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PHT Morning Skate: Let the All-Star ballot box stuffing begin


PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Come one, come all. It’s time to load up the votes for the All-Star Game in Ottawa. (NHL)

The New York Yankees would still love to have a Winter Classic at Yankee Stadium. Hey guys, ditch the lame college bowl game and we’ll talk. (River Avenue Blues)

Eric Staal moving to the wing in Carolina? It could be a permanent thing. For the time being anyhow. (Raleigh N & O)

Brent Seabrook left last night’s game against Edmonton with a lower body injury. (Chicago Tribune)

NEWS FLASH! Stephane Auger continues to be a terrible referee that infuriates both teams. (Delaware County Times)

Bruce Boudreau paid a visit to the Hershey Bears. No, not for the chocolate tour. He needs to see what they’ve got for defensive help there instead. (CSNWashington)

Minnesota’s Marco Scandella has a concussion. We just really like the name Marco Scandella and hope for the best. (Russo’s Rants)

You can’t stop Steve Montador from scoring, you can only hope he allows you to go peacefully about your day. (CSNChicago)

The Wild get back on track and beat the Ducks 3-2 while chasing Jonas Hiller for good measure. (OC Register)

Finally, check out Flyers rookie Zac Rinaldo getting taught a lesson in fisticuffs by veteran Matt Bradley. (NHL)

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?