Every now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I also will provide my guess.
First, here is my guess for Boston.
Dennis Wideman – Wideman is the poster child for a contract year deception.
For the Beantown lowdown, I tabbed Evan from Stanley Cup of Chowder. Make sure to follow his great Bruins blog on Sports Blog Nation.
Most Bruins fans would probably say that Dennis Wideman or Michael Ryder are their biggest sources of frustration for their inconsistent play, but for me no player is more frustrating than Andrew Ference.
Ference is the classic “tweener”. He isn’t big enough to be a physical defenseman and he isn’t skilled enough to be a puck-mover or an offensive defenseman. Of course, that’s on the rare occasion that Ference is actually healthy and in the lineup. This past week pretty much summed up the essence of Andrew Ference. On Wednesday, Ference signed a 3-year extension with the Bruins worth $2.25 million a year. On Thursday, he was watching the game from the 9th floor at the TD Garden with a groin injury. Fragile Ference has missed at least 30 games a year over the course of his time with Boston. It’s as if they replaced his bones and cartilage with glass and Elmer’s Glue.
If collecting a decent-sized pay check for showing up to work 60% of the time isn’t enough reason to loathe Andrew Ference, he is one of these obnoxious do-gooders, who makes you feel bad about yourself for not traveling to third world countries in Africa to play soccer with underprivileged kids. Anybody who had to wait for the T a few years ago had to listen to a PSA from Ference that played every 5 minutes telling you to use public transportation to help save the planet. Hey buddy, I’m waiting for the train. I think I am aware of public transportation.
Then there was the way that he handled the Paul Kelly firing as the team’s NHLPA player’s representative. The key role of a player rep is represent your team. Ference reportedly never discussed the situation with his teammates and decided to step down as player rep shortly after. His handling (or more accurately, mishandling) of the Paul Kelly firing even drew some harsh criticism from Hall of Fame defenseman Brad Park. I refuse to believe that this situation didn’t create some level of friction in the Bruins room at a time when they desperately needed leaders to step up and bring this team together in the wake of several veterans leaving town.
I can’t wait for the day when Andrew Ference loads up his collection of porkpie hats and skinny ties into his hybrid Prius and drives out of town … too bad that will be at least 3 years from now.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.