It’s been a rough handful of seasons for former NHL forward Michael Nylander.
After producing at more than a point per game pace alongside Jaromir Jagr with the New York Rangers, the crafty forward signed a deal with the Washington Capitals that proved to be a bad fit for GM George McPhee’s salary cap. Nylander became one of the first player’s to receive the “Wade Redden” treatment as he was banished to the minors because his salary didn’t conform more than his style of play. He hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2008-09 season, but on the bright side, at least he was getting paid.
He spent time bouncing around the AHL and foreign leagues in 2009-10 before being loaned to the Rochester Amerks – the Florida Panthers AHL affiliate – this season.
A sad situation got even worse, though, as the center broke his neck in a game against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
“He’ll definitely have to do some soul-searching when he has recovered,” Amerks coach Chuck Weber said. “The little bit I do know him, I don’t think this is the way he’ll want to go out.”
Facing season-ending neck surgery at 38, you have to wonder if this is it for the hard luck pivot. Not many players fight back from injuries this severe at such an advanced age, especially without the immediate carrot of possible NHL play dangling in front of them.
If this is it for Nylander, he’d go out in a sad way but nonetheless made a nice career for himself. He scored 209 goals and 470 assists for 679 points in 920 games stretched over 15 journeyman seasons in the NHL. He might not go out “on top” but would have nothing to be ashamed of after a lengthy, productive career.
(H/T to Puck Daddy.)
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.