The Ottawa Senators have yet to play with the lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Yes, it’s been two games.
But consider the Senators are now trailing the best-of-seven series by a 2-0 count, following Friday’s loss on the road.
It’s a safe bet that grabbing the lead in Game 3 would go a long way in giving the Senators a chance at victory and, more importantly, a chance at getting back in the series against the heavily-favored Penguins.
Sidney Crosby’s first of three goals Friday gave the Penguins an early lead.
For a second straight game in this series, Pittsburgh was able to grab a lead in the first four minutes of play.
“We’re not ready to match it, obviously,” Senators’ coach Paul MacLean told NHL.com.
“Catch-up hockey is losing hockey, and we’re behind 1-0 early in both games and now you’re playing catch-up the whole way and it takes energy and leads to frustration. We just have to make sure we’re ready from the start.”
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.
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?