Blackhawks lose Crawford, but end three-game skid


The Chicago Blackhawks experienced a good news/bad news Sunday as they beat the Florida Panthers 6-2, but Corey Crawford suffered a lower-body injury (and didn’t return) in the process.

Sure, the Blackhawks ended a three-game losing streak and Crawford didn’t allow four goals. Unfortunately, he only saw four shots, as he left in the first period.

The Blackhawks power play was red-hot on Sunday, as three of their goals came on the man advantage (note: Tracey Myers clarifies a box score error).

Antti Raanta stopped 29 out of 31 shots in relief of Crawford. It could be important for Raanta to build up some confidence, especially if Crawford is on the shelf for a while with his lower-body issue.

Patrick Sharp (one goal, two assists) and Patrick Kane (three assists) had three points apiece while Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Brandon Saad generated one-goal, one-assist nights.

There was one last bit of good news: at least Raanta didn’t get hurt, as there was a scare when he was bumped later on in the game by Jimmy Hayes:

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?