Jack Capuano

Tavares has ‘all the faith in the world’ in coach Capuano


With nine regulation losses in their last 11 tries, the New York Islanders are facing a lot of questions these days. Chief among those questions is whether head coach Jack Capuano is still the right man for the job.

According to captain John Tavares, the answer to that particular query is an unequivocal yes.

“We’ve got all the faith in the world in the people in this organization,” Tavares told Newsday. “We’re the ones stepping on the ice. We’re the ones not getting the job done. We proved last year what we’re capable of. This is not last year, but this is about the guys in this room.”

The Isles will try to halt a four-game losing streak later this afternoon versus Detroit. They also play tomorrow at home against Washington.

Despite Tavares’ vote of confidence, it’s worth mentioning that general manager Garth Snow has fired a coach mid-season before. In fact, that’s how Capuano got his current job. In November of 2010, Scott Gordon was relieved of his duties after the Isles went 10 games without a win.

Related: Isles, Caps stand out among NHL’s bottom teams

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?