Bettman, Daly confirm ‘willingness to participate’ in Bertuzzi-Moore trial

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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are prepared to testify in September’s Steve Moore-Todd Bertuzzi trial, the Globe and Mail reports.

In an email to the Globe, Daly said he and Bettman “have indicated a willingness to participate as required.” This comes after Moore’s lawyer, Tim Danson, had originally included Bettman and Daly in motion compelling them to testify — along with former Vancouver Canucks owner John McCaw Jr.

All three had previously declined requests to come to the trial.

With this latest development, Bettman and Daly have been removed from the motion; the Globe reports Danson will still argue in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Thursday to force McCaw to testify.

Here’s more, from the Globe:

Danson wants to question Bettman and Daly about several matters, including their refusal to pay a $220,000 (U.S.) disability payment from the league unless Moore drops his lawsuit against Bertuzzi and the Canucks. Court documents released Tuesday showed that Moore asked Bettman and Daly in 2008 to waive the standard clause in the NHL’s disability insurance agreement with the players that says claimants must drop any litigation against the league or its teams in order to receive the payment. Bettman and Daly declined to do so.

“The collectively bargained disability insurance payment is expressly conditioned on the player signing a release,” Daly said in an e-mail message. “That is a routine provision and is done for obvious reasons including to avoid the potential of double recovery for a single incident or disability.”

Moore is seeking more than $38-million in his lawsuit against Bertuzzi. McCaw sold the Canucks to the Aquilini family in 2007, but agreed to pay half of any judgment the court awards in Moore’s favor against the Canucks.

The civil suit is set to begin on Sept. 8, 2014. It’s a date that’s been a long time in the making — last July, an original Sept. 24, 2012 date was pushed to January 2013, only for that date to be pushed again when Danson learned of a “secret deal” between Bertuzzi and McCaw’s Orca Bay, the former Canucks ownership group.

Here’s more, from CBC:

Bertuzzi and Orca Bay lost an appeal to keep secret the details of an agreement that shares costs between them should they lose the lawsuit brought against them by Moore.

Moore’s lawyer, Tim Danson, learned of the agreement earlier in 2012 and won a decision to have it released to him, but not for public disclosure.

Moore, a member of the Colorado Avalanche at the time of the incident, suffered three fractured vertebrae and a concussion in the attack, and never played another NHL game.

In February of 2012, Bertuzzi signed a two-year, $4.15 million contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings, a deal that bumped his career earnings to nearly $38 million.

Devils, Hischier agree to seven-year, $50.75 million extension

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While the Devils don’t know yet if Taylor Hall will sign an extension to remain in New Jersey or find a new home next summer in free agency, GM Ray Shero has young locked down one of the team’s core pieces.

On Friday, Nico Hischier agreed to a seven-year, $50.75 million extension that carries a $7.25 million cap hit through the 2026-27 NHL season. The deal buys three unrestricted free agent years since the Devils forward has been playing since he was 18, per Cap Friendly.

“Nico is a special person who possess a team-first mentality combined with an inner drive to succeed,” said Shero in a statement. The entire organization is thankful to him and his family for believing in our future. We are excited that he will continue to play a prominent role with us for many years to come.”

According to the Devils, here’s the year-by-year breakdown:

2020-21: $7,000,000 (includes $3 million signing bonus)
2021-22: $7,250,000
2022-23:  $4,500,000
2023-24:  $7,750,000
2024-25:  $7,750,000
2025-26:  $8,000,000
2026-27:  $8,500,000

The extension also features a modified no-trade clause in the final three years.

In 157 NHL games, Hischier, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 draft, has 37 goals and 101 points while averaging over 17 minutes a night. His offense has been just fine with a 20 and 17 goals in his first two seasons, but his two-way game is what’s really boosted his talent.

The 20-year-old center joins the list of NHLers who passed on restricted free agency in 2020 to put pen to paper on a new deal, joining the likes of Alex DeBrincat, Clayton Keller, Thomas Chabot, and Sam Girard.

Mathew Barzal, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Dylan Strome, and Mikhail Sergachev are some of the other potential 2020 RFAs who will be looking for extensions before next season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Helm fined $5K for slash on Flames’ Lindholm

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Darren Helm and Elias Lindholm had a little battle in the third period of Thursday’s 5-1 Flames win and it has resulted in a $5,000 fine for the Red Wings forward.

It all began during a face-off when Lindholm got taken down by Helm. The Flames forward took exception and skated after Helm as the puck entered the Calgary zone. The tiff continued on with Lindholm throwing an elbow at Helm, who responded by getting up off the ice and slashing Lindholm in the back of the leg.

“Their guy comes with an elbow that should have probably been called right away,” said Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill. “Then Darren reacts to that as most guys would, you get an elbow to the face for no reason you’re going to react. We got to be more disciplined in those situations, but he slashed him. I don’t think the slash was that super-hard, but it sure looked hard the way he went down.”

The fine is the maximum amount allowable under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Helm was given a major for slashing and a game misconduct, while Lindholm got off with just an interference minor. Lindholm was helped to the dressing room and there’s been no update yet on his condition.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

LA Kings set Guinness World Record for ‘Largest Laser Show’

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The Los Angeles Kings may have dropped their third in a row Thursday night and fell to 2-5-0 on the season, but they set a world record during the first intermission.

The Kings’ game presentation department used 642 lasers as part of the Guinness Book of World Records “Largest Laser Show” at STAPLES Center. So, yeah, they were shutout, but they made history.

For the record, the first-period goals by Casey Mittelstadt and Conor Sheary did not, in fact, count toward the final laser total.

With Thursday being the 20th anniversary of the opening of the arena, which featured a Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concert back in 1999, the Kings wanted to do something special, so they went and shattered the previous record of 342, per the team.

Now, if only one of those lasers could have destroyed the “cursed” Taylor Swift banner

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Kempny returns to Capitals’ blue line for first time since March

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Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer doing the ceremonial puck drop honors won’t be the only thing Capitals fans can look forward to Friday night. Defenseman Michal Kempny will make his long-awaited return to the ice against the Rangers after tearing his hamstring in March.

Kempny, who was paired with Radko Gudas during Friday’s morning skate, was given a four-to-six month timeline after undergoing surgery right before the end of last season.

“Yeah, I’m playing tonight. It’s been a long time. I’m very excited,” Kempny said. “There was a lot of hard days, especially from the beginning of the rehab, small steps make me happy. I think it’s part of rehab and all the bad is behind me and I’m just focusing now [on] today’s game.”

Kempny knows he won’t be logging heavy minutes just yet and wants to focus on getting back into the normal routine of a regular player. How his ice time is managed will be something his head coach has to worry about.

“We have a range we’d like to have him in and we’ll see how the game goes,” said Todd Reirden. “Obviously he’s fresh, he’s skating really well, he’s in unbelievable condition, so now it’s just to see how it transfers into game action and how his wind is and his conditioning.”

Braden Holtby is back between the pipes are being given a one game “reset,” as Reirden put it. How he fares against the Rangers will either pause the goalie controversy talk with Ilya Samsonov for now or only add more fuel to the fire.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.