These reunions are always a little awkward, aren’t they? Steve Yzerman being the GM of the Lightning and former captain of the Red Wings helps spice up tonight’s game (7:30 p.m. ET) between two non-rivals that rarely meet.
Of course, Yzerman’s presence is merely as an executive but that won’t stop Wings fans from being torn about seeing “Stevie Y” coming back to town. Lost in all that hoopla is the fact that this game features a metric ton of forward talent. Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning going up against Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen for Detroit.
Making this game all the more fun is the fact that both teams ride in playing well of late. Detroit has won three in a row while the Lightning are winners of two of their last three after getting bumped off by the Wild Monday night.
Where tonight’s game gets curious is in goal. Jimmy Howard has been showing that him being left off the All-Star ballot was probably a big mistake. Meanwhile, Tampa’s gotten things right with Mathieu Garon playing well lately.
Will the Lightning’s 1-3-1 defense fluster the Red Wings’ potent attack or will it spur them on into attacking a Lightning team that’s had issues keeping the puck out of the net? Expect the Wings to bring the attack to them and show Steve Yzerman the way things used to be when he was there.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”
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?