Ken Holland

Red Wings GM Holland defends NHL participation in Olympics


You might assume that the 2014 Winter Olympics have been a trying experience for the Red Wings. Detroit has dealt with more than its fair share of injuries so far this season and the Winter Games have arguably further complicated that.

Nevertheless, you can list Red Wings GM Ken Holland as one of the people supporting the NHL’s continued participation in the Olympics.

“My take is, it’s a great stage to showcase our players,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “The USA-Russia game drew tremendous numbers back in the U.S. It’s best on best.”

Meanwhile, the Red Wings are still waiting for captain Henrik Zetterberg to fly back to Detroit after he was shutdown due to a herniated disk. The next step is to find out if Zetterberg needs surgery and just how long he’ll be sidelined for.

Losing Zetterberg is a huge blow for Detroit, but Holland was quick to point out that Zetterberg’s back problems predate the Olympics and he doesn’t think this setback is related to the tournament.

“Whether in the Olympics or NHL, it probably would have been the same situation,” Holland argued.

In addition to Zetterberg, Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk came to the Olympics under less than ideal circumstances as he’s been playing through a playing through a lower-body injury.

Holland defended Datsyuk and pointed to former captain Steve Yzerman, who was sidelined in 2002 after playing through a knee injury in the Olympics, but returned to lead Detroit to a Stanley Cup championship that year.

“I think (Datsyuk’s) earned the right to make the decision based on how his body feels,” Holland said.

Detroit has a one-point edge in the Wild Card race with its streak of 22 consecutive postseason appearances on the line.

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?