Washington Capitals fans might be interested to hear what Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said today when asked why his team was now “entertaining as heck to watch.”
The question was a bit of a backhanded compliment to be sure, but I guess it’s better than asking why his old New Jersey teams were so boring.
So what happened? Did the current group of players tell him they wanted to play a more dynamic, attacking style?
No, said Lamoriello – they didn’t need to. Their “styles sort of really told us, without saying anything, that we should. I think I felt it. With the young players, we had [Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk], you have to give them what they have.”
And if there weren’t those types of players, Lamoriello said the Devils would play the style that suits them best.
“We’re going to do whatever we need to do to win and we’re not going to apologize for it,” he said.
Of course, the Capitals have been saying pretty much the same thing since they made the decision to play more conservatively. If they think stapling Alex Ovechkin to the bench when protecting a lead is the way to go, then that’s what they’ll do.
The difference is, Lamoriello chose to let his best players dictate the overarching style instead of shoehorning them into a system that limits their weaknesses.
“It was time to loosen up a bit,” he said.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?