Calgary Flames v Florida Panthers

Luongo (upper body) unable to play on Tuesday

It’s unclear if the Florida Panthers have been an occasional upset threat by design or by acquiring Roberto Luongo, but the bottom line is that they’ve been more of a threat than their sad record might indicate (just ask the desperate Dallas Stars). One could argue that the Philadelphia Flyers may breathe a little easier on Tuesday, then, as the Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Luongo is missing the game because of a lower-body injury.

In 12 games with the Panthers, the 35-year-old goalie might not have the greatest record (5-6-1), yet his individual stats are nice, as he has a .923 save percentage and 2.45 GAA.

Florida is trotting out solid journeyman goalie Dan Ellis tonight, so it’s not like it should be a total cakewalk for Philly.

Any form of win would clinch a playoff berth for the Flyers.

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?