Sidney Crosby

With added expectations, how will the Penguins handle the pressure?


“The pressure’s on.”

Ray Shero couldn’t have put it any better as he addressed the media Thursday morning after acquiring Jarome Iginla in a trade with the Calgary Flames.

Because if there’s a New York Yankees in the NHL right now, it’s Pittsburgh.

How the Penguins respond to their general manager’s wheeling and dealing — which also brought them veterans Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray — will be interesting to watch down the stretch and into the playoffs.

“On the road, we aren’t going to be a very well-liked hockey team,” said Shero.

While the Penguins have no shortage of experience winning, there remains the memory of last year’s first-round playoff exit — not the finest moment in the club’s history.

The list of things the Penguins failed to do against Philadelphia was long; however, maintaining their composure was right up near the top.

What will happen this year when they face the inevitable adversity? Will the expectations come crashing down upon them again?

To no surprise, it didn’t take long for the first “five reasons the Penguins aren’t a mortal lock for the Stanley Cup” list to come out.

Also not surprising: goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was the top reason.

The last reason? “The Crushing Weight of Expectations.”

Of course, if you ask Shero, there’s pressure for every team, not just the favorites — “If you’re in 15th place, the pressure’s on.”

But millions of hockey fans won’t be watching the league’s bottom dwellers in the spring.

The Penguins, on the other hand — already with the world’s best player in Sidney Crosby, and now joined by a future Hall of Famer seeking his first Cup — will be front and center.

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

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.

… Yeah.

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?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick
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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.