Erik Cole

Slumping Cole texts Habs teammates: ‘I plan on being better’


Mired in a three game losing streak and losers in four of six, the Montreal Canadiens need to get better efforts from a number of players — none more than Erik Cole.

The veteran forward has just 2G-2A-4PTS through 11 games this year. Given his veteran presence and big-money contract (four years, $18 million), much more is expected of Cole, and he addressed those expectations by texting his teammates following Saturday’s 6-0 drubbing against Toronto.

“Every team’s going to go through some tough times this year, and we’re in one right now,” Cole explained. “It’s up to us to get ourselves out of it.

“I told them that I plan on being better and being part of the solution. I think, judging by the responses, that it was good.”

Apparently Cole sent the message via a group chat he created during the lockout, to keep them up to date with CBA negotiations and all the cool stuff he found on Groupon.

As for him being “part of the solution” — well, it sounds as though he’ll be solving stuff (temporarily) without usual linemates David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.

The trio was split up at Monday’s practice. Brandon Prust skated with Desharnais and Cole while Pacioretty played with Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher.

“We gave those guys a lot of chances,” head coach Michel Therrien said of the Cole-Desharnais-Pacioretty line. “We spoke to those guys and they know where we’re [coming from].”

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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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.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

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?

Stay tuned.