Henrik Zetterberg

PHT Morning Skate: Carlyle, Babcock disagree on Olympic effect

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In contrast to Maple Leafs bench boss Randy Carlyle, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thinks players will be energized when they return from the Olympics. (Detroit News)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Although Nathan Horton had a strong debut with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the fact that he missed the first half of the season has caught up to him. (Columbus Dispatch)

Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester’s inclusion in Team Canada had a lot to do with his success during the world championships. (Calgary Sun)

After being sidelined for most of the 2012-13 campaign, the New York Islanders were expecting that this would be a development season for Calvin de Haan. Instead the 22-year-old blueliner has taken a major step forward and is logging big minutes with the Islanders. (Newsday)

Speaking of young defensemen that have been making their mark this season, Olli Maatta has bounced back nicely after he was listed as a healthy scratch on Dec. 31. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Kirk Penton argues that the Winnipeg Jets need to shift Dustin Byfuglien from the blueline to forward. (Winnipeg Sun)

Marcus Kruger has replaced Michal Handzus as the Chicago Blackhawks’ center for Patrick Kane’s line. (Chicago Tribune)

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
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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.