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TSN coaches poll: Crosby a favorite for Hart Trophy


A poll of 25 National Hockey League head coaches recently completed by TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie revealed Sidney Crosby as the top choice for the Hart Trophy as the player voted on to be the most valuable to his team.

That’s at least based on the opinion of the majority of Eastern Conference coaches who responded to the survey, McKenzie reported.

Crosby still leads the league in scoring with 56 points in 36 games, however he hasn’t played since suffering a broken jaw on March 30, when he took a puck in the mouth.

McKenzie also reported that Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks was the “overwhelming choice for Hart Trophy MVP consideration in the Western Conference.”

The 24-year-old captain is having another solid year for the Blackhawks, currently the top team in the NHL with the end of the regular season in sight.

Toews has six points in his last four games and has 44 points in 42 games. More impressive, and perhaps a better indication of just how good Chicago has been, is Toews’ plus-minus rating. His plus-27 rating puts him third amongst all NHL players this season.

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?