Guillaume Latendresse

Latendresse on concussion recovery: “I think I have to be more intelligent.”

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Getting over concussions for Wild forward Guillaume Latendresse has been a tough thing to do lately. He’s missed 17 games in a row after suffering his second concussion of the year and while he’s on the road to recovery now, he’s in that awkward stage of figuring out just how to go about doing normal hockey things while not getting hurt again.

Michael Russo of the Star Tribune talks to Latendresse about how he’s trying to do things to get back on the ice and help the Wild make the playoffs.

“I have no headaches. I feel good. I eat good. I sleep good, so whenever I get cleared for contact, after that, why not? Why not?” Latendresse said. “Even if I wait, if my head is fragile, if it’s not ready, I’m going to get hurt again. So why wait? Get in the game, and maybe the first few games, get more cautious, get the feel of the game instead of trying to be right in it.

“I think I have to be more intelligent.”

That’s a rather devil-may-care attitude from a guy who’s had his fair share of injury problems throughout his career in Montreal and Minnesota. When he’s playing, Latendresse is a sniping physical forward. When he’s out of the lineup, however, the Wild are sorely lacking his presence on the wing.

Being smarter about choosing when to get back on the ice and when to make a hit might be a good idea for a guy that hasn’t played more than 70 games in a season in two years.

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?