If there’s one theme to the Carolina Hurricanes’ way of doing business, it might be “loyalty.”
Sometimes that preference reaches into the realm of the slightly ridiculous, as the team tends to bring back retreads with notable frequency. Just look at their history with Anton Babchuk, Cory Stillman, Erik Cole, the Kaberle brothers and even their once-fired head coach Paul Maurice for examples of this phenomenon.
While the team’s on-ice results seem to be on one year and off the other – possibly as a result of the Canes’ dependence upon stars Eric Staal and Cam Ward – the team seems like a solid hit in its non-traditional market. It’s my guess that fact (and his glistening 2006 Stanley Cup championship ring) explains why the Hurricanes decided to hand general manager Jim Rutherford a four-year contract extension.
It’s true that I don’t agree with every decision Rutherford makes, but considering Carolina’s restricted budget, it seems like he does a very solid job of putting together an attacking roster. Last year’s seventh overall pick Jeff Skinner won the 2011 Calder Trophy and most of their recent first round picks have been direct hits (even if they ended up on different teams).
The team might struggle with the loss of a key player such as Cole – who bolted for the Montreal Canadiens’ substantial deal – but it was the most cost-effective and risk-conscious option for a player with a troubling injury history. My guess at this moment is that the Canes will struggle to fight for a playoff spot in 2011-12, but for the most part, Rutherford seems like he knows what’s he is doing.
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.