Colorado Avalanche v Chicago Blackhawks

Fan boycotting Blackhawks despite undefeated streak


Chicago Blackhawks fan Steven Schucker has given up hockey for the 2013 season, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.

Yes, this form of protest is because of the lockout. And yes, it’s despite the fact the Chicago Blackhawks are on a historical run to begin the season, going undefeated in regulation through the first 24 games.

“You have an NHL commissioner who doesn’t care about his sport and it got to the point it just turned me off hockey,” Schucker told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday.

“I can’t support watching a sport run by someone like that. I love the Hawks. My issue is with the principle of what’s going on with the sport. It would be easy for me to drop my gloves and say, ‘OK, I’ll go back and watch.’ But I’m a man who believes in standing by my principle, tough as it is to do this year.”

The lockout clearly had fans outraged, however it seems most have forgiven those involved with the work stoppage.

As per the NHL’s public relations department, attendance is on the rise, as are television ratings.

The Blackhawks’ current run – they came into Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche needing just five games short of the all-time record of 35 games without a regulation loss, held by the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers – has only helped drive television ratings.

“I picked the wrong year not to watch the Hawks,” Schucker told the Tribune.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension

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Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

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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.