Today’s Starting Goalies – April 3

Whether you’re interested for fantasy hockey reasons or just want to know which goalie your team is playing in a given day, we thought it might be helpful to share our best guesses (based on various previews from newspapers and Web sites plus our own instincts) on who might start each day.

5:00 pm ET games

Minnesota @ Detroit

Likely Minnesota starter: Jose Theodore (Source.)

Likely Detroit starter: Joey MacDonald (Source.)

St. Louis @ Columbus

Likely St. Louis starter: Jaroslav Halak – My best guess (which might be a bit of a theme, maybe because of the unusual start times today).

Likely Columbus starter: Mathieu Garon – A safer guess, because it sounds like Steve Mason might be dealing with an undisclosed injury. Can’t promise you about this one, either, though.

Buffalo @ Carolina

Likely Buffalo starter: Jhonas Enroth (Source.)

Likely Carolina starter: Cam Ward (Source.)

7:00 pm ET game

Tampa Bay @ Chicago

Likely Tampa Bay starter: Mike Smith (Source.)

Likely Chicago starter: Corey Crawford – A reasonable guess considering how important this game is for the Blackhawks (and the fact that he’s been getting almost every start).

8:00 pm ET games

Calgary @ Colorado

Likely Calgary starter: Miikka Kiprusoff (Source.)

Likely Colorado starter: Brian Elliott – Another toss-up, but hopefully you aren’t counting on an Avs goalie for fantasy hockey points anyway.

Dallas @ Anaheim

Likely Dallas starter: Kari Lehtonen – Tough to imagine the Stars going away from their workhorse during such an important game, even in back-to-backs. (Source.)

Likely Anaheim starter: Ray Emery – It’s quite possible that Dan Ellis could get the start, being that Emery is still coming off a scary injury and these are back-to-back games. Yet my gut instinct says Emery.

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?