We’ve certainly talked more than enough lately about the potential effects of Ilya Kovalchuk re-signing with the Devils. We know, you’re probably tired of hearing about the whole thing and we don’t blame you. There are still a few things left for the Devils to do before the season starts, mainly clearing salary space.
Two names keep getting brought up as candidates to help the Devils get under the salary cap in Bryce Salvador and Brian Rolston. One downside to the business is that even those guys aren’t sure if they’ll be sticking around New Jersey or not as Rich Chere found out.
“No one wants to be part of leaving here. This is a great team with great chemistry,” defenseman Bryce Salvador told me. “The situation is, it’s going to be more than one player going. That’s just part of the business. Everyone understands that.
“For the Devils’ organization, they got a great player (in Kovalchuk). And the machine always changes. But I haven’t been thinking about it so much. The fact that I’ve been traded before, it doesn’t weigh so much on me.”
I guess having gone through the rigors and cold reality of the NHL world can make you a bit numb to being moved for one reason or another. But what if you’re someone like Brian Rolston with a no-trade clause and coming off two bad seasons in New Jersey? Reality is harsh.
“You talk about a no-trade. Teams can still trade you. It’s not black and white. You can have all those thoughts, but you just have to prepare yourself for the season and that’s what I did. I don’t really choose to think about that stuff.”
Yikes. We’d be happy to guess that when Rolston signed his four-year contract with the Devils two seasons ago, he had no designs on being sent out of town nor would he want to leave. Why else would you get a no-trade clause in your contract after all.
Then again, after two seasons where Rolston put up numbers similar to those he’d normally put up in one season, it’s proof that situations can change at a moment’s notice. Clearly neither player is excited at the prospect of potentially being moved from what should be a successful team but this is just how things work in the NHL with a salary cap in place.
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.