While there’s no denying the notion that Brad Richards was the biggest free agent fish this summer, catching him required a considerable risk. The New York Rangers decided to do what the Rangers tend to do: they threw caution to the wind with a big, risky deal for the 31-year-old center.
It’s understandable that Rangers fans enjoyed visions of Richards setting up Marian Gaborik dancing in their heads, but there’s quite a way to go before that on-paper dream can become a reality. Gaborik tends to be the guy who deals with a wonky groin, but the team might have a slight cause for concern after Richards missed another day’s worth of practice with that nagging injury.
Katie Strang reports that the injury is supposed to be a minor one, but as she mentioned, the Rangers are already dealing with issues to a key cog in top defenseman Marc Staal. Staal’s problems (post-concussion syndrome) are actually the thing that worried me the most about Richards going into this season, beyond concerns about his age and the fact that he’ll probably not have another contract to play for in his strong career.
Ultimately, the groin injury itself might not be a reason to worry, but it underscores the risky nature of giving any player such a lengthy deal – let alone a guy who’s already 31. On the bright side, the Rangers could buy Richards out if his health goes on a more serious decline since it isn’t a 35+ deal. It could become a new tradition after they did the same thing with another substantial veteran center investment in Chris Drury.
The Arizona Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise has a new leader in career points.
Shane Doan set the new mark at 931 points, taking over the franchise lead from Dale Hawerchuk thanks to a three-point night in a 4-1 Coyotes win over the Calgary Flames on Friday.
He scored twice — his first goal of the night tied Hawerchuk’s record — and added an assist. At 39 years of age, Doan has 21 goals this season and is on pace for his best season in that department since he scored 31 in 2008-09.
In fact, at his age and this stage in his NHL career, he could set a new personal best for goals in a single season.
Despite all the off-ice turmoil the Coyotes have gone through, and the speculation of that franchise possibly uprooting from the desert, Doan has hung in there.
That’s not to say he hasn’t spoken out at times about the constant controversies that have come up between the organization, the city of Glendale and the NHL.
In September of 2012, prior to the lockout, he had the choice to sign elsewhere. He narrowed his options down to Vancouver and Phoenix, eventually deciding to stick with the Coyotes.
Anze Kopitar received high praise from L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter following Friday’s win over the New York Rangers.
All Kopitar did was score three goals on four shots on goal. He was also credited with five hits while winning 65 per cent of his faceoffs. His third goal of the evening with 30 seconds remaining in regulation pushed this game into overtime, where Tanner Pearson scored the winner for L.A. in a 5-4 victory.
“It was Kopi’s best game of the season, that’s for sure,” said Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.
“Not just because he scored three goals, but it was his best game all around in terms of using his whole package. I mean, he was a pretty dominant player.”
L.A. maintains an eight-point lead on the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.
The Kings’ victory came at a cost. Marian Gaborik left the game in the first period after being involved in an awkward collision. He did not return, and Sutter didn’t have an update on the veteran forward when the game ended.
P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.
Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.
Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.
“I looked around to see if he was going to blow [the whistle,]” said Subban, as per Sportsnet. “The puck is coming out of the zone. It hits the linesman. He’s standing there and sees the puck coming. It goes back to the player and he puts it in the open net. It just doesn’t make any sense to me.
“Are we supposed to smile and be happy after that and say, ‘Thank you’ to the linesman? I don’t think so. I’m a little bit disappointed about that, because I felt there was a minute left in the game [and] we still had a chance to score.”
The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.
Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.
Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.
Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.
He also joined another impressive list, too.