Tim Murray

Sabres name Jakubowski assistant general manager

Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray now has someone to work alongside him.

The Sabres announced they’ve hired Mark Jakubowski as the assistant general manager. He has been with the Sabres already for 10 years, six of those as the assistant to the general manager under former GM Darcy Regier. This makes for a solid promotion.

The hiring is a bit curious as Kevin Devine was already the assistant GM, but according to reports he’s still working with the organization and is still listed as assistant GM on the team’s website.

Having more than one assistant GM isn’t necessarily a big deal — take a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins who have three assistant GMs and a President of Hockey Operations to go along with GM Jim Rutherford.

The Sabres also announced they’ve hired Rob Murphy and Greg Royce as the director of scouting and director of amateur scouting respectively. They worked alongside Murray with the Ottawa Senators.

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?