As Joe discussed earlier today, Cristobal Huet will more or less be smuggled off the Chicago Blackhawks’ salary cap to a foreign league team. That last move will alleviate the team’s biggest remaining cap problems, all for the low-low price of $5.625 million.
One interesting subplot is that Huet would have been willing to renegotiate his contract, if the CBA would allow it. James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail passed along those details from Huet’s agent Steve Bartlett.
“His goal was to stay in the NHL,” Bartlett said. “If there was a way he could have, he would.
“That’s the downside of the inflexibility of the CBA – there’s no ability to renegotiate or for another team to take on a portion of a contract. Financially, you’re well covered, but if your goal is to play in the NHL, you’ve got two hands tied behind your back.”
Bartlett said they were well aware during last season’s Stanley Cup run that Huet’s time in the NHL was likely coming to an end. Including Huet and starting netminder Antti Niemi, the Blackhawks have shed nine regulars from the team that won the championship to get under the cap.
“Clearly Chicago was going to have cap problems and clearly he wasn’t even the No. 1 goalie,” Bartlett said. “And they walked away from their No. 1 goalie (in arbitration) for half the price. I don’t think it took a whole lot of introspection to figure out that we were headed on the fast track to nowhere as far as playing for Chicago this season.”
It’s a bummer that Huet’s deal was too bloated to justify his NHL existence, but let’s not feel too bad for him. After all, he still has two years left with receiving $5.625 million per season on his contract; he’ll just be earning that (plus possibly a nice bit more) outside the NHL.
Huet’s current deal expires after the 2011-12 season, oddly enough just like that Collective Bargaining Agreement. It will be interesting to see if Huet can work his way back into the league in the last couple years. After all, with a career 91.3 save percentage, he’s rarely been horrible. It’s just that he’s nowhere near worth the kind of money he was making.
Either way, it’s a messy situation, but at least it won’t get much uglier. Good luck to Huet in making the best of a tough – if lucrative – situation.
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.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi ranks among the NHL’s most outspoken executives. Even so, his discussion of what he calls 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.” (Bold claim: the production part was probably the bigger sticking point.)
- 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 Lombardi and 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.