Back in 2004-05, during the NHL’s last lockout, veteran goaltender Olie Kolzig returned to his old junior team, the WHL Tri-City Americans to skate with their young players, including up-and-coming netminder Carey Price.
“That was a lot of fun for me,” Price recalled in a Montreal Gazette report. So now he’s returning the favor in a way. With the NHL locked out again, Price is back with the Americans.
He originally planned to stay for a week, but as the lockout has dragged on, he’s continued to practice with Tri-City.
“I’m kind of (in) full-out practice mode now,” he said. “It’s nice to have a little bit of structure to practice.
“And these guys all really seem to enjoy scoring on me. They try a lot harder.
“On game days, I back off and let them do their own thing. But when they have a couple days between games, I’m out there with them in the morning. Some of these guys skate twice a day, again in the afternoon when they’re done with school.”
Despite the familiar environment, this is a new experience for Price. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t be training this hard in December and he obviously would have gotten plenty of playing time under his belt at this point.
Price inked a six-year, $39 million deal with the Canadiens over the summer. He’s already established himself as a workhorse and solid starter, but when this lockout ends, he’ll need to prove that he can live up to the pressure that comes with that kind of contract in a big hockey market like Montreal.
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?