One of the lowlights in Game 6 between Buffalo and Philadelphia came when Flyers captain Mike Richards shoved Sabres forward Tim Connolly from behind putting him head first into the boards. Richards was given a two-minute minor for boarding and Connolly left the game with a head injury.
Given Connolly’s history with concussion problems, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be in any shape to go in Game 7, especially with how teams are treating players with concussions. So what will the Sabres do to potentially fill Connolly’s shoes? They’ll call on a player they haven’t seen in months.
Derek Roy is set to make his return to the Sabres lineup for Game 7. For Roy it’ll mark his first game since late December when he went out of action with a injured quad. Roy was the Sabres leading point man last season and having him back in the lineup should give the Sabres offense a huge lift.
When it comes to Game 7s even the least healthy of players will try to find their way back in the lineup to help their team win. In Roy’s case, his comeback is a virtual necessity. With Connolly hurting and Jason Pominville out, those are two important players to their offensive production and they’ll need all they can get in Game 7 especially with Chris Pronger back for Philly.
Getting Roy out there with Tyler Ennis, Drew Stafford, and Thomas Vanek gives the Sabres more than a few viable options on the attack and with how this series is playing out, they’re going to need all they can get.
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.