Video: Kessel picks up where he left off with sweet goal


Phil Kessel was hot going into the Olympic break with 11 goals and 27 points in his last 15 games. He carried that momentum with him to Sochi where he netted another five goals and eight points in six contests with the United States.

It looks like even going halfway across the world and back in the span of a couple weeks hasn’t dulled his senses. In Toronto’s first contest since the 2014 Winter Games, Kessel went right back to work, beating New York Islanders goaltender Evgeni Nabokov top shelf just 6:53 minutes into the game.

You can watch that goal below:

That was Kessel’s 32nd goal of the season, which puts him behind only Washington’s Alex Ovechkin in the goal scoring race. The marker also moved him into a tie for third place in terms of points with John Tavares, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a partially torn MCL.

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?