Just seven days after earning the league’s third star honors, Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson has been named the NHL’s first star of the week.
Anderson won all three of his starts last week — he’s now 8-0-1 over his last nine games — while posting a .970 save percentage. His week was highlighted by a 34-save shutout over the Rangers, though his other two victories (stopping 29 of 30 shots against Montreal and 33 of 35 against Pittsburgh) were almost as stellar. Thanks to Anderson’s play, the Senators now find themselves in fifth in the Eastern Conference and just one point back of Boston in the Northeast Division (granted, the Bs have five games in hand.)
Second star went to Chicago forward Viktor Stalberg. The 25-year-old Swede set a career high in goals (14) after scoring five times last week, including his first career hat trick in Chicago’s 5-2 win over Columbus. Stalberg’s week also included two game-winning goals against CBJ and Minnesota — he’s now tied for the team lead in game-winning goals (five) with Patrick Sharp.
Third star went to Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin. He moved to within a point of Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin for the NHL scoring lead with a monster week — he had seven points in four games, though five of those game in an outstanding effort against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Malking scored a natural hat trick in the third period and assisted on two more Penguins tallies to bring his overall points total to 51.
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.