Joe Thornton

Sharks coach Todd McLellan expects Joe Thornton to play Game 5

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The last 24 hours have been tough and fascinating in the life of Joe Thornton. During the Sharks Game 4 loss to Vancouver, Thornton was crushed by a huge open ice hit by Canucks forward Raffi Torres. The hit forced Thornton off the ice for the remainder of the game and put his status in doubt for Game 5 tomorrow night in Vancouver.

Late last night, Thornton said he’d be “100% ready” to go in Game 5 and today Sharks coach todd McLellan says that he’s expecting Jumbo Joe to be out there as well.

McLellan’s statement on Thornton comes off as something out of a movie and for the Sharks captain who’s played his best postseason hockey in his career in these playoffs, what his coach says about him stands out even more.

“When Joe Thornton comes to you and tells you he’s playing, he’s playing,” McLellan said. “That can happen in exhibition season, that can happen at St. Thomas at a charity game in the middle of the summer, so expect Jumbo to play tomorrow.”

We talked about Thornton’s playoff history of playing through injury last night and him playing hurt is nothing new. It’s also nothing new for most guys in the playoffs that play through all sorts of bumps and bruises. Thornton’s injury in Game 4 was very obvious that it was around his shoulder and it’ll be worth watching to see how it affects his play both in his physical game and his ability to take draws, shoot, and pass.

If Thornton is playing at half-speed that’s no good given how well Vancouver’s played against them. Then again, Thornton’s main duty in the playoffs has seen him shadowing Ryan Kesler and Kesler’s been quiet this round. The offense is what they’ll need to keep seeing out of Thornton in assisting Patrick Marleau. If Thornton can’t do that, the blame for failing may wrongly fall on Thornton’s shoulders regardless of how hurt he is.

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
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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.