After falling behind 1-0 early in their game against France, the United States rode three unanswered goals to a 3-2 victory in another qualifying round match today. This regulation wins puts the United States in a great position to reach the 2011 World Championships’ quarterfinals, with their final qualifying game coming against Switzerland on Monday.
United States 3, France 2
Derek Stepan, Mark Stuart and Chris Kreider scored America’s goals. Paul Gaustad earned two assists in the game. Ty Conklin had a much easier game this time around, stopping 20 out of 22 shots to win against familiar face Cristobal Huet, who made 35 out of 38 saves in defeat.
The USA moved into a second place tie with Sweden at 7 points, although the Swedes has only played in three games versus America’s four. The American team must finish the qualifying round in the top four of Group F to advance to the quarterfinals. Team Canada already clinched a spot in the next round with a 3-2 win against Norway.
Group F standings
Canada – 10 pts (4 games played)
Sweden – 7 pts (3 GP)
United States – 7 pts (4 GP)
Norway – 5 pts (4 GP)
Switzerland – 3 pts (3 GP)
France – 1 pt (already eliminated)
Check out these video highlights of America’s win against France.
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The United States team should also get a boost in the form of James van Riemsdyk, whose Philadelphia Flyers were swept by the Boston Bruins. The young forward is currently tied for the 2011 playoffs goal scoring lead at 7 with Danny Briere and Sean Bergenheim, although that obviously won’t stand through two more rounds. Either way, he had a breakthrough postseason and could rank as one of the best forwards on this limited American squad.
We’ll keep you informed about the team’s quest to bring home a medal from the World Championships for the first time since they earned a bronze in 2004.
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.