Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider,
Anze Kopitar has been eligible to sign a contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings since July 1, but don’t expect an announcement on an extension for the star center in the immediate future.
The Kings and Kopitar are are “not even in the ballpark” in their discussions, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi told LA Kings Insider over email when asked whether the two sides were “close” to reaching an agreement.
Kopitar has one year remaining on the seven-year, $47.6-million contract he signed in September, 2009. The nine-year NHL veteran will be paid $7.7-million in the final season of a contract that carries a $6.8-million cap hit. In 683 career games, Kopitar has 218 goals, 610 points and a plus-45 rating. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was a finalist for the Selke Trophy in each of the last two seasons and was a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy finalist in 2014-15, when he was an NHL All-Star for the third time. In 70 career playoff games, Kopitar has 18 goals, 60 points and a plus-22 rating.
"I honestly don't know what's going to happen moving on. I mean I have one year left on my contract, and there's a possibility that I can hit the [unrestricted free agent] market.
"It's obviously something that's been a dream of mine since I've been a kid, is to play in your hometown and play for the Canucks, but right now the main focus is going down to L.A. and trying to make the most of that."
-Milan Lucic of the Los Angeles Kings. More from Mike Battaglino of NHL.com.
from Eric Macramalla of TSN,
Richards was arrested when Canadian border guards found "some pills in a single bottle" during a random search of his car. According to Westhead's breaking report, it was small quantity intended for the hockey player's personal use.
That means Richards is looking at a simple possession charge rather than a charge for possession for the purpose of trafficking, which is a lot more serious. A trafficking charge means that a person was in possession of drugs for the purpose of selling or distributing. Richards is facing up to six months in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. Given the small amount, Richards is not going to jail assuming he's guilty of the offence (he may not be). Worst case scenario for Richards may include a fine and community service.
The issue being raised now is whether being charged will hurt Richards' likelihood of success in connection with his grievance against the Kings for unlawfully terminating his contract.
The short answer is no. Before criminal charges were filed against Richards, he stood a good chance of having an arbitrator overturn the termination of his contract. While Richards has now been criminally charged, nothing has changed as far as his chances of success.
from Lisa Dillman of the LA Times,
Prosecutors in Manitoba could proceed summarily, a course of action for less-serious offenses, or by indictment, reserved for more serious matters.
"This is an offense for which there is a huge [sentencing] range," said University of Manitoba law professor Debra Parkes. "It will all depend on the seriousness. I've seen examples of people getting discharges for possession of Oxycodone. There are some examples of that across Canada, if the person is an addict, if it is a relatively low amount, no record, that kind of thing. It could be a fine, or could possibly be imprisonment.
"Without a record, and assuming if it was a small amount, it would be possible to argue even for a discharge. But we don't know enough about the facts."
Less than two weeks after Richards was detained at the border, the Kings moved to terminate his contract, citing "a material breach."
The Kings declined to comment on the legal developments in Manitoba, citing the ongoing litigation regarding the contract grievance. Richards' agent also declined to comment.
But when the Kings terminated Richards' contract, they said in a statement: "We are not prepared to provide any more detail or to discuss the underlying grounds for the contract termination at this time."
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
Training camp is so close you can almost feel it, so it is time to shake more of the rust off and do a little rambling.
Pretty darned good summer for Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving, who stole Dougie Hamilton away from the Boston Bruins at the draft and then locked him in long-term while adding useful forward Michael Frolik, a former Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks. Then, earlier this week Treliving took care of priority No. 1: Locking up heart-and-soul captain Mark Giordano to a very salary cap-friendly six-year deal worth an average of $6.75 million per season. It's a deal that gives Treliving lots of cap-room flexibility moving forward, even if there's always a risk in such a long-term deal when Giordano will have just turned 33 when the deal kicks in next October. Many believe the Flames are due a step back this season after a surprising run to the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs. But that run was accomplished without Hamilton and Giordano, who was out with a torn biceps tendon. Nothing is guaranteed in the wild Western Conference, but Treliving has his Flames well-positioned to return to the playoffs, not just this season but for the foreseeable future.
One byproduct of the Giordano signing is that the attention on top-end players entering their contract years is amped up. Tops on that list of course is Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, followed closely by Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. The slower-than-expected rise in the salary cap coupled with benchmark contracts like those extended to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane by the Blackhawks last summer that kick in this season has made life more difficult for all GMs, but specifically for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Kings GM Dean Lombardi. Locking up Stamkos and Kopitar are obvious priorities for the Bolts and the Kings respectively and we assume the deals will get done, but the longer it takes, the more speculation will percolate that things are amiss.
continued with more topics...
