The Minnesota Wild are going with the hot goalie tonight in Vancouver.
The hot goalie in the AHL, that is.
Per the StarTribune, Darcy Kuemper is expected to make his NHL debut against the Canucks after being recalled from Houston, where the 22-year-old is 10-6-0 with a .938 save percentage and 1.79 goals-against average this season.
Kuemper was drafted 161st overall by Minnesota in 2009.
The Wild’s regular starter, Niklas Backstrom, played in last night’s 2-1 shootout win in Calgary.
Josh Harding, the other half of the goalie tandem, skated this morning but has been feeling “off” the last few days, according to general manager Chuck Fletcher.
Harding, of course, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year.
“Josh hasn’t been feeling great the last few days and we’ve asked to Josh to be honest with us and let us know when he doesn’t feel that he’s 100 percent,” Fletcher said. “He just feels a little bit off. What he’s going through right now, he’s dealing with some medications. There’s a lot of trial and error. Every situation is different. The doctors advised us of this a few weeks ago that eventually we will get to the right spot where the medication works and his body adapts to it.
“It’s not a one size fits all solution unfortunately. Every case is different, so we’re going to get there. We’re very optimistic about that, but right now, he feels a little off. I give him credit. It’s against a hockey player’s nature to come in and say he doesn’t feel he can do it. He feels down a little bit about it, but we really support him and I give him a lot of credit for coming forward and giving us this information. It’s in his best interest and our team’s best interest to do this.”
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.