Dustin Penner

Penner’s play wowing Ducks teammates

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Dustin Penner’s second time around with the Anaheim Ducks has been a great one to this point.

During the Ducks’ 6-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night, Penner had a goal and three assists. Both he and Ryan Getzlaf piled up four points in the blowout win with Getzlaf earning a hat trick.

Following the game, Getzlaf spoke glowingly of Penner’s play.

Being a major contributor on a line with top talent can get you noticed.

Since Penner has played on a line with Getzlaf and Corey Perry, business has picked up. He has a five-game point streak and has piled up 12 points in 11 games. Meanwhile, he has a league-leading to this point plus-minus rating of plus-18.

Compare that to last season with the Los Angeles Kings when he had 14 points in 33 games and was a healthy scratch on occasion. Being back in Orange County is treating Dustin Penner pretty well.

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?