Lucic suspended one game for boarding


TSN reports that NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan has suspended Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic one game for boarding Philly’s Zac Rinaldo:

Lucic received a five-minute major and game misconduct for the hit, which was all kinds of contentious. Rinaldo didn’t appear hurt on the play (in fact, he jumped up and tooled on Nathan Horton) and later said he didn’t think the hit was dirty.

Lucic didn’t agree with the call, saying “I felt like I made every effort to take him out laterally” and “you can see even him, his body rotating because I took him from the right side.” B’s head coach Claude Julien said much of the same, claiming that Lucic let up and Rinaldo turned at the last second.

No matter, though.

Shanahan opted to suspend Lucic anyway, and one wonders what would’ve happened if he didn’t. Looch ran afoul of the league earlier this season after charging Ryan Miller (though he ultimately avoided punishment) and holds repeat offender status thanks to a one-game suspension for crosschecking Maxim Lapierre in the face during the 2009 playoffs.

Throw in the fact other incidents involving Bruins went unpunished — Adam McQuaid’s knee on Nick Foligno, Brad Marchand’s slew-foot on Matt Niskanen — well, it was almost too much for the conspiracy theorists to handle. (With this out of the way they can now move onto other theories, like how the DaVinci Code foretold the recent concussion pandemic.)

Of note, this is just the second single-game suspension Shanahan’s issued this year. The other went to Buffalo’s Ville Leino for an elbow to the head of Philly’s Matt Read.

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?