The Vancouver Canucks may feel like they proved to the National Hockey League that they won’t be pushed around. But they still lost, missing out on two points against a divisional opponent.
The Canucks lost 1-0 to the L.A. Kings on Monday, in a testy, chippy, sometimes dirty meeting – as someone wise seemed to predict earlier in the day when setting up this match-up – of two Pacific Division rivals that have clearly grown to dislike each other.
The two teams combined for 109 penalty minutes, including a pair of fights, plenty of rough stuff during play and after whistles, too.
And then there were the missed calls, like Dale Weise’s blatant slew foot on Kings’ defenseman Drew Doughty in the neutral zone during the second period. It went undetected by officials. Doughty was slow to get up but remained in the game.
Dustin Brown, the central focus of the Canucks’ hostilities for a collision between him and Vancouver’s No. 1 puck stopper Roberto Luongo nine days ago, fought his U.S. Olympic teammate Ryan Kesler at the drop of the puck in the second period.
Brown scored the lone goal of tonight’s game, 24 seconds into the third period.
Tom Sestito, who had been promoted to Vancouver’s third line as he worked to improve his game over the course of the season, was ejected less than three minutes into the first period, after just one second of ice time.
The angst began immediately as soon as the puck was dropped, when Canucks’ forward Zack Kassian began jousting with Brown, eventually taking a penalty for hooking the Kings’ captain to the ice.
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?