Handzus to miss next two games, Pirri gets shot as No. 2 center


The revolving door that is Chicago’s No. 2 center spot has opened for Brandon Pirri.

Pirri, one of the club’s brightest offensive prospects, will get a chance to play in a top-six role as the club announced the incumbent No. 2, Michal Handzus, would miss at least the next two games with an upper-body injury.

“We’re still looking for who’s going to be that [second-line center],” head coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s an opportunity for Brandon to hopefully grab that. We certainly feel he can play there. We’re comfortable giving him that chance here and I think he’ll do fine.”

Pirri, 22, led AHL Rockford in scoring last season (75 points in 76 games) and has appeared in six games for the ‘Hawks this year, scoring two goals and three points in a largely bottom-six role.

He was also playing on the wing, which could make for an interesting adjustment to the middle. Thankfully for Pirri, he’ll be playing on a line with Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, which should make the switch plenty easier.

“Those guys have a lot of skill,” Pirri said. “I think I can bring a little skill and energy.”

Chicago plays tonight in Minnesota before hopping a plane for tomorrow night’s contest in Ottawa. The ‘Hawks are off ’til Saturday after that, so it’s possible Handzus could return for this weekend’s games (Saturday in Winnipeg, Sunday at home vs. Calgary).

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.

Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

And here’s a statement from TSN: