It’s been an… Interesting offseason for the New York Rangers and it may have gotten a bit more curious.
John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor reports the Rangers have signed forward Matthew Lombardi to a two-year deal. Patrick Kearns of VICE Sports reports the deal is worth $1.6 million total.
This signing comes a bit out of left field as Lombardi spent last season playing in the Swiss National League for Geneva-Servette. He played in 46 games and had 20 goals and 50 points to lead the Swiss League in scoring.
Last we saw of Lombardi in the NHL was during the 2012-13 season with the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks where he played in 28 games and had eight points, all with the Coyotes. He has also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators, and Calgary Flames.
Lombardi, 32, is known for his speed and penalty killing ability, a pair of traits that could come in handy for the Rangers after losing Benoit Pouliot and Brian Boyle in free agency. If he can provide similar offense to what he showed in Switzerland, that’d be a welcome bonus.
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?
News and notes from around the crease…
Jones goes for San Jose
Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.
Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.
For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.
Markstrom out for Vancouver
Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.
Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.
For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.
Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier
Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford