USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp - USA Blue v Finland

Flames prospect Sieloff continues comeback from staph infection

Patrick Sieloff will take part in the Calgary Flames development camp next week, having had the vast majority of his 2013-14 season cut short by a staph infection.

Sieloff, a second-round pick of the Flames in 2012, joined the Abbotsford Heat in the American Hockey League last fall, becoming the youngest player on the roster at the time, according to the Abbotsford News.

But the 20-year-old defenceman, a former member of the U.S. world junior team, appeared in only two games for the Heat, before he was sidelined.

“It’s so great to be here,” Sieloff told the Flames’ website. “I’ve been feeling good all summer. There hasn’t been any hiccups or anything. For me, this is camp … it’s staying on the ice and staying healthy.

“I can build confidence off of those two things.”

His perceived maturity is something Troy Ward, the former head coach of the Flames’ top minor league team, which has since moved out of Abbotsford to Glens Falls, NY., lauded prior to the start of the 2013-14 AHL regular season.

“He’s 19 going on 29,” said Ward, as per the Abbotsford News. “He’s playing as the youngest guy in the league, but he doesn’t make you feel that way at all. His maturity is extremely high as a hockey player, and that’s what’s afforded him to be here.”

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?