Sabres, Avalanche talking about top pick


Could the Colorado Avalanche send the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft to the Buffalo Sabres? The two sides have at the very least talked about it, according to Sabres director of amateur scouting Kevin Devine.

“We have had conversations with Colorado… I think it’s how far they want to move back,” Devine told WGR 550. “And you take the situation in Colorado and where there’s a new regime in there with Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy.

“I don’t think Patrick came in there with the idea of a long rebuild. So I think they might be willing to listen to a few things.”

Devine added that he thinks the Avalanche are engaged in internal meetings this week and that talks will resume “at some point.”

Although discussing a trade and actually pulling the trigger on one are two very different things, this isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. After all, new Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy did raise the possibility of Colorado moving the pick.

The Sabres currently control the eighth and 16th overall picks. The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is believed to be unusually deep, so those selections could turn into a pair of very good players.

Meanwhile, the team that controls the top pick will get to choose between defenseman Seth Jones and forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin. Each of those three has the potential to develop into the kind of guy you can build a franchise around.

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



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?