Brian Boyle

PHT Morning Skate: Rangers broke record while staying alive

The 2014 playoffs aren’t over yet. The Los Angeles Kings have another opportunity to win the Cup on Friday, but we’re highlighting headlines from around the hockey world this morning:

The New York Rangers broke an NHL record by winning their eighth consecutive elimination game at home. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been particularly dominant over that stretch. (

Travis Morin found the back of the net on Wednesday to lead the AHL Texas Stars to a 2-1 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps. Texas now has a 2-1 lead in the Calder Cup Final. (

The Flyers have signed 29-year-old forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. He’s never played in North America, but his versatility and ability to kill penalties caught Philadelphia’s attention. (CSN Philly)

Despite the rumors to the contrary, Devils GM Lou Lamoriello doesn’t think defenseman Adam Larsson will bolt to Sweden. His entry-level contract is over after three trying seasons with New Jersey. (The Star-Ledger)

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford thinks this summer’s trade market could be very active, although Pittsburgh might not be a major player in it. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Cory Schneider has begun contract talks with the Devils and is insisting that he isn’t making any demands in terms of playing time. (The Bergen Record)

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?