What happens when your career or life goes just short of full circle?
Jonathan Cheechoo knows how that feels, as the 30-year-old winger will return to the Sharks … only this time, he’ll be suiting up in Worcester instead of San Jose. Here is the story from Bill Ballou.
Jonathan Cheechoo, with 170 NHL goals on his résumé, is expected to join the Sharks today.
That’s the AHL Sharks – the ones who play their home games at the DCU Center.
Cheechoo, a 30-year-old right wing, will be signed to a pro tryout by Worcester, returning to the organization with which he began his pro career. Cheechoo’s first pro coach was Roy Sommer, now Worcester’s head coach who had him in 2000-01 with the Kentucky Thoroughblades, which at that time was San Jose’s AHL affiliate. From there, Cheechoo eventually made it up to the NHL Sharks, where his career peaked in 2005-06 with a 56-goal performance.
Since then, his production has slipped every year. Cheechoo was traded to Ottawa after the just before the 2009-10 season and by the end of last year, he was playing for the Senators’ AHL team in Binghamton. He went 8-6-14 in 25 games down there. Dallas had Cheechoo in training camp, but released him Sept. 25.
Cheechoo joins Kyle McLaren and Claude Lemieux as notable pro-level players who spent at least some time in Worcester, while Ballou points out that the closest parallel might be Gary Leeman. Leeman was a former 51-goal scorer who flamed out in the NHL before … flaming out in Worcester.
Deep down, the hope is that Cheechoo plays well enough to make an impact for the “real” Sharks. Still, that moment is a long way away for both parties, so we’ll see how he does. Best of luck to him as he gets his final opportunity (or opportunities?) to revive his professional career.
(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)
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.