Lecavalier Hillen

Video: Caps’ Hillen injured (shoulder) by Lecavalier hit, placed on IR


The Washington Capitals announced that defenseman Jack Hillen is “week-to-week” with a shoulder injury after sustaining this hit from Vincent Lecavalier in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Lightning:

The hit occurred midway through the second period and forced Hillen from the contest. The injury appears to be to his left shoulder, though it’s unclear exactly what the ailment is.

Lecavalier wasn’t penalized on the play.

According to CSN Washington, the Caps have recalled defenseman Tomas Kundratek to take Hillen’s place in the lineup.

Kundratek, 23, leads AHL Hershey in defenseman scoring (13 goals) and is a right-handed shot, like Hillen. It’s possible he’ll replace Hillen in the lineup for Tuesday’s home opener against the Jets, though head coach Adam Oates could switch things up from the seven defensemen and 11 forwards he dressed on Saturday.

CSN’s Chuck Gormley said it’s “expected” that Oates will go with 12 forwards against Winnipeg, giving Caps winger Eric Fehr a chance to make his season debut and go up against the team he played for last season.

Winnipeg didn’t offer Fehr a new contract this past summer, and Washington inked him to a one-year deal at the start of training camp.

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?