Viktor Stalberg

Quenneville says Stalberg ‘likely playing’ in Game 3

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After going relatively punchless in Game 2 against Detroit, Chicago appears set to make one change to their lineup for Monday night’s Game 3.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says forward Viktor Stalberg is “likely playing” in Game 3 after being a healthy scratch for the first two games of the series. Tracey Myers of shares what he has to say about how he’ll approach getting back to action.

“I’ll just keep playing the way I have all year. I don’t think I’m going to change too much; you just get back out there and work hard and do as much as you can,” Stalberg said. “It’s always frustrating. You want to play; you want to help out. Most of us made it here because we’re competitive people and we want to be the best. You want to be out there.”

There were rumblings over Stalberg being scratched because of his complaints over power-play time but Quenneville shot those down. Will he play on the man-advantage though? Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune shared this:

Keep it cheeky, Chicago.

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?