While I don't loathe Kings loopholing contract like some do - I'm a Lamoniello guy after all - this all comes back to Lombardi's failure
Dean could have bought out MR, didn't. Could have dropped hammer on Voynov, didn't. Now he's hypocritical at best/moral bankrupt at worst
via Rick Westhead of TSN,
Former Los Angles Kings forward Mike Richards has been charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance, the RCMP announced Thursday morning.
Richards was charged on Aug. 25 and has not yet entered a plea. Richards has a court hearing on Sept. 10.
Richards was arrested on June 17 in Emerson, MB at about 2pm, RCMP constable Paul Human told TSN.
Canadian border guards found “some pills in a single bottle” during a random search of Richards’ car and he was arrested by RCMP, a source told TSN. “It was clearly a small quantity intended for his personal use,” the source told TSN.
added 10:42am, Westhead has added more to the original story including this...
Previously published reports have said the pills were OxyContin. A source close to Richards declined to say whether he has had a prescription for the narcotic pain reliever.
It's likely that at the Sept. 10 court hearing, the case will be adjourned for at least several weeks because Richards' legal team has not yet obtained through discovery police documents related to the case.
Under Canada's controlled drug and substances act, prosecutors will be able to choose whether to proceed with the case summarily, which is typically the case for first-time offenders, or through an indictment, which is used for repeat and serious offenders.
Dan Rosen of NHL.com answered some emails...
Do the Kings have enough offense to contend for the Stanley Cup? Is the defense strong enough to get through the regular season?
At this point I'd have to say "maybe" to both because of a host of question marks and concerns. I'm just not sure what to think of the Kings at this point. I want to think they'll be good enough to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is why I picked them in our 30-in-30 series, but I'm not sold on them being a legitimate Stanley Cup contender at this point. That's not to say they can't be or won't be because we know their history, but the defense looks thin on paper, even with the addition of Christian Ehrhoff and the brilliance of Drew Doughty, and they're not as deep at center as they have been in the past. They have Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter, but no Jarret Stoll or Mike Richards. Andy Andreoff and Nick Shore have a lot to prove. Trevor Lewis is serviceable, but he's not going to surprise anyone.
Another big concern that I have for the Kings is how they respond to Darryl Sutter's coaching. Sutter has been great for the Kings, helping them to win the Stanley Cup twice, but his hard-driving style is one that wears on a team after a while. We saw signs of that happening last season. Are the Sutter-led Kings going in the wrong direction?
One other concern is that the Kings have a way of dominating possession but not getting enough out of it. Last season, they led the League in shot-attempts percentage (55.37), but they were 10th in shots on goal per game (30.9) and 18th in goals (2.66). When you dominate possession the way the Kings did, you would want them to generate more production out of it.
read on for questions on the Wings, Flames, Cody Franson, Penguins and Rangers...
By Joe Sudberg,
It was an unusually disappointing 2014-15 season for the Los Angeles Kings. After winning the Stanley Cup two seasons ago, the Kings didn’t reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season, and became the first team since the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006-07 to miss the playoffs after capturing the crown. Fortunately, the new season is rapidly approaching, and with that, the Kings will soon have their chance at redemption.
The club made a huge splash during the offseason in adding Milan Lucic, but also let some familiar names move on to right the ship. Jarret Stoll is now a member of the New York Rangers, Mike Richards may not see the ice again after recent legal troubles, and Justin Williams has moved on to the Washington Capitals.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
Voynov remains suspended by both the Kings and the NHL and there is no timetable for a final decision on his potential return to action. That’s a problem. But it’s not one the league seems in a hurry to address.
“Once he is released, his status as a suspended player will not change until we have had an adequate opportunity to review the matter and conclude our process,” (Bill) Daly wrote. “There is no precise or projected timeline for that.”
It’s hard to imagine at this point what the NHL is waiting on aside, perhaps, from the opportunity to meet with Voynov face-to-face. It’s been nearly a year since he was arrested in October and the league’s investigation into the incident has been “ongoing” throughout....
This is virgin territory for the league, and taking careful, considered steps is understandable. But nearly a year on, it’s time to set a standard.
Hopefully, it won’t be needed as a reference anytime soon.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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