Jamie Langenbrunner,  Ilya Bryzgalov, Keith Yandle, Eric Belanger

Pacific Division Watch (March 6)

Every week, we’ll provide updates for each division. The biggest contenders and/or closest races will receive the greatest amount of attention.

Bold = playoff contender; Italics = likely lottery fodder.

Pacific Division outlook (March 6 -March 12th)

1. San Jose Sharks (38-22-6 for 82 pts; 66 Games Played)

Current streak: One loss.

Week ahead: Three home games – vs. Nashville (Tuesday), Vancouver (Thursday) and Rangers (Saturday).

Thoughts: The Sharks are right in the middle of a six-game homestand, having won two and then losing to the Stars last night. They’ll play six of their next eight at home in general, so they have a great chance to create even more distance between themselves and the rest of the Pacific Division pack. Are they peaking at the right time?

2. Phoenix Coyotes (34-23-10 for 78 pts; 67 GP)

Current streak: One win.

Week ahead: Two home games – vs. Vancouver (Tues) and Calgary (Thurs).

Thoughts: The Coyotes finally stopped the bleeding after losing five games in a row thanks to a dramatic comeback against the Detroit Red Wings, but their work is far from done. They have an interesting schedule coming up, with two more home games this week, then four straight away games followed by a five-game homestand. The vast majority of their remaining 15 contests take place against playoff contenders, so they should be able to make their own adventure.

3. Dallas Stars (35-23-7 for 77 pts; 65 GP)

Current streak: One win.

Week ahead: Away vs. Los Angeles (Mon), home vs. Calgary (Wed) and home vs. Minnesota (Fri).

Thoughts: The Stars will begin a seven-game homestand against the Flames, which will be followed by a five-game road trip. In other words, expect the Pacific Division to be weird – at least on the middle level – throughout the rest of the season. Dallas has a legitimate chance, but who doesn’t?

4. Los Angeles Kings (36-25-4 for 76 pts; 65 GP)

Current streak: One loss.

Week ahead: Home vs. Dallas (Mon), @ Detroit (Wed) and @ Columbus (Fri).

Thoughts: After the Kings host the Stars Monday, they’ll play four straight home games followed by four straight road games. Does every Pacific Division team have some weird all-or-nothing March schedule? It certainly seems that way, which again, will make the rest of the season suitably strange.

5. Anaheim Ducks (35-25-5 for 75 pts; 65 GP)

Current streak: Three wins in a row.

Week ahead: Home vs. Vancouver (Sun), Rangers (Wed) and @ Colorado (Fri).

Thoughts: OK, so the Ducks’ schedule is (relatively) normal compared to the other Pacific teams. Or at least they’ve gotten most of the oddity away in February and the early part of this month. After losing the first two games of their seven-game homestand, they can earn points in six of those seven games if they make it happen against the Canucks and Rangers. Considering all of the turmoil this team keeps facing, that would be quite impressive.

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

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.

… Yeah.

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?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick

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.