Mike Richards' contract termination saga took an interesting turn Tuesday evening, as it was reported that the former Flyers captain was bringing the prescription drug Oxycodone across the Canadian border.
Notorious gossip outlet TMZ broke the story. As per their report:
NHL officials have been notified that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigation into ex-L.A. Kings player Mike Richards involves the prescription drug oxycodone ... multiple sources tell TMZ Sports.
Our sources say Richards was stopped while crossing from the United States into Canada on June 17th ... and we're told he was questioned about oxycodone pills, a powerful painkiller.
For the record, Richards has NOT been charged with a crime.
Richards' 12-year contract, which had five years remaining on it, was terminated by Los Angeles on Monday for a "material breach of contract." ESPN.com's Katie Strang subsequently reported that the Kings had kicked tires on deals at last weekend's NHL Draft that would send Richards to either Edmonton or Calgary, but GM Dean Lombardi (in an act of due diligence) halted trade talks after being informed of the incident.
It was also made public on Monday that Richards was under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as Canadian Border Services, but the matter was not disclosed.
Despite winning two Stanley Cups with the Kings, Richards' production has dropped over the last three seasons. He posted a dismal five goals and 16 points for the Kings, and was demoted to the American League's Manchester Monarchs in January (where he tallied three goals and 14 points in 16 games).
It's speculated that the NHLPA will file a grievance against the Kings on Richards' behalf, but such action would take some time to pursue. Richards' border situation is the latest development in a tumultuous offseason for the Kings, with Slava Voynov's domestic violence trial set to begin next week and Jarrett Stoll's arrest for possession of cocaine (which he pled guilty to two misdemeanor counts, and will have to to perform 32 hours of community service within a 120-day span).
Flyerdelphia will continue to update on Richards' situation, as it continues to develop and unfold.
Rob Riches is a contributor to Flyerdelphia and Sports Talk Philly. Follow him on Twitter @Riches61