PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards has split up top blueliners Jack Johnson and James Wisniewski because he thinks they both need a “calm guy” that can play more of a defensive role and allow them to be aggressive. (Columbus Dispatch)
The Washington Capitals have started to turn their season around, but eventually they need to prove that they can win against playoff-bound teams. (Washington Times)
Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin has 17 points in 16 games, so he’s certainly not struggling, but he’s found the back of the net just three times over 50 shots on goal. All the same, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma thinks Malkin has created plenty of scoring chances lately. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Charlie Sheen and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff had a bit of an exchange on Twitter after Sheen referred to Ehrhoff as “some dooshy teammate” of goaltender Ryan Miller. (Buffalo News)
Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar is trying his best to help fill the void left by Tomas Holmstrom’s retirement by parking himself in front of the net during power plays. Tatar is hoping that his speed will make up for the size difference between him and the 6-foot-3 Holmstrom. (Detroit News)
Two-time Rocket Richard Trophy-winner Steven Stamkos is a pretty superstitious guy and if any player tells you they’re not, Stamkos thinks they’re “probably lying.” (Tampa Bay Times)
When was the last time the Florida Panthers scored a power-play goal? Don’t ask Peter Mueller, it’s been so long that he can’t even remember. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
The Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues swapped AHL players. The Predators received 33-year-old defenseman Scott Ford in exchange for 22-year-old Jani Lajunen. (NHL.com)
The San Jose Sharks ended their seven game losing streak on Tuesday. If you want to check out the highlights, you can do so below:
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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.