Zach Parise

Sounds like a Parise-Koivu-Heatley top line in Minnesota


You couldn’t blame Mike Yeo for smiling so much on Monday.

At the introductory presser for Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Minnesota Wild head coach was asked what plans he had for his two newest players.

The question elicited a big grin.

“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it already — that’s the fun part of the job,” Yeo explained. “We’ve all come in for this rookie camp and it’s the first time the coaches have been in the same room.

“We’ve all started drawing up our line combos and power play setups. There’s a lot of time between now and training camp, but the excitement and ideas of what you can do with these two guys in the lineup is there.”

The most obvious plan was to get Parise on a line with All-Star center and team captain Mikko Koivu — something Parise mentioned in today’s presser.

“[Koivu’s] arguably one of the best two-way centers in the game. I always thought that he and I would play well together. No dropping hints or anything,” Parise said, laughing. “He’s a type of player I would play well with. I think we play a similar north-south hard game.”

Yeo later told Mike Russo of the Star-Tribune that, if camp started tomorrow, Parise would indeed be on a line with Koivu and Dany Heatley.

In the same context — if training camp started tomorrow — Yeo said Suter would be paired with Jared Spurgeon, the 22-year-old rearguard that played in a career-high 70 games last year, leading all Wild defensemen in scoring with 23 point.

Spurgeon finished fifth among all Wild skaters in assists (20) and fourth in power play points, with 12, so it stands to reason he and Suter could see a lot of time together on the man advantage as well.

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



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?