Video: Was Zenon Konopka judged too harshly for boarding?

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The Ottawa Senators were leading the New York Rangers 1-0 this afternoon when play turned immediately thanks to Zenon Konopka.

Konopka was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Artem Anisimov. Anisimov was down on the ice for a short time after the hit and in the wake of that, Konopka was taken from the penalty box off the ice and sent to the showers. On the major power play, the Rangers scored two goals to take a 2-1 lead.

Have a look at the video and judge for yourself:

Boarding? Yes, absolutely. Boarding doesn’t have to be from behind to be a penalty. Konopka hit Anisimov into the glass and that’s a big no-no. A bit of acting on Anisimov’s part? Perhaps. Anisimov missed just two minutes of action and worked two shifts during the major power play.

Considering the hit, Konopka got more than his just desserts for the play and he’ll likely have a meeting with Brendan Shanahan. It’s a dumb hit, but one to get you tossed from the game? Questionable.

Our wonder here is: What happened to the quiet room?

It seemed clear that Anisimov was slowed up thanks to a shot that smacked his face into the glass and that he was shaken up a bit by it. If he’s hurt at all by a hit in the head, why isn’t he getting a time out from the team doctors? On first glance, that looks highly dubious one way or another. Either he’s hurt and the Rangers are not playing by the protocol, or he wasn’t hurt at all and milked a hit to get a sweet call from the officials.

Asking for ethics in hockey is asking a bit much, we know, but there’s a lot to digest on just one play and a lot of questions in need of answering.

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?