Gudbranson-Jingle Bells

The Florida Panthers want to sing you Jingle Bells

If there’s something we love more than seeing hockey players sing the hits of the holiday season, we’d like to find it.

After seeing the San Jose Sharks do it last year, the Florida Panthers are upping the ante (only without the aid of a ventriloquist dummy) by breaking out their rendition of “Jingle Bells.”

You’ll have to check out the Sunrise Sports & Entertainment website to see it, but once you see Ed Jovanovski hamming it up, Jose Theodore lending his smoky eyes to the camera, Erik Gudbranson’s creepy mustache, and Tomas Fleischmann stay as far off key as possible, you’ll thank us later.

The only thing we’re missing out on here is the follow up featuring Kevin Dineen/Dale Tallon duet of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” All we know now is that our growing man-crush on the Panthers making a run at the playoffs just got a lot stronger. Nothing beats awkward karaoke.

(Thanks to @HockeyBroad on Twitter for sharing this wonder)

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?