In different ways, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John-Michael Liles and Los Angeles Kings blueliner Jeff Schultz are victims of the numbers game. They’re both headed to their teams’ respective AHL affiliates after clearing waivers on Monday.
Liles, 32, finds himself in this predicament in a large part because of Toronto’s tight salary cap crunch. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports that he’s headed to the Toronto Marlies, accompanying moves that include Morgan Rielly making the team and Frazer McLaren hitting the LTIR.
Schultz, 27, simply wasn’t good enough to make the cut. That being said, it’s probably more difficult to make the Kings’ defensive mix than most NHL teams’ groups.
Either way, two guys who could probably play at the game’s highest level to at least some extent are instead in the AHL. Sheldon Souray must be having sympathy pains.
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?