The Tampa Bay Lightning had to know they were rolling the injury dice by acquiring Sami Salo during the offseason. For 18 games, that gamble paid off, but the fragile defenseman got hurt during Tuesday’s match against the Buffalo Sabres.
Salo, 38, suffered a lower-body injury and won’t return, according to the team.
The hard-shooting blueliner’s ailment will probably draw plenty of “finally” and “who had Feb. 26 in their injury pool?” jokes, but it’s disappointing for Tampa Bay because he’s been such a good fit. Salo has eight points in those 18 games with an impressive +12 rating.
He’s not the only injury risk the Bolts have inherited from the Vancouver Canucks. Mattias Ohlund is also struggling with career-threatening knee problems.
Salo’s $3.75 million cap hit expires after the 2013-14 campaign.
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.
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?