Having already shouldered a mammoth workload this season — 1906 shots faced, fifth-most in the NHL — Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec was livid after Monday’s 6-4 loss to Ottawa, a game the Winnipeg Free Press called “an absolute defensive nightmare.”
The guy that’s kept Winnipeg in so many games this season watched as his playoff chances were essentially snuffed out.
But rather than bite his tongue, Pavelec let loose.
“This hockey is not going to take you to the playoffs,” he said after the Jets allowed six even-strength goals. “Even if we make it, if we’re going to play like that everybody’s going to kill us.”
Pavelec seemed especially irate at Ottawa’s fifth goal, scored just 24 seconds after Winnipeg tied the game:
“There’s got to be more responsibility there,” he said. “You tie the game with three minutes left and everybody’s so excited at a time when you need every point and then they score like 10 seconds later.”
This isn’t the first time Pavelec’s seen a defensive breakdown — far from it. The Jets have been nightmarish at times in their own end, a big reason why they rank 24th in goals allowed (2.88 per game) and have surrendered 47 power play goals, fourth-most in the NHL.
Pavelec said things need to change.
“You fight for the playoffs — this isn’t the hockey that’s going to take us to the playoffs,” he explained. “This is the hockey like summer hockey, exhibition games. We had a lot of scoring chances, a lot of shots to the net. Offensively I think we were good.
“But defensively it’s about five guys on the ice… I don’t know what to say. It’s a tough loss, but it’s been like that before.”
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.