Toronto Maple Leafs right wing David Clarkson (71) fights Detroit Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (52) of Sweden during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Red Wings, Leafs start task of rebuilding rivalry

There was a time when the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs enjoyed a fierce rivalry, but it cooled significantly in the years following Toronto’s move to the Eastern Conference for the 1998-99 campaign.

“I feel like hate is built through an incident or playoffs,” Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary told the Detroit News. “We haven’t even played these guys in years. It doesn’t work like that (instant rivalry). It’s built over time and through playoffs, that drives rivalries.

“You see a team in the playoffs, then see them again the next year.”

Maintaining that kind of rivalry in recent years would have been a near impossible feat, but now that Detroit and Toronto are once again playing in the same division, they have a chance to rebuild what was lost.

That task will be highlighted on Jan. 1 when these clubs face off in the Winter Classic, but it will begin tonight in their first meeting as Atlantic Division adversaries.

“Certainly we want to go out and play well and set the tone,” Cleary said. “This will be an important game heading into the (Christmas) break.”

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.