Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks

Couture hopes ‘devastating loss’ can motivate Sharks


Before the San Jose Sharks did it in the 2014 playoffs, the last NHL team to blow a 3-0 series lead, the 2010 Boston Bruins, went on to win the Stanley Cup the following year.

Logan Couture is hoping the Sharks can do in 2015 what the B’s did in 2011.

“Obviously it was tough, the way we finished last year, but I’m really hoping this summer guys build off it and come back a lot stronger, a lot hungrier,” Couture told Sportsnet 590 The Fan today. “It’s probably the toughest loss I’ve been through… It was pretty devastating. It’s really stuck with me the whole summer.”

Couture also went to bat for Joe Thornton, saying the Sharks’ captain “doesn’t deserve the heat that he’s taken” in the wake of San Jose’s most recent, and most painful, postseason disappointment.

San Jose kicks off the 2014-15 regular season on Oct. 8 in Los Angeles, where the Kings — the team that fought back to eliminate the Sharks — will raise their second Stanley Cup banner in three years (on NBCSN).

Related: Wilson explains the ‘rebuild’ in San Jose

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?