Veteran d-man Commodore signs with Dallas’ AHL affiliate


Longtime NHL defenseman Mike Commodore has agreed to a professional tryout with the Texas Stars, Dallas’ AHL affiliate.

Commodore, 33, has been inactive since Montreal cut him loose in late January.

He was in camp with the Canadiens and appeared in 17 games with their AHL affiliate in Hamilton, but was unable to crack a deep blueline that featured seven guys on one-way deals (and that was before the Habs agreed to terms with PK Subban.)

The well-traveled journeyman has fallen on tough times since signing a five-year, $18.75 million deal with Columbus prior to the 2008-09 campaign.

While his first season in Ohio was successful — he appeared in 81 games, finished second in defenseman scoring and played a key role in the BJ’s first-ever playoff appearance — things went south shortly thereafter.

Commodore saw his playing time steadily decrease until things hit rock bottom in 2010-11. After being made a healthy scratch in seven of eight games by then-head coach Scott Arniel, Commodore requested a trade but was instead put on waivers.

Commodore has since played with the Detroit Red Wings and, most recently, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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?