Sean Avery

Sean Avery coming back to the Rangers?


The New York Post’s Larry Brooks is among those reporting Sean Avery will be placed on re-entry waivers tomorrow and could be in the Rangers’ line-up Thursday against the Ducks.

You win, banner.

Brooks doesn’t expect any other team to put in a claim for Avery. If Brooks is right, Avery’s $3.875-million cap hit will once again be split 50-50 between the Rangers and Dallas Stars. (Not that the floor-flirting Stars care. In fact, they’re probably happy to gain the cap hit. Just means they can jettison even more salary if they have to.)

Avery played two games with the Connecticut Whale after being cut rather unsympathetically by Rangers coach John Tortorella out of training camp. The infamous agitator figured he’d be spending the rest of the season in the AHL while he played out the last year of his contract.

Of course, Avery’s figuring came before yesterday, when the Rangers blew a three-goal, third-period lead at home to the Ottawa Senators, eventually losing 5-4 in a shootout.

Whether calling up Avery was Tortorella’s decision or GM Glen Sather’s, it says a lot about the team’s recent run of play. In the Rangers’ last four games, they “sucked head to toe” in a 2-0 loss to the Oilers, beat Winnipeg unconvincingly, lost to the Leafs at home, and blew it against the Sens.

The Avery addition also correlates with the loss of big forward Mike Rupp, whose “cranky knee” is a “concern,” according to Torts.

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?