Calgary Flames v St. Louis Blues

Race of the Playoffs: Huge games for Flames, Blackhawks

Western Conference playoff race

p – 1. Vancouver – 113 pts (4 GR)
x- 2. San Jose – 99 pts (5 GR)
3. Detroit – 98 pts (5 GR)
4. Phoenix – 95 pts (4 GR)
5. Los Angeles – 94 pts (5 GR)
6. Nashville – 94 pts (4 GR)
7. Anaheim – 93 pts (5 GR)
8. Chicago – 90 pts (6 GR)
9. Dallas – 87 pts (6 GR)
10. Calgary – 87 pts (4 GR)

p – clinched conference title and Presidents’ Trophy
y – clinched division title
x – clinched playoff spot
GR – Games Remaining

Chicago @ Columbus – 7:00 pm ET

The Dallas Stars lost in a humiliating fashion night, so the Blackhawks have a decent three-point cushion and some tiebreaker advantages that might make it more like a four-point lead. That being said, the Stars have a much easier closing schedule overall, so Chicago needs to soak up easy points while they can get them. In other words, there’s no excuse for them to lose to the fading Blue Jackets tonight.

Calgary @ St. Louis – 8:00 pm ET

Chicago’s biggest concern is the Stars, but the Flames still have an outside chance of stealing the eighth spot in the West too. They trail the Hawks by three points and only have four games remaining, so their odds aren’t great.

Still, beating up on teams like the Blues could keep them relevant. Calgary’s coming off a frustrating loss to the Anaheim Ducks while St. Louis absolutely destroyed Detroit 10-3 on Wednesday.

With tiebreaker disadvantages to both the Stars and Blackhawks, the Flames need to win all of their remaining contests and hope for the best.

Colorado @ Phoenix – 10 pm ET

The Coyotes aren’t in a great spot from a games remaining standpoint, so they need to win every game they can and hope for the best regarding seeding. Taking advantage of an opportunity to earn (what would seem like) easy points against the Avalanche would be essential if the Yotes want a decent draw in this year’s playoffs.

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: