Before Friday’s game, Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy predicted that the Chicago Blackhawks would beat them in the race for the Central Division title. Then his team went out there and did nothing to prove him wrong.
Colorado was crushed from start to finish. They managed just 18 shots on the Blackhawks and were outscored 7-2. Chicago’s Patrick Sharp led the way with a hat trick on his 32 birthday.
“On a birthday where some of the guys were giving me some heat for being an old-timer, it feels even better,” Sharp told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.
Jonathan Toews also had a big night with two goals and two assists.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has been superb for most of the season, couldn’t come close to saving the Avalanche tonight. The 36-year-old goaltender only managed to stop 17 of 24 shots. He was replaced in the third period by Semyon Varlamov, who turned aside all 13 shots he faced.
This is another significant setback for an Avalanche team that seems to be coming back to Earth after their 14-2-0 start to the 2013-14 campaign. They’re now 23-11-3 and in danger of letting their playoff spot slip through their fingers in the highly competitive Western Conference.
Meanwhile, Chicago is the first team to 60 points this season, although that’s by virtue of the Anaheim Ducks having the night off. The Blackhawks have played one extra game than Anaheim and hold a mere one-point lead in the battle for the Presidents’ Trophy.
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.
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?
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.