Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia dug into the archives last night after Flyers center Claude Giroux scored in a 4-2 win over Phoenix. It was Giroux’s 32nd point of the season, tying him with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for the league lead, which got Panaccio to thinking — who was the last Flyer to lead the NHL in scoring after 25-plus games?
The answer: No. 88.
Yes, Eric Lindros was the last Flyer to achieve the feat. The Big E had 43 points after 33 games in 1998-99 — tying him with Pittsburgh’s Jaromir Jagr who, ironically enough, now plies his trade for the Flyers. Lindros wouldn’t win the Art Ross that season (injuries limited him to 93 points in 71 games), but Jagr did, finishing with 127 points.
[Fun fact: Jagr’s 127 point total hasn’t been topped since. Joe Thornton came the closest with 125 points in 2005-06, while Sidney Crosby (120PTS, 2006-07) and Jagr himself (121PTS, 2000-01) also got within sniffing distance.]
Anyway, back to Giroux. We wrote earlier about Evander Kane’s breakthrough season — well, Giroux’s is equally impressive. He’s never scored more than 76 points, but is on pace for 105 and could be shortlisted for quarter-pole MVP honors. Remember, Philly traded away two of its four leading scorers from last year (Jeff Carter and former captain Mike Richards) and have been without Chris Pronger for over half the season. Giroux stepped up to fill those voids and kept the Flyers in the hunt for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
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.