When the regular season wraps up on Sunday, April 10 one of the highlight games of the day will be NBC’s Game of the Week at 12:30 p.m. ET and it’ll be live from United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The defending champion Blackhawks will take on the Detroit Red Wings in an original six tilt that may be the game that decides whether or not the Blackhawks even make the playoffs to defend their title.
With how tight things are in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks may either be fighting for a chance to host a first round playoff series or fighting for a chance to be in the postseason at all. Having home ice on April 10 will be a major advantage for Chicago but dealing with the likely division winning Red Wings will be tough. Making things more interesting is the teams will have just faced off in Detroit the preceding Friday night.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith will go into battle with Corey Crawford against Detroit with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom with Jimmy Howard in goal. At least we’ll assume Howard will be in goal. If Detroit’s got nothing to play for in the conference or the division, it’s possible Howard gets the day off. Chicago, however, would seem very likely that they’ll have a lot to play for on the final day of the season, including their playoff lives.
As always, we’ll have NHL Extra for you during the game to hit us with your questions and get our analysis of what’s going on. Consider this game your major league warm-up for the playoffs. Yes, we can’t believe the season is almost over either. Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty more coverage from us come playoff time.
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.