Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby

Lemieux on Crosby contract: “This is a great day for hockey”


Even though Sidney Crosby’s 12-year, $104.4 million contract extension won’t be official until Sunday — he can’t sign before July 1 — the Pittsburgh Penguins have gone ahead and trumpeted arguably the biggest signing in franchise history.

Appropriately, Mario Lemieux was one of the first to praise the deal.

“This is a great day for hockey and tremendous news for the Pittsburgh Penguins and our fans,” Lemieux and Pens co-owner Ron Burkle said in a joint statement. “We are grateful for all that Sidney Crosby has done for our franchise since coming to Pittsburgh in 2005, both on and off the ice, and we look forward to having him in a Penguins uniform for the rest of his career.

“He is an excellent player and an even better person, and he is a great ambassador for the Penguins and for Pittsburgh.”

As for the particulars…

Insurance: According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Crosby’s deal won’t be fully insured for two reasons. One, because of his concussion history and two, because no NHL contract longer than seven years is fully insurable.

Breakdown: The deal has an average annual value of $8.7 million — the same cap hit Crosby’s got on his current deal. We likely won’t know the yearly salaries or if the contract is front-loaded until Sunday, when it becomes official.

$100 million club: Crosby becomes just the third NHL player to secure a contract of $100 million or more (Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk) and joins a list of $100 million pro athletes that includes Albert Haynesworth, Mike Hampton, Barry Zito and Gilbert Arenas. Just a few of the many success stories!

Related: Report: Pens to announce massive Crosby contract Sunday (Updated)

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.