Thursday’s shaping up to be a pretty forgettable night for several NHL netminders.
In St. Louis, Toronto goalie James Reimer lasted just over 16 minutes before getting yanked in favor of Jonathan Bernier, as the Blues jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead.
David Backes opened the floodgates at the 4:48 mark — his 14th of the season — and the Blues poured it on from there as Jaden Schwartz and Derek Roy each scored their eighth goals of the season in a four-minute span.
Reimer didn’t play especially well — losing his goal stick on one of the St. Louis tallies — but the guys in front of him offered little support. The Leafs were out-shot 16-7 in the period and were throttled in the faceoff circle, losing 19 of 27 draws.
Elsewhere, Henrik Lundqvist got the hook in New York as the Rangers gave up three first-period goals to Columbus. The Jackets suffered some unfortunate luck on the goaltending front as well, as starter Curtis McElhinney suffered a lower-body injury and was replaced by third-stringer Mike McKenna.
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.
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?