The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators are facing off in the
first round, as the #4 and #5 seeds respectively. Generally, that’s a
pretty close matchup of two teams right next to each other in the
standings and it’s tough to predict who will come out on top. With the
Penguins, however, they are the defending Stanley Cup champions and have
had a much more successful season than Senators, at least on paper.
Senators, however, are confident they can slow down Sidney Crosby and
the Penguins. From
Chris Yzerman of the Canadian Press:
success in the past in trying to contain (Crosby), a little
bit anyway,” Senators centre Mike Fisher said as Ottawa prepared to face
the defending Stanley Cup champions in the opening round for the third
time in four seasons. “We know them well. We know what it’s going to
take to beat them and it won’t be easy.”
“It really starts in the neutral zone with a strong focus to try
take away his space there,” [Chris] Phillips said. “Have someone close
trying to deter his teammates from wanting to give him the puck in the
neutral zone where he can create a lot of speed and carry that on into
the offensive zone.”
The article notes that in 17
regular season games against the Senators, Crosby has just two goals and
13 points and is a minus-8. He’s had much more success against Ottawa
in the playoffs.
The Senators will have to be defensive wizards
against he Penguins, who scored 32 more goals this season while allowing
one less that Ottawa. The Senators finished the season with a minus-13
goal differential, the worst of all the teams in the playoffs. Not
exactly the pedigree one thinks a team wants going up against the
firepower the Penguins can bring.
Yet the Senators are right: they
have a chance. We’ll get into this more when we announce our
predictions on Wednesday, but of all teams that could have faced the
Penguins the Senators might have the best chance to upset the defending
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.