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Fired Leafs assistant coach blames complacency of players

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Unlike head coach Randy Carlyle, Scott Gordon didn’t survive the disastrous collapse of the 2013-14 Toronto Maple Leafs.

His job didn’t survive it, we mean. Gordon’s still breathing. But he — along with Carlyle’s two other assistants, Dave Farrish and Greg Cronin — were relieved of their duties.

In a lengthy interview with the Globe and Mail, Gordon spoke about the trouble Toronto’s coaching staff had convincing the Leafs to play the way they were being taught, and also to avoid complacency.

“It’s not that our guys weren’t capable of it,” he said. “They showed it last year, and the majority of them were here. … As coaches we tried to address it and get the players to understand what we saw, but at the end of the day, they’ve got to go out and play. And it just didn’t click all of the time.”

Gordon isn’t overly critical of anyone in the published interview, but it’s still interesting to hear insider tidbits like, “There’s this perception that Randy doesn’t like Jake Gardiner, and it’s comical,” because there definitely is a perception that Carlyle doesn’t like Gardiner (and vice-versa), and many believe the coach is the reason the young defenseman could be traded.

But in fact, according to Gordon, “I can’t tell you how many times that Randy has said that the thought of trading Jake can’t even be discussed until he’s played 300 games.”

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?