“So how’s your playoff beard doing?”
You can file that one away under “questions a hockey fan asks” and not get a funny look for doing so. Every April it’s the playoffs rite of passage and it’s something that’s solely unique to hockey. Seeing the beards grow in as the playoffs wear on is always a point of interest and sometimes mockery if you’re a certain captain of the defending Cup champions. Even playoff stalwarts like Martin Brodeur, who have previously gone sans coif in the playoffs, are growing one out this year. The beard is all the rage now and you don’t even need to be an annoying hipster to do it either.
Thankfully, Pittsburgh’s Seth Rorabaugh has all fans in mind when he crafted his Playoff Beard Preview for Empty Netters and some of the sights are truly incredible. If you’re looking for a reason to root for Buffalo, might I suggest Raffi Torres’ beard potential. If we can get something like what Torres had for Edmonton back in 2006, and have him go up against, say, Kris Draper and his beard for Detroit, we could have the ultimate shockingly red beard-off in the Finals.
With all that aside, the beard phenomenon is something teams have rushed to embrace. Pittsburgh, Washington, San Jose, Colorado and others are all doing their part to raise money for charity by having fans let their facial hair fly for the playoffs and if there’s anything anyone can get behind, it’s helping out for charity. Then again, you could just pull a nutty and make like Patrick Kane and opt to go for dirty hair in a different way by letting his inner Joe Dirt out and growing the all-time king of hockey hair: the mullet.
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.