Mike Richards

Kings win an ugly one against Blues


If last night’s Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders game was like driving at 100 mph on a four-lane highway, then Los Angeles Kings-St. Louis Blues represents the traffic-jammed bottleneck. It wasn’t a pretty game – even beyond two egregious turnovers by Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman – but the Kings managed to slip by St. Louis for a 3-2 road win.

Many will highlight one particularly ugly moment in an ugly game, though: Drew Doughty caught T.J. Oshie with a questionable crosscheck in the waning moments of the third period. It’s likely that Doughty will hear from Brendan Shanahan for that one, although it’s anyone’s guess if he’ll face discipline for it. (Stay tuned for video of the hit.)

Mike Richards’ pretty game

There were some pretty elements, with Mike Richards’ hot streak being the most opulent bit. Richards was involved in both of those Jackman blunders, as he recorded an assist and a goal on those two mistakes. His faceoff numbers might be the most staggering thing about his performance, though: he went a ridiculous 15-1 in draws.

Adversity for Ken Hitchcock

The Kings handed Hitchcock his first regulation loss with St. Louis; he’s now 4-1-2. He faces some questions, then. Will he sit Jackman for a game to punish those awful errors? Should he turn to Brian Elliott in net for the next game, being that he is putting up the kind of numbers they’re paying Jaroslav Halak to produce?

Either way, this game showed that the Kings and Blues both bring a lot to the table, but have  some ways to go before they can produce a true marquee matchup.

Update: Here are highlights from the game, including that Doughty hit on Oshie.

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Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.