Another lightly scheduled Sunday in the NHL. We’re glad to see everyone get out of the way so we could relax so nicely on a Sunday evening. Well, that is unless you’re the Oilers and Rangers who might be icing down tonight after duking it out this afternoon.
NY Rangers 8 – Edmonton 2
A hat trick from Marian Gaborik, two goals from Alexander Frolov, and a non-busy night for Martin Biron helped make this one a laugher for the Rangers. The Oilers, again, struggled defensively making mistakes both rookie and veteran alike. Oh yeah, and things got a bit ugly in the third with a full-on line brawl erupting when Sean Avery got a jump on fighting Ladislav Smid and virtually the rest of the Oilers disagreed with that. The loss is the fourth straight for Edmonton and things are getting out of control quickly for the young Oilers.
Washington 6 – Atlanta 4
A weird, back-and-forth game between these rivals ended up being decided late in the third period thanks to a goal by none other than tough defenseman John Erskine. Oh sure Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, and Mike Green also got on the board for the Caps, but it was Erskine’s slap shot in the third that proved to decide the game. Bryan Little had two goals for Atlanta in a losing effort. The Caps win gets them a nice bounce back after losing to Buffalo in overtime last night. On a side note, John Erskine and Eric Boulton had one of the best fights we’ve seen this year.
Minnesota 4 – Tampa Bay 1
Safe to say that Tampa Bay is officially struggling, although to be fair, dealing with the kind of goaltending the Wild have going for them you could almost understand. Niklas Backstrom made 37 saves to earn the win for the Wild, meanwhile Martin Havlat notched three assists as the Wild got goals from Cal Clutterbuck, Eric Nystrom, John Madden, and Antti Miettinen. Martin St. Louis had Tampa Bay’s lone goal while Dan Ellis only stopped 14 of 17 shots he saw.
Chicago 3 – Anaheim 2 (F/OT)
Viktor Stalberg’s overtime goal helped lift the Blackhawks and snap the Ducks’ six-game winning streak all at once. Marian Hossa came through with a solid game as well for Chicago with a goal and an assist. Meanwhile, Corey Crawford got the win in giving Marty Turco a night off. Crawford stopped 24 shots in the win. The one guy he couldn’t stop was Corey Perry who scored both Anaheim goals. Jonas Hiller was the hard-luck loser after stopping 40 shots.
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.