Steve Mason

Vokoun signing reminds us — Blue Jackets really need goaltending help too


Earlier today we asked what Leafs general manager Brian Burke was going to do about his goaltending now that Tomas Vokoun has signed in Pittsburgh. But there’s another GM that’s just as desperate, if not more desperate, to find a solution between the pipes.

That would be Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson, who rolled the dice with Steve Mason last season when a better option would’ve been to put the dice in goal. However, as Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch writes, much maligned Steve Mason and woefully inexperienced Allen York are the only ones currently under contract.

Portzline suggests Nashville backup Anders Lindback could be a trade target. Another possibility is the Kings’ Jonathan Bernier, though “the Jackets have always seemed lukewarm on him.”

Portzline also nominates Roberto Luongo. However, that assumes Luongo would agree to go to Columbus. (Don’t see that myself.)

Howson’s not under the same pressure as Burke to make the playoffs, but at the very least he needs to find a goalie of the future.

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?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
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News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier

Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford