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.
The San Jose Sharks are having a “fast and furious” campaign filled with extreme highs and lows, so analyzing the first half of the season is a difficult task. Still, Kevin Kurz did just that by taking a step back and going over what’s worked and hasn’t for the Sharks. (CSN Bay Area)
The Chicago Blackhawks have waived 33-year-old defenseman Steve Montador. Assuming no team claims his $2.75 million annual cap hit, the expectation is that he’ll report to the AHL and work on his conditioning as he attempts to return from a concussion. (Chicago Tribune)
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson will turn 25 on March 21. Will the 2006 first overall draft pick ever live up to his potential? (Denver Post)
A look at the rise of shot blocking. (New York Newsday)
What are the chances that the Edmonton Oilers will trade 23-year-old forward Sam Gagner? He’s scheduled to become a restricted free agent this summer and get a sizable raise if he keeps up his nearly point-per-game pace. (Edmonton Journal)
Will the Philadelphia Flyers end up regretting the trade of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky? (Philadelphia Inquirer)
With the exception of their losses to the Islanders and Rangers over the weekend, the Washington Capitals have effectively stopped the bleeding after a horrendous start to the season. All the same, they have a ton of work ahead of them if they want to claw their way back into the playoff picture. (Washington Post)
Shawn Matthias recently vented his frustrations about the Florida Panthers’ struggles, and that’s understandable considering he’s been one of the few bright spots for the team lately. (Sun Sentinel)
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.