While there’s generally a dearth of hockey news in the summer, one bit of actual playing news is that many of the World Junior Championship teams are holding their evaluation camps this week. Team USA opened their camp today in Lake Placid, New York but notably absent are two players who recently signed professional deals. Defensemen Cam Fowler (who
While no reason was given as to why they’re not there, one could assume rather easily that their new clubs likely didn’t want them risking injury there when they’ll have NHL training camp coming up in September. After checking out the roster of players the United States has at evaluation camp for the next week, it might be daring homerism to say that perhaps Fowler and Leddy may not be missed terribly as the United States’ depth on defense is rather nice.
Team Canada is dealing with a similar problem of their own as 2010 #1 draft pick Taylor Hall is not attending Canada’s evaluation camp. For Canada, this poses more of a dilemma.
The decision means the former Windsor Spitfires star winger won’t be eligible for the world championships, since Hockey Canada insists players must take part in the camp if they are to make the team.
“Ideally we would have liked him to come to the summer camp to keep that option open, based on our policy. But his preparation for the upcoming season is focused on the NHL,” said Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada senior director of national men’s teams.
Focusing one’s efforts on the pros is never a bad thing and it’s not as if Canada is hurting for talent. And besides, Tyler Seguin will still be there. Given that both the United States and Canada are essentially super powers in the World Junior Championships, losing a player here or there isn’t a backbreaking situation. When/If these teams do go head to head in Buffalo at the tournament, however, these differences could be crucial.
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.