Merry Christmas, everyone. Since we can’t buy all our readers an iPad2, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 NHL moments of the past year that we’ll be rolling out on the site all day long.
Brendan Shanahan’s screen debut
On Sept. 23, NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan suspended Calgary’s Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond five games — four preseason, one regular season — for his hit on Vancouver’s Matt Clackson.
The suspension itself wasn’t noteworthy, but the way it was handled was a game-changer.
“Instead of the usual short, tossed-off press releases for often controversial disciplinary decisions, we now can see the league’s discipline chief himself go over the infraction and give us his explanation for his decision,” wrote Adrian Dater of Sports Illustrated. “Shanahan’s careful point-by-point analysis of Leblond’s hit from behind on Vancouver’s Matt Clackson was a good tutorial not just for the novice fans who were watching, but also for longtime hockey buffs who have often been confused by past rulings.”
With Shanahan explaining his ruling via video, the league became a leader amongst the “big four” (NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA) in terms of innovation, communication and transparency.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?