Corey Crawford, Jonathan Toews

‘Hawks brace for nine-game, 20-day road trip


Starting tomorrow, the Chicago Blackhawks will embark on a historic road trip — nine games in 20 days — which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is just the 17th time in NHL history that a team will have a trip of nine games or longer.

More, from ESPN’s Jesse Rogers:

The Hawks have broken up each three-game segment into three different trips. After each one they’ll come home for a change of clothes and a practice before heading back out. It’s sure to test their mettle as well as their 29-15-6 record.

This will be the third time in team history they’ve played nine consecutive games away from home.

The last time they did it was in 1994. They went 4-5 after starting the trip 3-1. Prior to that the only other nine-game trip came in the 1955-1956 season. They also went 4-5.

Let’s take a look at Chicago’s three mini-trips.

Trip 1: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary

The roadie starts with a bang against rival Vancouver. This matchup promises to be angrier than usual — it’s the first time Dave Bolland will face Daniel and Henrik Sedin since calling them “the sisters” on Chicago radio, which drew the ire of Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault and defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

As for the rest of the trip, it’ll be interesting to see former Canuck and Flame Brendan Morrison face off against his former mates. Morrison was acquired by Chicago over the All-Star break.

Trip 2: Colorado, San Jose, Phoenix

The ‘Hawks play back-to-back against the Sharks and Coyotes — the game in Phoenix will be Chicago’s fifth in eight nights (and all on the road, obviously.) There’s a definite energy/weardown concern for that one, especially since Phoenix beat Chicago in their first two matchups of the season by a combined 8-4 score.

Trip 3: Nashville, New York Rangers, Columbus

Nashville is one of the NHL’s hottest teams right now — the Preds have won nine of their last 10 and are three points back of Detroit for top spot in the league. They’ve also beaten Chicago in back-to-back matchups and are 16-7-3 at Bridgestone Arena this year…so yeah, that’s a tough one for the ‘Hawks.

The Rangers game will be cool as it’s an Original Six matchup and the Columbus contest, while very winnable, is the definition of a trap game.

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.