Pittsburgh has had a bit of a hard time of late without captain Sidney Crosby in the lineup. The Penguins are 0-2-1 in the three games he’s missed since sitting down with a concussion and while the Pens play tonight in Montreal, Crosby continues to stay at home and off the ice.
Crosby is still suffering from symptoms of his concussion suffered at the hands of Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman and worse yet for the Pens, there’s no timetable on when Crosby will be back on the ice.
“I believe he’s getting tested again this week, and he’s getting better,” Bylsma told reporters at the Bell Centre in advance of Wednesday night’s match-up against the Montreal Canadiens. “But we’re not going to progress forward until the symptoms subside.”
Being without their best player is making life tougher for the Penguins. The offense doesn’t seem to click the same way and the Pens have altered their style of play a bit getting tougher and grinding things up a bit more. So far, it hasn’t resulted in a win for the Penguins. Expecting any team to be the same when a player of Crosby’s caliber is out is asking a lot, even if it they’re still very talented Pens.
With Crosby out, the pressure has shifted to Evgeni Malkin to be the focus of the offensive attack. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Malkin is slumping a bit with just two goals and an assist in his last eight games and just one assist in those games that Crosby has missed. To win both he and recently returned Jordan Staal will have to be better. With Crosby not sure of when he’ll be able to come back, the pressure is definitely on to produce and keep the Penguins on pace with the Flyers in the Eastern Conference.
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.