Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two

‘It turned into a disaster,’ says Blackhawks’ coach Quenneville


How does one put that into words?

The Chicago Blackhawks, playing on home ice, were leading the L.A. Kings by a pair of goals late in the second period when the visitors suddenly erupted for six unanswered goals, including five in the third period, in a 6-2 victory to even the Western Conference Final.

It was a stunning loss for the Blackhawks, who had a chance to go up by three goals but were denied on a brilliant save from Jonathan Quick, who made 23 saves for the win.

Joel Quenneville summed it up, as per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times: “I really liked how we played for 38 minutes. We did everything we were looking to do.”

The coach also added: “The way it turned on a dime like that, I don’t know if we’ve seen a game like that. … It turned into a disaster.”

It started off well enough.

Nick Leddy opened the scoring for Chicago in the first period, as he went top corner on Quick with a beautiful backhander on a partial breakaway – just over a minute after the Blackhawks thought they scored but had the goal waved off when a video review showed the puck never crossed the line.

Ben Smith made it 2-0 Chicago and everything looked good for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

But the Kings, after Justin Williams got them to within a goal before the end of the second period, clicked on the power play in the third. Jeff Carter and Jake Muzzin scored goals on the man advantage less than three minutes apart, and just like that, L.A. was in front as opposed to chasing this one.

Carter recorded the hat trick in the third period.

“It just goes to show you what can happen when you take your foot off the gas,” said Patrick Sharp, as per Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune.

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?