Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune reports another potentially crucial loss for the Wild, suggesting that captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu was injured in overtime of a 4-3 shootout loss to Chicago last night.
Russo believes the injury occurred during Koivu’s final shift of the extra frame, which is why he wasn’t involved in the shootout (strange, as Koivu’s 25 shootout goals are seventh-most in NHL history.)
Russo also added it’s been confirmed that Koivu was hurt — early speculation suggests a leg injury — and that he’ll see doctors today.
So, worst case scenario for the Wild? Koivu misses time, meaning they’d be without four of their top-six forwards. Devin Setoguchi (knee), Guillaume Lantendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (broken nose/face) are already out — all told, Minnesota has lost 117 man games to injury.
And yet they’re still the best team in the NHL.
I have officially stopped trying to make sense of this. Last night, Minnesota took Chicago the distance — losing in a shootout — with a lineup featuring Cody Almond, Brad Staubitz, Clayton Stoner, Warren Peters and Mike Lundin. Jared Spurgeon, who two years ago was an unsigned free agent out of Spokane, played a game-high 27:30.
And for you amateur capologists out there, consider this: Last night’s lineup featured 12 guys making less than $1.5-million annually.
/throws hands up, walks out
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.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?