USATSI_7952767_154158418_lowresThe Mike Richards saga has taken yet another turn. The former Los Angeles Kings forward has been charged with illegal possession of a controlled substance.

The RCMP announced the charges on Thursday, confirming that Richards was arrested on June 17 in Emerson, Manitoba. Border guards found “pills in a single bottle” after a random search of his car, which subsequently led to his arrest. The pills were “clearly intended for personal use,” said an RCMP source to TSN.

There were some published reports that suspected the pills were OxyContin, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Richards has a court hearing on September 10, at which point some of the particulars will be decided. Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allows prosecutors to choose whether to pursue the case summarily or through an indictment. If the prosecutors choose the former, Richards could face up to six months in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. If they choose the latter, he could face up to seven years in jail.

It now looks like this is the “material breach” that caused the Kings to terminate Richards’ contract. The NHLPA filed a grievance over that termination on August 10, as we reported.

Many of the same issues remain for the Kings, despite this information coming to light. As we reported, they still haven’t handled the Slava Voynov situation properly.

Voynov is currently serving 90 days in Southern California and will be out of the clink in time for training camp, which means he could be in a Kings sweater come the commencement of the new season. He should be well-rested, too, given the quality of life at the luxury Seal Beach Police Detention Center.

Many presume that the Kings were looking for a way to get out of Richards’ contract and there’s a lot of good evidence for that as this saga has unfolded. They may have sensed some trouble with their hockey player, but rather than pursue courses of reconciliation or healing they’ve elected to try to dump the deal and move on.

We don’t know everything that’s going on behind closed doors, but at this point the Kings organization doesn’t look that good. They’ve ditched a player who may or may not have a substance problem and they’ve held on to a player with a misdemeanour domestic violence conviction. At least their priorities are in order.

Advertisements