Matt Cooke

NBC Game of the Week: Matt Cooke’s shorthanded goal ties it up 1-1 after two periods

The Penguins headed into the second period down on the scoreboard and down in shots to the Blackhawks. As the Blackhawks headed to a power play after a Craig Adams hooking penalty, Matt Cooke turned the game around immediately for the Penguins.

Cooke scored a shorthanded goal off a great saucer pass from Maxime Talbot to tie things up at 13:52 of the second period. Cooke’s goal lit a fire under the Penguins and the final minutes of the period were owned by the Pens as their forechecking pressure and overall pressure offensively kept the Blackhawks on their heels the rest of the period.

Pittsburgh outshot Chicago that period 11-8 and having a pair of power plays helped that out, but for the Penguins the momentum seized by tying the game up has changed things up dramatically as the Blackhawks can’t seem to battle through. Marc-Andre Fleury is playing outstanding in goal for the Pens making 20 saves through two periods. If Chicago can’t find motivation in the third, the hard-working Penguins will find a way to beat them.

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?