If the NHL season had gotten underway normally, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren would’ve spent Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Instead, he found himself watching the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls, NY taking on the Washington Capitals’ minor league affiliate, the Hershey Bears.
After seeing the Phantoms take out the Bears 3-1, I caught up with Holmgren to discuss what he thinks of his well-experienced AHLers and he likes what he’s got and feels the Flyers will be ready to go whenever the lockout ends.
“This is a good league right here,” Holmgren says of the AHL. “Every team has players that played in the NHL last year and the level of play is just ratcheted up. I think every game I’ve seen have been really good games. Very competitive, a lot of skating, fast games. I think the players that are playing, not only in the American league but all over, they get a leg up on the guys that aren’t when the league does come back.”
In the Flyers’ case, that’s a lot of guys with NHL experience.
Not only do you have future stars like Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, but also guys who saw time in Philly like Harry Zolnierczyk, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Erik Gustafsson, Eric Wellwood, Ben Holmstrom, and Zac Rinaldo.
With the Flyers blue line having questions, Holmgren likes what’s working in the minors with guys like Bourdon and Gustafsson.
“They’re good young players and they’re good pros. This is Marc-Andre’s fourth year now so he should know his way around and it’s Erik’s third year in the league. They’re good pros. They work hard and they look after themselves and they’re very competitive players.”
It sounds as if he likes what they’ve got. Now about ending that lockout…
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.