Sounds like Mattias Ohlund is ready to call it a day.
That was the word out of Tampa Bay over the weekend as the 36-year-old defenseman — who hasn’t played in 18 months — said his inability to recover from knee surgery has probably ended his career.
“I’ve thought about [the next step] quite a bit, but it clearly involves more people than me,” Ohlund told the Tampa Tribune on Sunday. “I’ve spoke to Steve [Yzerman, Tampa Bay GM] quite a bit about what the end result will be.
“For a long period of time I’ve been trying to get better and better, but clearly the longer you don’t play, the likelihood of playing again gets smaller and smaller each day, especially at my age.”
The Tribune notes that Ohlund has spent “hundreds of hours” doing rehab and workouts in an effort to improve his surgically-repaired knee, with little success.
Last May, he underwent a procedure in which a thin layer of titanium was used to resurface the bottom of the femur behind his kneecap.
Essentially, it was supposed to create a cushion where cartilage — which Ohlund had worn away — usually covers the bone. Without that cushion, the veteran blueliner was experiencing painful bone-on-bone rubbing at the knee-femur joint.
Ohlund has been traveling with the team lately as a coaching assistant, lending an “extra set of eyes” to rookie head coach Jon Cooper.
As for when a decision might be made about the Swede’s playing future?
“I don’t know long term what my situation will be,” Ohlund told the Tribune. “But I’m sure it will be figured out shortly.”
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.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi ranks among the NHL’s most outspoken executives. Even so, his discussion of what he calls 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.” (Bold claim: the production part was probably the bigger sticking point.)
- 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 Lombardi and 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.