Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators battles for the puck with Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period of an NHL hockey game at the Wells Fargo Center on February 3, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Flyers won 3-2.
(February 2, 2011 - Source: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)

Predators Chairman’s bold statements will be put to the test


This has been a trying summer for the Nashville Predators. They’ve already lost Ryan Suter and now they have to decide whether or not to match the Philadelphia Flyers’ massively frontloaded, 14-year, $110 million offer sheet with Shea Weber.

If they do so, they’ll have to pay Weber $52 million over the next four seasons alone. That’s a tough pill to swallow financially, but as Nate Rau of The Tennessean pointed out, Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran made some bold statements earlier this summer.

Cigarran claimed that the Predators’ budget would reach new highs and “we’re not going to lose players because of money.”

Cigarran also stated at the time that “the only way we’ll lose them is if there’s some chemistry issue, or their grandmother lives in Montreal or something, the intangibles. But they know we’re competitive, and they know we’re committed after this season, so we’re in a really good place.”

You could make a strong argument that the Predators ultimately lost Suter due to the intangibles. It would be harder to paint the same picture for Weber, seeing as keeping him is as simple as writing a check. That being said, it would be a very large check and one to a player that doesn’t want to go through another rebuilding process.

So maybe if the Predators decline to match the offer, they’ll claim that it was because of a potential “chemistry issue.” Still, this summer has certainly tested Cigarran’s earlier upbeat and bold statements.

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?