PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 8: Jussi Jokinen #36 of the Pittsburgh Penguins beats Cam Ward #30 of the Carolina Hurricanes to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead during the first period on September 16, 2013 at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Vincent Pugliese/Getty Images)

Jussi Jokinen scores hat trick vs. Canes team that waived, traded him


It was less than a year ago that the Carolina Hurricanes just wanted to get rid of forward Jussi Jokinen. They were open to giving him away for nothing on waivers, but teams didn’t want his $3 million annual cap hit through the 2013-14 campaign.

Eventually the Pittsburgh Penguins agreed to take a chance on him, but only if Carolina retained part of his salary, which they did. That’s quite the fall from grace for the former 30-goal scorer, but Jokinen has been determined to prove that he’s still a valuable player.

He paid immediate dividends for the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring seven goals and 11 points in 10 regular season games last season. Then, against the Hurricanes tonight, he made them pay for giving up on him with a hat trick in Pittsburgh’s 5-2 victory.

“I won’t even try to deny it,” the 30-year-old forward told the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander. “It’s always extra motivation when you play against your former team.”

Pittsburgh are now 3-0-0 as they get ready for their first road trip of the 2013-14 campaign. They will play against the Panthers on Friday.

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?