Cedrick Desjardins

Lightning give Cedrick Desjardins start vs. Montreal tonight

Tampa Bay is going to give an old, new face a shot in goal tonight. Lightning coach Guy Boucher announced 27 year-old Cedrick Desjardins would get the call against Montreal, his former organization, tonight in Tampa.

The Lightning have had their ups and downs in goal this season and even though Anders Lindback played strong against Winnipeg on Thursday, giving Desjardins the nod allows them to see if they’ve got something with their one-time prospect. Desjardins got his only two previous NHL starts with the Lightning during the 2010-11 season after being acquired from Montreal for Karri Ramo.

Tampa’s record isn’t anything inspiring at the moment as they sit tied for 12th in the East with Buffalo and Washington, but they’re just six points back of Southeast Division leading Carolina. The Lightning hope Desjardins can give them the kind of stability out of the minors they didn’t feel they got with Dustin Tokarski.

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?