News and notes from around the crease…
Ducks go back to Gibson
Rookie netminder John Gibson — who made his NHL debut on Monday with a 3-0 shutout win over Vancouver — will start for Anaheim again tonight when the Ducks host the Sharks in a key Pacific Division tilt.
Gibson, 20, is considered to be one of the best young goaltending prospects in the NHL. He captured tournament MVP at the ’13 World Juniors, then performed equally well for the U.S. men’s team at the ’13 Worlds, backstopping the Americans to bronze while posting a 1.56 GAA and .951 save percentage.
No word yet on who San Jose will start in goal, but Antti Niemi seems likely.
Monster starts in Pittsburgh
Needing just one point to clinch a playoff spot, Detroit will turn to Jonas Gustavsson tonight when they take on the Penguins at Consol.
Gustavsson wasn’t great in his last outing, allowing five goals on 26 shots in a loss to Montreal, but has been good in relief of Jimmy Howard this season. He’s posted a 16-5-3 record with a 2.63 GAA and .909 save percentage, and had won four straight games prior to the defeat to the Canadiens.
For the Penguins, Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start in goal.
Canadiens at ‘Hawks: Peter Budaj vs. Corey Crawford
Jackets at Stars: Sergei Bobrovsky and Kari Lehtonen are likely, but not confirmed.
Kings at Flames: Jonathan Quick vs. Karri Ramo
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?