Kevin Klein #8 of the Nashville Predators skates with the puck past Antoine Vermette #50 of the Phoenix Coyotes in the third period of Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on May 7, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Predators 2-1 to win the series 4 games to 1.
(May 6, 2012 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

Predators might lean more on Kevin Klein in 2012-13


The Predators have Shea Weber under contract through 2025-26, but that doesn’t change the fact that Ryan Suter left them this summer as an unrestricted free agent.

Fortunately, the Predators have a number of talented young blueliners in Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, and Jonathon Blum.

Those three should end up being significant parts of the Predators’ defense, but in the short term, it might be Kevin Klein that ends up finishing second to only Weber in Predators’ playing time.

“You don’t really replace a guy like (Suter),” Klein said, according to The Tennessean. “But we’re going to step up and everyone is going to step up and do a little extra. You’re replacing 28 minutes a game.”

Suter ranked third in the NHL in terms of ice time per game and even bested Weber in that regard. No one player is likely to fill that void, but Klein should play a big role in the post-Suter era.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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?