Jaroslav Halak

Report: Blues’ Halak to sign in KHL (Update: Nope, Germany instead)

Jaroslav Halak is set to become the latest locked-out goalie to find work overseas.

According to multiple reports (see here and here and here), the Blues netminder has agreed to terms with KHL club Spartak Moscow.

In doing so, Halak will join Pekka Rinne, Ilya Bryzgalov, Semyon Varlamov and Sergei Bobrovsky (KHL) Tuukka Rask and Ondrej Pavelec (Czech Extraliga), Antti Niemi (Finland) Viktor Fasth (Sweden) and Jonathan Bernier and Rick DiPietro (Germany) as NHL netminders that have signed abroad.

Last year, Halak teamed with Brian Elliott to give St. Louis the best goaltending tandem in hockey. The pair combined to win the William Jennings Trophy (fewest goals allowed) while Halak finished sixth in save percentage (.924), fourth in goals against (1.97) and fifth in shutouts (six).

Halak got the call to start for St. Louis in its opening-round playoff series against San Jose, but only lasted two games before suffering an ankle injury that ended his postseason.

The injury was significant enough that its effects lingered until mid-July, possibly why the 27-year-old waited so long before signing with a European club.

In Moscow, Halak will join a Spartak club currently employing ex-NHLers Shaone Morrisonn, Branko Radivojevic, Oleg Petrov and Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev.


Despite the multiple reports linking him to the KHL, Halak has instead signed in the Bundesliga — Germany’s second division — for a club called Lausitzer.

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?