Carolina Blue: Pitkanen (heel) to miss entire season


The Carolina Hurricanes were dealt a major blow on Tuesday as GM Jim Rutherford announced defenseman Joni Pitkanen would miss the 2013-14 season with a broken left calcaneus (heel) bone suffered last season on an icing crash against Washington.

Pitkanen, 29, recently underwent a CT scan on the heel to see how he was recovering. The injury was extremely severe — Pitkanen reportedly broke his heel in eight different places — and was similar to the one ex-Washington forward Pat Peake suffered in 1996, one that all but ended his career.

Here’s more, from the Washington Times:

Peake played just five more games after his heel bone broke in 14 places and twisted. Pitkanen’s broke in eight places but didn’t move, Peake said. That’s considered a positive.

“Your heel bone, the best way to describe it is like an egg. So if you give it a good flick or a thump, it just kind of splinters and cracks like that,” Peake said. “And it just goes right around the whole way. That’s exactly what happened to his. It’s such an odd injury.”

Peake said it’s an injury common to construction workers who fall from two or three stories and people in car accidents who slam on the brakes. In hockey, Peake was the prime example before Pitkanen.

Pitkanen was a valuable member of the ‘Canes blueline. Prior to injury-plagued 2012-13 and 2011-12 seasons, he put up 81 points in 143 games between 2009-11, averaging close to 26 minutes per night.

What’s more, the Finnish rearguard is in the final year of his three-year, $13.5 million deal. He’s set to become a UFA at season’s end and will be facing an uphill struggle to find work, considering he’s only played sporadically over the last three seasons.

And, just to add further insult to injury, the heel break will keep Pitkanen from representing Finland at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He was one of the 16 defensemen named to the evaluation camp roster in July.

Related: NHL to implement hybrid icing next season if trial period goes well

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

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.