Theo Peckham

Edmonton’s Peckham joins ECHL San Francisco: “I want to make sure I’m ready to go”

Anticipating the NHL season could start soon, Oilers defenseman Theo Peckham has signed with the ECHL’s San Francisco Bulls.

“I might be losing money down there having to pay my insurance, but I want to make sure [to get some playing time] if the NHL starts up,” Peckham told the Edmonton Journal. “This is a huge year for me, and I want to make sure I’m ready to go when [the NHL] starts again.”

The 24-year-old rearguard has much to prove after signing a one-year, $1.075 million extension with the Oilers in July.

He’s coming off an injury-filled season that saw him appear in just 54 games — Peckham was plagued by concussion issues throughout the second half of the season, playing in just nine contests after the All-Star break.

It was an unfortunate turn after posting career numbers in 2010-11, when he appeared in a career-high 71 games and recorded 3G-10A-13PTS, decent offensive production from a guy that fought 10 times and racked up nearly 200 penalty minutes.

With San Fran, Peckham joins a shortlist of NHLers plying their trade in the East Coast league.

Brandon Dubinsky and Nate Thompson are with Alaska while Minnesota’s Devin Setoguchi skates for Ontario, as does veteran blueliner Paul Mara.

Peckham sounded excited about the opportunity to get in some game action — and shake off some rust.

“It’ll give me time to work on a different side of my game,” he said. “Like moving the puck a lot faster. I’m still trying to find it.”

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?