Ted Nolan

Nolan shuffles lines, roster for Sabres debut


Ted Nolan’s first game behind the Buffalo bench in 16 years promises to be intriguing, though not just for his coaching debut.

The new head coach has rattled the Sabres, so to speak, with a number of lineup adjustments heading into Friday night’s affair with the Leafs. Let’s take a look:

John Scott will draw in for the first time since his seven-game suspension for hitting Boston’s Loui Eriksson in the head. This also marks the first time Scott will face the Leafs since the infamous Phil Kessel attack/line brawl during the preseason.

— Scratches will be Mikhail Grigorenko, Johan Larsson, Nikita Zadorov and Mike Weber (link). Grigorenko might be the lone surprise here, as he played in each of the last two games under Ron Rolston and scored his first two goals of the year in last Friday’s loss to Anaheim.

— Ville Leino and Zemgus Girgensons will both play center. “We want to put these guys where they feel comfortable so there’s no excuses,” Nolan explained. In keeping with the comfort-level thing, Marcus Foligno will return to wing.

— Ryan Miller was the first goalie off during the morning skate, suggesting he’ll get the start.

All in all, it sounds like Nolan wants to stamp his authority on the team right from the get-go, though even he admitted it might be tough figuring out who goes where.


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.