Jason Brough

Patrick Kane

NHL to ‘promptly review the information’ in the Kane case

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A statement from NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, after Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III, announced this morning that Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane would not face rape charges:

“In light of the statement issued today by the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, as an internal League matter, we intend to promptly review the information that may now be available to us. We will have no further comment until we have completed that review.”

Kane, meanwhile, released his own statement following this morning’s news:

“I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong. I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”

The Blackhawks had this to say:

“We respect the announcement today by the Erie County (N.Y.) District Attorney regarding Patrick Kane. The Chicago Blackhawks organization has taken this matter very seriously, and has tried to navigate a very sensitive situation while continually respecting the legal proceedings. At this time we will have no further comment.”

RelatedNHL supports decision for Kane to attend ‘Hawks camp

Crosby disagrees with Babcock on bigger nets, but wants goalie gear reduced

Marc-Andre Fleury, Sidney Crosby
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Sidney Crosby doesn’t like Mike Babcock’s idea to make NHL nets bigger. However, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ superstar does think there’s a way to increase goal-scoring.

“I’m kind of a traditionalist,” Crosby told PHT on Wednesday. “I would rather see the goalies get smaller equipment before the nets get bigger. I’d rather try that. But I’m all for more goals. However you want to do it.”

Reducing the size of goalie equipment is, of course, not a new idea. In fact, the NHL has made changes before.

But even Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury concedes more could be done.

“I think there’s some stuff in the goalie gear they could maybe round up so guys aren’t so boxy and big,” he said.

Fleury, not surprisingly, agrees with Crosby on keeping the nets the same size.

“I think the nets have been the same for so many years,” he said. “Growing up in the same nets, same angles. It would be a little weird to change that.”

Yesterday, Babcock reiterated his argument that the nets should be made bigger to counteract the increasing size of goalies.

“It’s impossible to score,” he said. “All you gotta do is a math equation. You go to 1980 when the puck went in the net. You got the average size of the goalies in the NHL and the average size of the net. You keep growing the net bigger, that would make the game the same. We change the game every year because we don’t want to change the game. The net’s too small for the size of the goalies. Period.”

The NHL has not given any indication that it’s seriously concerned about goal-scoring. In March, commissioner Gary Bettman said that fans “should continue to enjoy the game principally the way it’s being played.”

Tavares back for Isles after illness ‘wiped me right out’

John Tavares
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As expected, John Tavares will be back in the Islanders’ lineup tonight in Montreal.

New York’s captain missed the last three games with an illness.

“It just wiped me right out for two days,” Tavares said, per NHL.com’s Arpon Basu.

The Isles went 1-1-1 in his absence.

“I didn’t sleep much all weekend and Sunday night was really the peak, when it was the worst,” he told Newsday. “By Monday I finally had an appetite again.”

Steve Bernier will reportedly be the forward who comes out to make way for Tavares.

There will be no expansion vote in December

Gary Bettman, Bill Foley
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The NHL is kicking the expansion can down the road.

“Given where we are in the process, it is clear that expansion will not be voted on in December,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote Wednesday in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Bill Foley, the prospective owner of the Las Vegas expansion team, had previously expected “something to happen” in December when the Board of Governors meets in Pebble Beach.

But there are a couple of good reasons for the vote to be delayed:

— Seattle gets more time to get its “arena act together.” The NHL has made it no secret that they’d like a team there.

— The Arizona Coyotes get time to figure out their arena situation. If they can’t find a local option, they’ll need to relocate.

The NHL may also want some certainty that the Florida Panthers can work out a deal with Broward County, ensuring their long-term future in the area.

And maybe the league would like a little more time to see where the Canadian dollar goes.

The new arenas in Las Vegas and Quebec City aren’t going anywhere, so the NHL has control over the process, for the most part.

In the meantime, Foley is staying patient.

“I understand they want to take their time,” he told the Review-Journal. “It’s an important decision. Hopefully we’ll know something at the All-Star Game.”

The All-Star Game is on Jan. 31.

Report: Penguins still have no plans to send Sprong to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Portraits
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The Penguins still have no plans to send Daniel Sprong back to junior, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The newspaper cited a club official “speaking on the condition of anonymity” for that tidbit.

Of course, GM Jim Rutherford said pretty much the same thing last week, that Sprong, 18, had done enough to stick with the Pens past the nine-game mark.

The difference between now and last week is that Sprong, the youngest player in the NHL, is coming off a healthy scratching Saturday in Toronto, and he could be in the press box again tonight in Vancouver.

Sprong has played eight games in total. He has one goal and no assists, and his average ice time is 10:04.

Which is to say, he hasn’t been all that vital to his team.

Granted, what he has given the Penguins is a cap hit of just $692,500. And that’s important, because the Pens don’t have much cap space to work with.

Not to imply that Sprong is only being kept up for salary-cap reasons; however, it’s worth noting that Rutherford admitted in April that Beau Bennett was rushed into the NHL.

“We made a mistake on Beau Bennett as far as development-wise,” Rutherford said. “I’ll take the responsibility for that. When it was getting closer for him to become a waivered player, I felt we should have sent him to Wilkes-Barre and let him play a lot.”

Sprong is not eligible to go to the AHL, only back to junior, where he’s already proven he can score. So perhaps Rutherford feels Sprong has a better opportunity to grow in the NHL, even if it means playing limited minutes.

The key question, though, is whether Rutherford still believes that Sprong “can help our team.”

Based on today’s report, he still does. But until Sprong plays his 10th game, Rutherford will maintain the option to change his mind.

Related: Blame the Canadian dollar for ‘cap squeeze’