Phoenix Coyotes v Detroit Red Wings

PHT Morning Skate: “A mug’s game”

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

All of a sudden, the Washington Capitals have  a good conundrum going on in net as both Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun are playing well. (The Washington Times)

SI’s Michael Farber backs up how I’ve been feeling for years, although with a strange choice of words in that handing costly long-term contracts to goalies is “a mug’s game.” Pretty sure that doesn’t mean that they hold hot and cold drinks, but feel free to correct me there. (Sports Illustrated)

Earlier this week, The Contrarian Goaltender took a look at trends in how the Vezina Trophy winner has been chosen. (Brodeur is a Fraud)

The Islanders beat the Flyers in Philadelphia after 13 consecutive failed attempts. (

Martin Hanzal (pictured) had a successful return to the Phoenix Coyotes’ lineup on Thursday. (AZ Central)

Sure, it wasn’t good enough to secure the Coyotes the shootout win, but kudos to Mike Smith for stopping this ridiculous Pavel Datsyuk attempt:

If you want to equate the “Sutter Bowl” to a staring contest, then you could say that Brent avoided dozing off in a 2-1 shootout snoozer between Calgary and Los Angeles. (Calgary Herald)

The Bruins and Rangers are looking forward to a showdown between the Eastern Conference’s top two teams on Saturday. (

The Blackhawks are loving all the young energy from Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw – they must have been really getting worn out by old men like Jonathan Toews before those rookies came along. (

Let’s finish this off with this beauty of a backhand goal by Evgeni Malkin.

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

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.

… Yeah.

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?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick

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.