting opponents down.

Adding that kind of offense to go along with Crawford’s hot goaltending means that anyone writing off the Blackhawks in the West may have been doing so prematurely.

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?