Duncan Keith

Keith returns from one-game suspension tonight


The Chicago Blackhawks lineup will be back to normal for tonight’s Game 5.

Defenseman Duncan Keith will return to action for the Blackhawks tonight after serving a one-game suspension for slashing Kings forward Jeff Carter. If he has any issues with being sat down for a game by the league, he’s not sharing them as Tracey Myers of CSNChicago.com reports.

“It doesn’t matter what my opinion is,” he said. “Like I said (after Game 3), I didn’t mean to get him where I got him. I know it doesn’t look good. But I’m glad he’s back playing for them. It doesn’t matter what my opinion on the suspension was.”

Keith’s return will put Sheldon Brookbank back in the press box tonight, meanwhile Brent Seabrook gets his old defensive partner back. Considering the Kings got their two goals in Game 4 against the pairing of Brookbank and Nick Leddy, the prospects for a return to offense on the road tonight look less-than optimistic.

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?