From the looks of things, the not-so-Merry-Christmas feeling among coaches might extend beyond fired New Jersey Devils coach John MacLean and Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff (who looks to be without important center Derek Roy for some time).
Columbus Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel will go into the brief Christmas (or “holiday”) break fuming, at least if his post-game comments following his team’s 7-3 loss against the Vancouver Canucks are any indication.
It’s hard to blame Arniel for being so embarrassed after this game. Vancouver stormed out of the gate with a 3-0 lead in the first period and scored the first six goals before R.J. Umberger finally got the Blue Jackets on the board late in the second.
Arniel’s frustration must be building at this point. After opening the season with their best start ever, the team is plummeting back to earth in a dramatic way. Perhaps losing back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings when they were close to taking a Central Division lead deflated the team, because they’re 3-8-3 since that first game on Friday, November 26th. Here’s what Arniel said, via the Associated Press.
“It didn’t look like we really wanted to play tonight in the first period, let alone the rest of the game,” Arniel said. “It was an embarrassing game. I want to apologize to the fans. Professional athletes are paid to perform and when you don’t do your job you’re going to get criticized.”
“There were a ton of things that bothered me very early in that game,” Arniel said. “The turnovers, the no compete and lack of professionalism bothered me, and that wasn’t just the first period.”
Thomas Reed of the Columbus Post-Dispatch captured a little more of Arniel’s anger.
More #CBJ‘s Scott Arniel on 7-3 loss to #Canucks: “It was men against pee wees out there.”
Harsh, but fair. The question is: can Arniel build them up from pee wees to the varsity and then finally back to a professional hockey team? If not, he might get some free time to coach real pee wees in the near future.
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.