The New Jersey Devils still has a legitimate chance to make the playoffs and that’s pretty impressive given how long they’ve been on the ropes.
It’s been an up-and-down campaign and you could get an accurate idea of what was happening at any given time based on Jaromir Jagr’s quotes alone. He’s been upfront about his feelings on how the team is doing throughout the campaign.
We’ve seen both extremes of that lately with him blasting the team’s preseason-quality effort in a 6-3 victory on Monday to talking about how proud he was of them after edging out Washington on Friday.
He argues that the one constant is that he never lost faith that the team would make the playoffs.
“I’ve believed since day one,” Jagr insisted, per the Star-Ledger.
He’s not alone in that belief. The Devils have stayed focused on competing despite the long odds that they’ve faced for a while now. They’ve managed to claw their way back from a 9.39% chance of making the playoffs following a loss to the New York Rangers on March 22, per the Sports Club Stats. They’ve been beaten in shootouts a few times since that defeat, but never in regulation.
New Jersey won’t play tonight, but Columbus is set to face the New York Islanders. If the Blue Jackets lose in regulation, then the Devils will be just one point back with four games left in both teams’ schedules.
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?