PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 28: Vincent Lecavalier #40 of the Philadelphia Flyers is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on March 28, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Lecavalier has great game following demotion to fourth line


Vincent Lecavalier seemed upset when he found himself paired up with Zac Rinaldo and Adam Hall on the fourth line during Philadelphia’s Friday morning skate, but the move worked in last night’s 4-2 victory over Toronto.

Flyers coach Craig Berube was very pleased with Lecavalier’s line and the 33-year-old forward, who also shifted from the wing to center, admitted that he felt more comfortable playing up the middle.

“I have to give credit to my teammates,” Lecavalier said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We were close (to scoring) a few times.”

As a line they didn’t find the back of the net, but Lecavalier scored on a one-timer during Philadelphia’s first power play of the game:

“I didn’t even see the shot,” teammate Wayne Simmonds remarked. “Normally I have time to get to the front of the net. I wasn’t even halfway there. It was in and out before I even got there, so it was an unbelievable shot.”

Like Berube, Simmonds was impressed with how well Lecavalier responded to his assignment as the team’s fourth-line center.

It remains to be seen if Lecavalier’s strong performance will lead to the lines getting shaken up again, but either way, if Berube’s goal was to spark him, then it looks like he succeeded.

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?