It’s been a busy last 24 hours at the United Center, as staff raced to transition the arena from Tuesday’s Rolling Stones concert to Wednesday’s Game 7 between the Blackhawks and Red Wings.
So, how’s the ice?
“It’s fine,” said ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville, when asked about tonight’s playing surface.
That ringing endorsement comes as temperatures in Chicago hit the 80s on Wednesday, with relatively high humidity (71 percent).
Ice conditions have become a hot topic this postseason, thanks in large part to a number of delay of game penalties for pucks being shot over the glass.
Many NHL coaches feel poor ice conditions often result in an inability for pucks to lay flat on the ice. When pucks are on edge or rolling, the likelihood of them being flipped over the glass increases.
“I was never a big fan of the rule, quite honest, because of the ice conditions in a lot of the buildings,” Kings head coach Darryl Sutter explained on Tuesday. “The puck is not always flat on the ice, and that’s not the players’ fault.”
In their opening-round victory over the Ducks, the Red Wings were almost derailed by a delay of game penalty to Henrik Zetterberg late in the third period of Game 7.
Anaheim converted with the man advantage to cut Detroit’s lead to 3-2, resulting in a frenzied final few minutes of the game.
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?