Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center on January 22, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Kings 3-1.
(January 21, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

Avs captain Landeskog (concussion) returns to practice


There was a welcome sight at Avalanche practice on Tuesday as captain Gabriel Landeskog skated with teammates for the first time since being concussed in late January.

Landeskog, was injured on a Brad Stuart hit in a loss to the Sharks on Jan. 26 and had only resumed skating on his own last Friday.

He wore an orange non-contact jersey on Tuesday, but did participate in some drills.

The reigning Calder Trophy winner, Landeskog had 1G-0A-1PT through four games this year while averaging 18:34 of ice time.

There’s still no set timetable on when he could return to action.

The Avs next play on Wednesday at home against St. Louis before heading out on a three-game California road trip with games in Los Angeles (Sat, Feb. 23), Anaheim (Sun, Feb. 24) and, interestingly, San Jose (Tues, Feb. 26) — the same place that Landeskog was hurt, a month to the day from when the injury first occurred.

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?