Alex Ovechkin

Sounds like Alex Ovechkin isn’t having much fun in Washington


The Washington Post has an extensive story today trying to figure out just what’s going wrong with Alex Ovechkin. He’s mired in what’s the worst season of his career while the Capitals are struggling to make the playoffs.

In the extensive look at what’s going on with him on and off the ice, Post writers Rick Maese and Tarik El-Bashir find out a few things from players and those who wished to speak anonymously in order to be candid:

— 2010 might’ve been the turning point in his career and life. First, the loss to Canada in the Olympics, then being suspended for a hit from behind on Brian Campbell, followed by losing to Montreal in the first round of the playoffs. All three things combined to hurt his mental state on the game.

— Ovechkin’s friendship with fellow young stars Mike Green, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Backstrom has changed over the years. What used to be a tight-knit friendship has seen the four of them all grow apart. Hey, getting older stinks that way.

— Ovechkin’s close relationship with his parents, notably his mother Tatiyana, appears to have rankled some in the organization. From handling his contract negotiations to being involved in his personal life, they feel his mother is too involved in his goings on.

“That’s his biggest problem — his mom,” said a person familiar with the situation. “She did what she did for Alex. She played a huge part in his growth, in his career. But it went too far. I understand it’s family, I understand they’re very close — it’s not that. The question is: Is he ever going to grow up? I’m not only talking about hockey. She’s in his life in many other areas — relationships with girls, with friends, with everyone. It’s bizarre.”

— Oddly enough, Ovechkin is sensitive to what’s being said about him. Former Caps PR man and current interim head of College Hockey, Inc. Nate Ewell says: “He reads message boards. He knows what people say about him. He’s very cognizant of that stuff.”

The entire story is well worth the read to dig in more, but it paints the picture of a superstar stuck in a frustrating situation on a mediocre team for the time being. It’s sad to read of Ovechkin’s struggles but also curious at the quotes given by those who chose to remain nameless. There’s a lot more going on in Washington that isn’t being told.

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.