No Staal, Boyle, Clowe or Dorsett for Rangers in Game 1


The Rangers will be shorthanded upon opening their opening-round playoff series against Washington on Thursday.

The Blueshirts will be without the services of Marc Staal, Brian Boyle, Ryane Clowe and Derek Dorsett tonight, according to’s Dan Rosen.

Staal, Boyle and Dorsett all skated Thursday morning while Clowe stayed off the ice — though he did travel to Washington with the club.

As for where each guy is at, health-wise…

Clowe: Missed the final game of the regular season — a 4-0 win over New Jersey — after hurting what first appeared to be his leg against Carolina.

The New York Daily News later reported Clowe might’ve actually suffered a concussion after taking a Bobby Sanguinetti elbow to the face.

Boyle: Missed the final six games of the regular season with a right leg injury, stemming from a hit by Philly blueliner Luke Schenn on April 16.

His participation in practice today was the first time he’s skated with teammates since suffering the injury.

Staal: Out since Mar. 5 with an eye injury. Closer to returning than ever before, but still hesitant given he’s still experiencing slightly blurred vision.

“As soon as I’m not second-guessing myself or hesitating and doing things I normally do become automatic is when I can jump into a playoff-type game,” he told the Daily News. “You go out there in a playoff game and you’re thinking too much, you’re going to get yourself in trouble and the team.”

Dorsett: Out since early March after breaking his collarbone, the former Blue Jacket sounds as though he’s preparing to return to game action and make his Rangers debut at some point during opening round.

“You can’t predict,” he explained. “But if everything keeps going the way it has and there are no setbacks, I hope to be ready sometime during this series.”

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?