It looks like former NHL star Luc Robitaille’s Santa Monica home will go into foreclosure, but it’s not all bad news. He probably won’t lose his home or his job as the Los Angeles Kings’ president of business operations, according to Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times.
Elliott’s report indicates that Robitaille is suffering from a “soured business relationship” with William “Boots” Del Biaggio III that allegedly left the former hockey player with a $2 million line of credit. You might remember “Boots” from his attempts to become involved with a potential Kansas City NHL franchise and later attempts to buy a piece of the Nashville Predators. Del Biaggo was eventually found guilty of forging documents as he tried to acquire $110 million worth of loans. Convictions related to that fraudulent behavior eventually landed him a 97-month prison sentence.
Long story short, you cannot really blame Robitaille too much for failing to realize that Del Biaggo wasn’t as reliable as he claimed to be. The jailed financier burned a lot of people – including quite a few connected to the NHL – along the way.
Again, the good news is that it looks like Robitaille will be able to fight through the ordeal.
Tim Leiweke, president of the Kings’ parent company, AEG, said via email that AEG is working with Luc Robitaille and the former player’s wife, Stacia.
“This issue,” said Leiweke, “is short term, very fixable and will not have an impact on Luc’s responsibilities with the L.A. Kings.”
One might be surprised to learn about his financial difficulties considering that he made $35 million during his 19-year NHL career, according to the Montreal Gazette’s estimate. That being said, it’s a relief to hear that Robitaille should be able to land on his feet after dealing with a few stumbles. He is “Lucky Luc,” after all.
The Florida Panthers have had no problem giving Roberto Luongo the odd night off this season. That’s because Al Montoya has been one of the best backups in the league.
Montoya (8-2-1, .931) will get the call tonight in Detroit, with Luongo (23-13-5, .930) expected to start tomorrow in Buffalo.
The Panthers have the highest team save percentage in the NHL, at .926 (which includes empty-net goals).
“They both give us a chance to win every night,” Panthers d-man Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald recently. “Both make huge saves for us at times. You need consistent saves every night and they both bring it. Montoya gets put into a tough spot a lot of times and nothing seems to change.”
Beyond Montoya, other NHL backups with particularly good numbers include the Flyers’ Michal Neuvirth (.933), the Kings’ Jhonas Enroth (.931), the Blues’ Brian Elliott (.930), the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss (.929), and the Wild’s Darcy Kuemper (.928).
Petr Mrazek will start for the Red Wings. He used to be Detroit’s backup, but he’s since surpassed Jimmy Howard for the starting job.
— Cory Schneider for the Devils at MSG, versus Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers.
— John Gibson for the Ducks in Pittsburgh, versus Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins.
— Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning in Ottawa, versus Craig Anderson for the Sens.
Not good news for the St. Louis Blues — the club announced this morning that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has been placed on injured reserve with a right-knee injury. He’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Pietrangelo suffered the injury Saturday in a knee-on-knee collision with Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle.
Based on the timeline provided, the Blues will be without their leader in average ice time (26:40) until at least the end of the month. St. Louis plays 10 times between now and Feb. 29, which also happens to be the trade deadline.
The big question, of course, is whether Pietrangelo will be ready to go upon re-evaluation.
The first day of the playoffs is April 13.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
Alain Vigneault took another shot at the NHL’s Department of Player Safety today.
This time, the Rangers head coach was upset about the lack of supplementary discipline for Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds in the wake of Saturday’s altercation with New York captain Ryan McDonagh.
“An All-Star player gets sucker-punched, goes down,” Vigneault said, per The Record. “I wonder if that’s (Sidney) Crosby, what happens? What are the consequences? And, on top of that, a player breaks his stick, throws it at the referees. In the rulebook, that’s automatic. It’s three games. Nothing happens. It’s not even on the sheet after the game.”
Simmonds’ punch left McDonagh concussed and unable to play tonight versus New Jersey, with no timetable for his return.
Earlier this season, Vigneault voiced his frustration with the league after Rangers center Derek Stepan suffered broken ribs in Boston on a hit from Bruins forward Matt Beleskey.
Vigneault felt the hit was late.
“I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” the former Vancouver Canucks coach said, recalling the contentious 2011 final.
Beleskey was not suspended.
Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, and Panthers center Vincent Trocheck have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.
From the NHL:
Crosby led the League in goals and points (5-3-8) in three games as the Penguins (26-18-7, 59 points) earned four of a possible six points to secure the second Wild Card position in the Eastern Conference.
Karlsson led the League in assists and ranked second in points (0-7-7) in three games as the Senators (24-23-6, 54 points) won one of three starts for the week.
Trocheck notched six points (3-3—6) in three games, helping the Panthers (31-15-6, 68 points) widen their lead atop the Atlantic Division to six points.
Related: Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse