Russia's Anton Slepyshev, right, is congratulated by team mate Nikita Zadorov after Slepyshev scored 3-4 in the World Junior Hockey Championships quarter final between USA and Russia in Malmo, Sweden on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014. (AP Photo / TT News Agency / Andreas Hillergren) ** SWEDEN OUT **

Team USA falls to Russia in World Juniors Quarterfinals


The United States were not able to defend their 2013 gold medal winning run in this year’s World Junior Championship.

After falling short in their match against Canada in the Preliminary round, Team USA was forced to play against Russia in the Quarterfinals.

The Americans got off to a strong start and held a 3-2 lead through the first 20 minutes. Stefan Matteau, who the New Jersey Devils took with the 29th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, led the charge for Team USA with a goal and an assist.

Buffalo Sabres prospect Nikita Zadorov turned things around for Russia in the second period by scoring back-to-back goals over the span of just 61 seconds. Pavel Buchnevich collected the empty netter with 28 seconds remaining to finalize Russia’s 5-3 victory.

Team USA’s Jon Gillies allowed four goals on 24 shots while Andrei Vasilevski made 30 saves.

Russia will advance to play the winner of Sweden versus Slovakia in the Semifinals.

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?