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Oilers GM believes Bryzgalov is ‘very motivated’


The mysterious puck stopper known as Ilya Bryzgalov will soon be bringing his talents, which includes his off-ice personality, to Edmonton.

On Friday, the Oilers announced they had signed the free agent goalie to a one-year contract. Bryzgalov hit celebrity status within the hockey world for his often amusing antics and bizarre soundbites, which we all witnessed on HBO 24/7 in the lead up to the 2012 Winter Classic.

However, his time with the Philadelphia Flyers was reduced to just two seasons, before he was bought out during the off-season.

“We get a goaltender that has a history of being a high-performer in parts of his career and we get a guy who I think that’s very motivated and he’s going to have a chance to be a good goalie,” said Edmonton’s general manager Craig MacTavish, as per the Oilers’ website.

While this deal was announced today, and with the Oilers having already played 17 games and now sitting last in the Pacific Division, MacTavish said he had conversations with Bryzgalov dating all the way back to the NHL Draft in June, as per Mark Spector of

“I think he’ll surprise us, in terms of his character,” MacTavish told Spector.

According to Derek Van Diest of the Edmonton Sun, Bryzgalov, who last played an NHL game way back on April 25, will first be sent to the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.

This signing turned out to be the headliner in a pair of moves made by the Oilers today.

They also sent defenseman Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames, although there have been reports that the Oilers are talking trades with the Flyers.

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?