Leafs’ Lupul: ‘This series is not over’


It’s easy to hit the panic button after a tough playoff loss, especially when you haven’t experienced one in nine years.

That’s doubly true when that defeat happens to be a lopsided one like the Toronto Maple Leafs suffered to the Boston Bruins on Wednesday. Even so, that 4-1 outcome is still just one game, something Joffrey Lupul seemed aware of when speaking with Rogers Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

“This series is not over,” Lupul said. “There is plenty of belief in here.”

The Leafs can look at their first-round opponents for evidence that a team can bounce from dire circumstances. The 2011 Bruins avoided elimination in three different Game 7’s during their Stanley Cup run and lost two opening home games in a quarterfinal series against the Montreal Canadiens, yet they became champions that year.

Obviously, there’s no guarantee that Toronto will enjoy anything close to that run, yet they can soak in plenty of examples of teams stumbling before experiencing great successes.

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?