Buffalo’s newest public enemy #1 in Milan Lucic hits the ice tonight with a lot of Sabres fans and even some within the organization thinking payback is on the way. After all, the Sabres have had over a week and a half to stew about Lucic running over Ryan Miller and not answering the bell to stick up for their now injured goalie.
So if there is to be a fight (or a few) tonight to get retribution on Lucic, just who in the world on Buffalo is going to do the deed? The Sabres don’t have a tried and true goon fighter but they do have a handful of guys that could duel with their personal devil if they so choose.
If you want to put even money on one guy going for it it’s Paul Gaustad. Gaustad was highly critical of the team and himself for not getting after Lucic when they had the chance to and with the amount of pride Gaustad has, there’s almost no way he can let Lucic go without doing something tonight.
If Gaustad doesn’t get to him first, Cody McCormick would be another solid choice to drop the gloves with Lucic. McCormick isn’t one afraid to drop the gloves if need be and the Sabres certainly seem like they need to do something with Lucic. (Update: That would be if Cody McCormick wasn’t injured of course. Which he is. Our bad, folks.)
Failing that, Patrick Kaleta is the last hope there and he’s more of a pest than a fighter and seeing him challenge Lucic might do more to fire up the Bruins than anything else. If Kaleta does anything in this game at all, it’ll be attempting to run over Tim Thomas or Tuukka Rask as a different sort of retribution.
No matter what happens, the Bruins say they’ll be ready for it, Lucic in particular expects it. Either way, Brendan Shanahan has spoken with both clubs and will be monitoring things from New York City. If there’s going to be a throw down tonight, the teams better not be stupid about it.
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.