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Poll: Who will win the 2012 Jack Adams Award?


As reported earlier, the NHL named its finalists for the 2012 Jack Adams Award, given annually to the coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success.”

The three nominees are: St. Louis’s Ken Hitchcock, Ottawa’s Paul MacLean and the New York Rangers’ John Tortorella.

Before we get to the poll, some things to consider…

— Unlike the other awards, which are voted on by either NHL GMs or the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, the Jack Adams is decided by the NHL Broadcasters’ Association.

— Regarding Hitchcock (an in-season replacement): Only two coaches have ever won the Jack Adams after replacing the head coach who started the season. Philly’s Bill Barber won it in 2001-01 after replacing Craig Ramsay; Washington’s Bruce Boudreau won it in 2007-08 after taking over from Glen Hanlon.

— This is Hitchcock’s fourth Jack Adams nomination, Tortorella’s third and MacLean’s first. Of the three, only Torts has won (in 2004).

— The last St. Louis Blues head coach to win the Adams was Joel Quenneville (1999-2000), the last Senators coach was Jacques Martin (1998-99) and, surprisingly, no Rangers bench boss has ever won the award.

— For what it’s worth, Hitchcock is our favorite for this year. Posting a .703 winning percentage played a fairly big part in that decision.

Onto the poll, then…

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?