Curtis McElhinney

More minor moves: Coyotes add McElhinney, Oilers re-up Peckham, Flames close in on Babchuk


Apparently the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres’ GMs weren’t the only ones who decided to do something beyond flip burgers, grill hot dogs and set off fireworks today. (Then again, two of the teams involved in this post are Canadian. I wonder if they get today off too, with their version of Independence Day coming on July 1 instead.)

Teams haven’t been very forthcoming with financial details today, so we’ll just look at the term of deals unless otherwise noted.

  • The St. Louis Blues signed Brett Sterling to a one-year, two-way deal. The signing actually happened late last night/early this morning, so maybe you could say that the Blues took off today’s holiday anyway. Sterling will be a minor league forward for St. Louis with the potential to be a reasonably proficient player during fill-in work when Blues forwards are injured (not exactly uncommon if last season is any indication).
  • While the deal hasn’t been officially announced yet, Antnon Babchuk’s agent Jay Grossman announced that the Calgary Flames are close to signing the defenseman to a two-year contract. If that signing goes through, it would represent a rare run of stability for Babchuk. He experienced an almost comical in one year, out the other routine with the Carolina Hurricanes. Babchuk played the 2006-07, 08-09 and 10-11 seasons with the ‘Canes while bouncing back overseas in the years in between. Update: it’s a two-year, $5 million deal. Woof.

The appeal of Babchuk is quite simple: he has a flamethrower of a slap shot. He’s not very good in his own end but he scored 27 points in 65 games with Calgary after being traded there from Carolina and had 35 points in 82 games overall in 10-11.

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

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.