In some ways, Nashville Predators GM David Poile seems like the Billy Beane of the NHL. Maybe his teams aren’t lighting the world on fire, but they win an impressive amount of games with a bargain basement team and an overarching philosophy. (The Predators replace the Oakland A’s tunnel vision for on-base percentage and playing the percentages in general with a steadfast approach to slowly developing prospects and playing world-class defense.)
Poile’s long run of competence makes this summer even stranger. First, the team dealt with the embarrassment (though not many, if any, significantly inflated costs) when Poile conjured Dale Tallon’s spirit by having a mishap getting qualifying offers to the team’s restricted free agents. Those issues would have been swept under the rug if it weren’t for everything that lead up to today.
It’s probably not fair to lay all the blame at Poile’s feet, but there will be many who point their fingers in his direction while discussing the fact that Shea Weber actually did make it to salary arbitration. The two sides still have time to make points and rebuttals, although Weber’s world-class status leads to some rather amusing Internet snark about the Predators’ lack of a counterargument. It’s easy to joke about the situation, but the bottom line is that the Predators must walk on egg shells while arguing any points against the face of their franchise. It should be abundantly obvious that this isn’t the best case scenario for Nashville.
We’ll keep you updated throughout today, although you must note that the arbitrator has 48 hours to crunch the numbers and make a decision. As Dirk Hoag pointed out, Weber and the Predators actually could come to terms on a separate contract during that period. If not, the Predators won’t have any choice but to accept the arbitrator’s one or two year award for Weber.
This is a nerve-wracking day for hockey fans in Nashville, with implications on the franchise and perhaps other notable restricted free agents (Drew Doughty) from around the league. Stick with us during your #WeberWatch as we follow that and other hockey news today.
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.