The attitude the Blue Jackets assumed when they got the lead last night in Philadelphia is the same one they need to keep with six games to go in their regular season.
“I like how we kept our foot on the pedal,” defenseman James Wisniewski said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We played it smart, but we didn’t lay back and just defend the whole time. Our defense was active, and we supported each other. It wasn’t them just coming in wave after wave until something bad happens.”
The Jackets came away with a 2-0 victory, the franchise’s first ever in Philly. Tonight, they host Chicago with a chance to go three points up on idle Toronto, currently the team with the best chance to catch them for a playoff spot.
The Blackhawks — minus Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — also played last night, beating Minnesota in a shootout at the United Center. Which is to say, it’s not the worst time to welcome the Stanley Cup champs to Nationwide Arena.
“We’re in a good position,” said forward Brandon Dubinsky. “It’s not like where we were last year when we had to continue to watch and hope and chase teams. We’re right where we want to be.”
As we wrote yesterday, the Jackets have a golden opportunity to to give their long-suffering fans some playoff excitement.
Now is not the time to take their foot off the pedal.
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?