Z’about time: Sens recall Zibanejad

Mika Zibanejad’s time in the minors has come to a close — for now.

Zibanejad, Ottawa’s first-round pick (sixth overall) at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled from AHL Binghamton after a successful stint with the B-Sens that saw him score two goals and seven points in six games.

The 20-year-old was a surprise final cut from the Sens roster following training camp, especially after playing well during the 2013 season, his first full NHL campaign.

Zibanejad finished fourth on the team in scoring (20 points in 42 games) — as a 19-year-old — then proceeded to score four points in 10 playoff games while averaging over 13 minutes a night.

A 6-foot-2, 211-pounder with skill, Zibanejad returns to the Sens at a crucial time. The club is facing an extremely difficult stretch of the the schedule — on Wednesday, the Sens play in Detroit, followed by home games against Anaheim and San Jose.

After that, it’s out to Chicago for a date at the United Center against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

UPDATE: According to Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen, Zibanejad was recalled because of a minor injury to Jean-Gabriel Pageau.


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?